January 7, 2007

Double standards in male-female power relations

There is a very strange television commercial running these days that very much highlights the double-standard that exists today in male-female relations. In this ad a couple is seen making-out in the front seat of a car. After a few seconds of this the woman leaves the car at which point it is revealed that she is a police officer who has pulled over this fellow for the purpose of making-out with him owing to his fabulous choice in automobiles.

Cute, eh?

Well, not if you consider what the commercial would be like if you swapped genders and had a male officer pull over a woman for the same reason. Could you imagine the outcry? But with a woman pulling over a man, this is somehow considered acceptable.

Why is that? Well, men have different sexual needs and expectations, right? Was this a sexual victory for the guy? The commercial certainly made it look that way as the last shot shows him smirking. I wonder, why wouldn't a woman perceive this is a victory of sorts? Or would she? Are women simply afraid to admit it? Or, would a woman be left absolutely mortified by such an incident?

Or, is it acceptable to show a woman dominating over a man because her power is merely illusory? Since men can still physically dominate a woman, her power is in her sexuality. I have to wonder about that gun of hers, though.

Perhaps this a genuine expression of female dominance and it appears acceptable because women have been subjugated for so long. We men have had this coming for some time now. This is the advertising media's manifestation of the male guilt complex.

Maybe men live in a matriarchal society, but we just haven't realized it yet....

Comments welcome.


Anonymous said...

I think its just a reflection of the fact that in Western societies, women have virtually all the power in this area...its certainly not an illusion.

Male physical dominance is simply not effective for those who want to live normally within society. Its illegal, and rightly considered cowardly and wrong by Western cultures.

As far as swapping genders in this commercial, more than anything it just wouldn't be plausible.

George said...

But *why* is it so implausible today? What has happened in society (or not happened) that encourages this double-standard? Or am I wrong, that it's not a double-standard and this type of behaviour and cross-gender analysis is useless...

Anonymous said...

I've often thought the same thing about similar adverts. There was one recently where a man standing at a bus stop gets his clothes progressively torn off by passing vehicles. If the same advert were made, but using a woman instead of a man I'm sure many people would consider this distasteful or possibly degrading.

Anonymous said...

The advertisement was probably more a play on a male stereotype than anything else (to call it "fact" is somewhat misleading). But I think it does reflect a double standard, especially in a society that prides itself on values of equality. This double standard seems to present itself every so often, but never in reverse.

I tend to think that maybe the double standard came about because whereas once upon a time women made a large-scale movement on a such issues, men never did the same—perhaps they had better things to care about (or just never saw it coming).

Wouldn't put any blame on the writers of that commercial though. The use of stereotypes for advertising purposes isn't bad, whether or not it highlights the double standard. Stereotypes are just stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent example of two phenomena in our society. The first is passive aggressive behavior in women. A women's aggressive power is mediated through sexuality. Second, is our societies double standard on conspicuous consumption. Women are permitted to display lust and gluttony but men are not. This arises because our society tacitly accepts moral weakness in women.

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Anonymous said...

As I grow older, I realize that a man's ultimate purpose is to serve a woman. This is the highest form of love (and self-realization) for men.

What is horrific and inexuseable is how women have been treated as sexual objects by men for centuries without alarm. Groping in public areas (subways, acquaintances) still happens WAY too often. I often wonder what it will take for men to realize that women's bodies are not public property. This ad, which reverses the roles, is somewhat satisfying for me.

AlenaD said...

The guy who wrote that man's purpose is to serve women has no self respect. No woman in her right mind wants a servent. It's fun to play sexual fantasy games with that for short periods of time. But not for real. If we aren't equals, it just doesn't work for anybody.