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How Stupid Are Men?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to explore the controversial topic of how stupid are men – based on the way TV commercials are portraying men as inferior, inept idiots.

First a quick update:

“A dangerous example for parents”
Watch the TV interview I gave to Australia’s “The Morning Show” revealing the biggest mistakes Billy Ray Cyrus made with daughter Miley Cyrus and what we can learn from the mistakes of celebrity parents such as Carlos Leon – father of Madonna’s daughter Lourdes admits “I’m probably a bad dad when it comes to disciplining her.” Watch the video

“The Oscars, the stars and the Law of Deservedness”
Listen to the interview I will be giving to Filippo Voltaggio – LIFEChanges with Filippo (LCWF) on the BBS Radio Network Monday February 28 at 7 PM PST

Now, let’s talk about “how stupid are men?”

In my article “Women are taking over” , I reveal a trend that I refer to as the emergence of the New Matriarchy – female empowerment. I explain that:

  • There are more women in the US workforce than men
  • More women are attending and graduating college than men (in the US, UK and Australia)
  • Churches are opening up to allow women to lead, preach and teach as ministers, pastors and reverends
  • Women are becoming a greater force in politics
  • Men are progressively being viewed as unnecessary as more women opt to raise children without a father
  • Men are being portrayed in television shows and sitcoms as buffoons, simpletons and weak, helpless idiots who cannot survive without the wife who is smarter, more grounded and the boss
  • The modern woman is being idealized as the independent, free, successful, sexually open woman who seeks a purpose greater than serving a man and;
  • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases

One of the specific trends I referenced above is becoming more prevalent in television commercials – the portrayal of the man as a stupid idiot – inept, bumbling and clearly inferior to women.

In a TV commercial for Chase Bank (promoting the ability to manage your accounts via the cell phone) a white woman in a yoga class is portrayed as confident and coordinated as she performs yoga and quickly checks her Chase account via her phone (yes, while actually doing yoga); she then smiles with contentment and confidence as she resumes her yoga pose. But the white man (the everyday man) next to her struggles and looks like a bumbling fool, unable to keep up with the class and almost about to fall over.

In another new television commercial (for Tide Acti-Lift laundry detergent), a father (a white everyday man) tries to stop his daughter from wearing a very short jean skirt. How does he do this? Not by speaking to her, communicating, bonding, trying to understand her, disciplining her or explaining to her why he is against the short skirt. No, he reveals himself to be a sly idiot – the best he can do is to stain her white skirt with his dirty hands, hoping that it will permanently stain his daughter’s skirt thus rendering it unusable. His wife, though, uses the Tide Acti-Lift laundry detergent and suddenly we see the teenage girl dressed in the gleaming skirt as a female voice says “Dad may try to ruin your style but dry stains won’t” and then she pats him on the head and ruffles his hair the way a human would do to a dog (a non-verbal gesture of superiority and familiarity) as she walks out on her way to a date leaving dad sitting there bamboozled and looking and feeling like a helpless idiot.

The message in this Tide TV commercial is that dad is powerless, makes no decisions within the household (his only useful purpose is to fix a few dirty things around the house and maybe provide the weekly check) and that the actual decision maker is mom (along with daughter) who together defy dad, have little respect for him and then openly reveal his insignificance when the teen daughter walks out confident and free – seemingly able to do as she pleases.

The theme and message in these television commercials and countless others is that the man (dad, brother, boyfriend or the everyday white man) is dumb, an airhead and incompetent – useless at almost everything while the woman is smarter, more intelligent, successful and more confident and skillful than the man and often she is getting him out of trouble. The women always appear happy, confident, quietly content or even smug that they have one over on the man. Note that you will only see the white man portrayed this way in TV commercials – never the black or Asian man. In the controversial Pepsi Max commercial aired during Super Bowl, the black woman is portrayed as angry, controlling and violent while her black boyfriend is gravely afraid of her.

Why would advertising agencies create these types of commercials?

The answer is simple: as mentioned above, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases. Therefore the intention is to appeal to women and to create a sense of female empowerment associated with the product – in the hope that women will then buy the product.

However, the advertising agencies fail to realize that the commercials don’t empower women at all because the creators of these commercials don’t understand what female empowerment is or how it is measured; nor do the agencies understand relationships or what women really want.

The first fallacy is the belief or notion that a woman is empowered by feeling superior to the man.

Empowerment is the strength of an individual in spiritual, political, social, or economic areas. From a philosophical perspective, personal empowerment is about the confidence in one’s capabilities and the ability to decide each day for yourself how you will feel regardless of other people’s opinions.

Accordingly, female empowerment is not about feeling superior to men, openly insulting men, degrading, belittling men, or playing into the old stereotypes of men. Female empowerment cannot alone be measured by a comparison of male and female intelligence and prowess. The act by the advertising agencies to create such commercials only serves to actually insult and belittle women by implying that a woman’s power comes from her competition with and comparison to a man. This constant competition with genders (along with the portrayal of men as buffoons) only serves to undermine and destroy relationships as it creates a power struggle and a search for superiority by one partner over the other.

The next greatest fallacies by the advertising agencies are the implied assertions that women are attracted to dumb men (upon whom they cannot rely) and that women are smarter and more talented than men.

Philippe Rushton, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, conducted a study and claims that he and his colleagues discovered that males surpassed females by an average of 3.6 IQ points. Of course, IQ alone is not an accurate measure of intelligence and does not incorporate tests of emotional intelligence.

Do women want a man that is intelligent?

David M. Buss is a professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences in mate selection; he has written “The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies Of Human Mating”, “Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex” and “Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge”. Professor Buss says studies of women’s mating criteria consistently show that intelligence is valued by women: “Women are indeed attracted to intelligent men, and in fact marry men on average 4 IQ points higher than their own.”

Anthropologist April Gorry, a social scientist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, in her thesis (1999) studied women who had affairs with men in Belize. She noted that modern women were attracted to the competent, strong men, rather than the token man – “the drones and eunuchs found in the Western workplace” (a phrase given to Western men by Jeanette Belliveau – author of “Romance on the Road.”)

Dr. Gorry also revealed that women were highly attracted to men who displayed mastery over their environment – in stark contrast to the Western TV commercials that feature men who have no mastery whatsoever over their environment (household.)

April Gorry also analyzed the character traits of the heroes of 45 highly successful romance novels, written by and for women, and she found that:

45 of the 45 heroes were muscular, 44 handsome, 42 strong, 35 large, 40 sexually bold, 39 calm, 39 confident and 38 were described as explicitly intelligent. Not one hero was described as unintelligent.

It seems that the advertising agencies truly have no idea or clue about what women really want given that the typical commercial designed to appeal to the woman buyer does not portray or demonstrate men with any of the above mentioned qualities or traits which creates a profile of a warrior versus the ad agencies profile of a wimp or defeated man. (I do not subscribe to the clear cut definitions or stereotypes of gender roles and identity, but, please note the tragic case of David Reimer and the fraud committed by his psychologist Dr. John Money. David Reimer was born a healthy male but following a botched circumcision, David was raised as a female. Dr. Money lied to the world saying David’s reassignment was successful, and cited it as evidence that gender identity is primarily learned. However, David later admitted to the world that he never identified as a female and went on to commit suicide at age 38.)

Television commercials trying to show just how stupid men are (and which are possibly also designed for laughs) do not empower or help women or relationships. Interestingly, in the romance novel, which represents the woman’s idealized version of love and relationships, the ultimate goal of the heroine is to win the hero and for them to become one; and this can never happen in the novel or in real life when a man is portrayed as stupid, incompetent or highly inferior. Anti-male stories and male-bashing on television only serve to embed the beliefs in women that a good man cannot be found, women cannot trust or depend on men and that women must depend on themselves; the result is unstable relationships, weakened families and poorly-adjusted children.

The real indicator of intelligence (and courage) on the part of both genders is to stop condoning, supporting or watching these television commercials.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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