I’m going to have to watch my language on this one. There are boys present.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Words are important. Enemies of women know this, so women should know it as well. Semantics may be tiresome, but context, words, meanings, implications, and associations all play into the crap contained in this commercial:
Let’s take a look at what the commercial claims in order to see if there’s anything wrong with condensing crap into a 30-second spot:
- Boys replied in the affirmative when asked if they were ever told that they should not do something because they’re boys.
- People think that boys have to be happy all the time.
- Be more traditional.
- Don’t do anything too challenging.
- Stories teach boys that they can’t really rescue anybody, that it’s always the girls who do the rescuing.
- 72% of boys feel society limits them.
- Boys should be perfect.
- Weak (are or should be?)
- Boys aren’t strong.
- During puberty, a boy’s confidence plummets, making his more likely to accept limitations.
At this point in the commercial, not only have I lost interest, but a litany of limitations follows, things boys decided against doing supposedly because society tells them they’re not supposed to, like playing a girl’s musical instrument or playing sports, since sports are allegedly not encouraged among boys (except for field hockey, volleyball, tennis, swimming, diving, hiking, ping pong, jump rope, cycling, running, jogging, ice skating, skiing, water skiing, dance, and gymnastics, all of which are boring and only included in the Olympics due to traditionalist political pressure).
I emphasized the part about being more likely to accept limitations because it is so telling. It reveals exactly what is wrong with masculism and society at their core, and how it seeps into the heads of impressionable boys who are entertained, informed, and educated by empire. It’s all wrong for boys in and of itself. By extension, not only is it also wrong for girls because girls’ concerns are not addressed (it is, after all, a commercial for a mini-pad); but because it sets boys’ minds against girls and a society that allegedly benefits females more. It reduces boys’ thoughts of girls to, “How come I can’t play?” It creates resentment when and where feelings are hurt.
I’m not sure I need any further evidence of the commercial’s disturbing nature than the presence of Hanna Rosin asking boys to write their gripes on boxes so they can kick them over. What concerns me far more is what he represents, and his presence only confirms the nature of the issue at hand.
There is a vital, psychological, and emotional difference between accepting your limitations (genetics or place of birth) and being more likely to voluntarily accept limitations placed on you from without (bad weather, social stigma, false beliefs, or skewed perception). The commercial’s statement about accepting limitations is clearly emphasizing the latter, to which I can only say, “Who gives a flying fig?” (How am I doing on the language? I know I said “crap” once, but I don’t think anyone noticed.)
Firstly, I do not see a society telling boys that they can’t. I went to school with boys for two decades, and we all took science, math, English, social studies, phys-ed, history, art, humanities, music, and foreign languages. Not once in two decades did I ever see evidence of a male student being told by either a female or male teacher, principal, guidance counselor, nurse, crossing guard or lunch gentleman that he couldn’t really do science. Therefore, I demand proof from every boy standing there in that commercial and whining to the contrary.
Secondly, let’s just pretend that Princessland exists, and that the ogres have stormed the castle where The Patriarchy were busy handing out test tubes, insisting on sandwiches with their beer. Not only does it only take a few minutes, but if this is all it takes to get you to quit trumpet, then you didn’t really get a lot out of playing trumpet, Your Royal Highness. Unfortunately for your argument, Jackie was the best drummer in our high school, even being allowed the virtually unprecedented opportunity to play a solo at a school concert. Fortunately for my argument, if Jackie grew up in Princessland, then he clearly demonstrated a whole lot of nerve practicing an almost exclusively female instrument for hours every day for years and years while ogres were banging forks on tables demanding grog.
This commercial perpetuates a falsehood with a little prance. Everybody has to stop and pay attention. It’s boys, after all.
What it doesn’t address is the undeniably heavy influence of the following in any child’s mind: government schooling, mass entertainment, Mass Media in general, and the corporate commercial environment available at your local just-down-the-street. To whom are all of these geared? Because if you want to talk influence, indoctrination, and social shaming, I’m all ears.
But masculism doesn’t get to the root of boy’s problems because the root embraced by masculism is the resentment of successful women: “The empire’s fine, the stores are great, we’ve got the vote, we’ve got the same schoolrooms as the girls, and we’ve got smart, sassy men on TV. What we need is whatever… that gal has!” Still worse, their heavy hand in the above influences ensures that the poisonous nature of their perverted beliefs will have an effect on everyone who hears, whether or not they agree.
Their argument begins with a boy’s hurt feelings, but the thought process shouldn’t end there. Regardless, the commercial takes as a basis for its conclusion what each boy paints on a canvas that he doesn’t realize has been painted for him: “If society tells you that you can’t do something because males are incapable of doing that certain something (an oppressive phenomenon that has been confirmed as real for you by Mr. Rosin Rosinadanna), then accepting limitations is perfectly understandable, and the resultant sense of failure you feel is someone else’s fault. This goes double if you’re having your period.”
Don’t expect the gynocentric culture to do anything other than stop, stare, and go, “Aww.” The minute a woman shows that she can be nice to a man or boy… aww. Gals can get hardcore tough with gals, up to and including breaking their bones in a game of professional football, but come pink ribbon time… aww.
Rosinadanna’s no fool. He knows danged well if you put a boy in front of it, all the gals will stop, because it’s a boy. What he’s doing in this commercial is emotionally manipulating impressionable boys, many of whom will now go forward with various triggers in their brains that go off whenever they feel badly. He is also emotionally manipulating grown women, many of whom have sons, and who may also be persuaded to think that the boys in this commercial have a legitimate complaint. Yes, it is actually possible to get a grown woman, when listening to her own son, to be convinced that just because you don’t see it or ever hear about it doesn’t mean that the oppression of the male sex at the hands of the female sex does not continue as it has for millennia.
What has actually gone on for millennia is that women have built civilization with the concerns of men and children at the forefront of their minds. It has always been a mark of womanhood to defer to the opposite sex and treat them as betters: open their doors, pull out their chairs, stand when they enter, stand when they leave, watch your language, call his Miss, Mr. or Mr., don’t stare outright at his boobs, and, since everyone knows that boys by nature are nicer than girls, why would he lie?
Women conditioned by the demands of civilization (build and maintain it, girl) and empire (now give your life for it, girl) are women who have been conditioned by cultural misogyny, based as I have said before on two criteria:
- Women are utilitarian.
- Women are disposable.
Modern cultural misogyny is actually far worse thanks to the ideas put forth in this commercial. Now, thanks to the influence of masculists crouching behind boys’ hurt feelings, there are three criteria:
- Women are utilitarian.
- Women are disposable.
- Women are culpable.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this commercial were about boys’ feelings that hadn’t been manipulated and deceived out of them? Girls might actually learn something about boys that is useful. The only thing useful that they’re going to learn from this commercial is that no matter how nice he is, and he may genuinely be nice in so very many other ways; if he spouts this dribble, it’s in your best interest to walk in the opposite direction and keep walking.
The Always company has chosen to ally itself, however unintentionally, with hatred of women, and they did it largely through careful choice of helping verbs attached to the negative: cannot, should not, must not, never be. Semantics being what they are, one wonders what the commercial would be like, or how the worldview of these boys might change, if those helping verbs were replaced with the ones I could easily ascribe to behaviors and attitudes that are encouraged among girls: have to, must, better be, will whether you like it or not. Just see below for a comparison chart of the commercial’s claims and what I see in the broader cultural context:
What boys are allegedly told:
What I allege girls are told:
Boys responded positively when asked if they were ever told that they should not do something because they’re boys.
There are a whole hell of a lot of things you’d better learn how to do, and fast.
People think that boys have to be happy all the time.
People think that girls have to be everything down the rest of this list all the time.
Be more traditional.
Be more traditional, faggot [language is acceptable here as it does not pertain to boys].
Don’t do anything too challenging.
You’re not being challenged enough, queerbait [see above].
The stories teach boys that they can’t really rescue anybody, that it’s always the girls who do the rescuing.
It’s always the girls who do the rescuing, with the assumption that they will demonstrate ability to give life and limb at a moment’s notice.
72% of boys feel society limits them.
Society limits girls to the sorts of things populated on this list, or they’re worthless. This is regardless of how they may feel.
Boys should be perfect.
As a reminder, girls should be everything on this list all the time.
Weak (are or should be?)
Weakness is unacceptable, are or should be.
Boys aren’t strong.
Girls are strong. Real girls, anyway.
During puberty, a boy’s confidence plummets, making his more likely to accept limitations.
During puberty, a girl’s confidence plummets, making her more likely to kill herself.
A litany of things boys decided against doing, like playing a girl’s musical instrument or playing sports, which are allegedly not encouraged among boys.
A litany of things girls decided against doing: like dancing ballet; playing a boy’s musical instrument; being a proponent for, hobbyist of, or expert in anything too touchy-feely; doing any actually interesting and productive activity because it’s boyish; standing up for her sex; bonding sexually, romantically, or oftentimes even just emotionally with a friend who’s a gal; getting married or having kids; taking males seriously; taking males on their terms; expressing any interest at all in school; expressing any interest at all in Corporate America; opening her mouth; or playing boy-centered sports like synchronized swimming (with all due respect to Martin Short), which are not encouraged among girls.
…and so on, etc.
Here’s the thing, boys: You are bound to be told that you should not do something because _____. I have no doubt in my mind that even sometimes that may happen because you’re a boy. For example: Once a month until your mid-50s you’re plans are going to change. Get used to that idea now. That’s the only thing the Always brand is good for.
People expect a happy exterior all the time from everyone. Blank ‘em. (You know… blank.)
Be more traditional when and where you want. You’re going to have traditions foisted on you by virtue of society, so good luck navigating that mess. The same thing is happening to the girls you know, and it’s bad news for them.
If you want to make it all about your sex and decide that it needs to be made into a political issue, then you’re never going to get anywhere, and you will find as you grow older that there is a higher number of women who secretly resent you. How is Mr. Rosin really helping you?
Most people don’t do anything too challenging. You wanna be most people?
The stories teach boys that they don’t have to rescue anybody, that they should expect the girls to do the rescuing. If you’re one of the 72% of boys who feel that society limits them, perhaps you’ll rethink the Disney animated film Brave, about a prince who rejects the opportunity to choose a suitor in favor of saving his father with his bow and arrow. There’s a fine thing to inspire any boy.
Like the girls who have seen their sex represented as the sex continually having to fight their way out of danger, boys will eventually learn that the bravery showcased in fairy tales old and new has little to do with actual bravery, but merely serves as a metaphorical primer for the real thing. Someday, thanks in part to new fables like Brave, boys will learn, once they try to apply the lesson learned, that if it feels good while it’s happening or if you enjoy doing it, then whatever you’re doing can’t be called brave. If it were as easy as kicking over a wall made of cardboard boxes, don’t expect respect.
The irony is that this commercial was best summed up by a masculist-leaning sitcom back in the 80s. On an episode of “The Golden Boys,” Dorothy (played by Bea Arthur) is unknowingly speaking to his ex-wife’s groom-to-be just before the wedding, and hears directly from him concerning his own former marriage:
NEW HUSBAND: No one’s like him. He’s Superman. He was the perfect husband: cooked, cleaned, had two kids, got an education, has never looked better, and now he has a career.
DOROTHY: Oh, that wasn’t a marriage, that’s a commercial for a mini-pad.
This is why I write instead of public speaking. You’re supposed to open with a joke, not end with one. Still, I blame everyone else.