It’s not that I don’t like television. It’s just a good thing I spend most of my TV time on Netflix streaming.
Because if there’s one thing that infuriates me, makes me want to hurl the remote at the screen, makes me lose faith in humanity, it’s the commercials.
I get it. We need advertising. But if I wanted you to give me money, would I do it by mocking, insulting, and threatening you? No. But advertisers do it every day. Apparently, it works.
Here’s my top four ways advertisers insult all of us. If you immunize yourself against these four, there won’t be too many ads left for you to pay attention to!
Men Are Idiots, and Women Aren’t Much Better
This first one is as much of a no-brainer as men in commercials are portrayed as. Basically, the modern male archetype is a perpetually adolescent, insanely egotistical but incompetent caveman, with little knowledge of hygiene or manners, whose tastes are limited to loud things, shiny things, and bacon. The advertising “man” needs a man-cave, man-food, man-beer and man-soap or we won’t know how to use it. (Furthermore, if we don’t use the man-product, it means we aren’t man enough.)
Women, you may think you’re the heroes of the commercials for household products, but they’re insulting you too, maybe even more. See, the subtle message is that men would be having a hell of a lot more fun if you weren’t around. Men would be perfectly content living in squalor and filth if you weren’t around to harp on them all day the the help of the useful product being promoted. Women are basically around to clean up after men, which means they can’t be too smart either. Is that the dream of feminism or what? Yay, women!
Sex is All Men Want and Women Are For Decoration
If women aren’t being type-cast as the nagging mother who keeps her stumbling, bumbling idiot of a husband in check, there is only one other female role in a commercial: a talking pair of boobs. Talking is of course, optional.
Advertisers know that sex sells. And it insults everyone.
It insults men, because it treats men like rabid dogs who only want one thing, and are easily tricked by women.
It insults women because we buy into the idea that women are only good for decoration. There’s this not so subtle message that women owe it to men everywhere to be attractive, and unattractive women are useless. That is really their only selling point.
We’re All a Bunch of Wimps
I think if there’s one product that makes Americans look like the wimpiest, most namby-pamby crybabies on earth have to be “disinfecting” products. You’ve got these germophobic mothers wiping down every surface of the house, like they’re living in a vomitorium. (It’s never Dad who’s cleaning up. He must have died from a massive infection.) You can even sanitize the air. It’s not enough to “freshen” the air. You need to to make sure that no surly germs ever sully your lungs.
I’m sorry, unless you are living in a Russian prison and are trying to control an outbreak of tuberculosis, there is just no need to be sanitizing your air.
Between the ads telling you how dirty things are, and the pharma commercials telling you how sick you are, it might just be a good idea to go ahead and get a lobotomy. Seriously. Did you know you have this amazing all natural system for sanitizing your body? It’s called your immune system. But an immune system is like a lot of things. Use it or lose it. If you live like a total pansy and try to never touch any germs, you’ll be sicker than ever.
Emotions Are Made to Be Manipulated
Next time you see some grainy footage of some sick, beaten animal, just change the channel. Once the voiceover and violin music comes on, it’s too late.
Humane societies are the worst manipulators. We had a spate of ads last year, begging people to vote to end “puppy mills” where dogs are farmed, starved, beaten and neglected. Oh no! Not that! Who wants to see puppies mistreated?
Except that “puppy mills” were already against the law. So the humane society was pushing for a redundant law that would give their own organization more money to “police” the situation. Nice try, idiots.
Oh, so the law was passed…and the ads are still going.
Next time you feel your heartstrings start to get plucked, ask yourself if you’re just being strung along.
How else are advertisers insulting our intelligence, gender, competence or emotions?