The following was a headline from a tiktok post that went viral. The post was made by a father of four kids who identified himself in his video as a driver for UPS.
“I Don’t Help My Wife Cook, Clean, Do Laundry, Or Take Care Of The Kids”
His message is that he is not a helper but a partner in accomplishing these tasks and that men should view taking care of family demands as an equal with his wife not merely helping her with her responsibilities. I have no problem with this message except for the fact that he omits the responsibility many men have providing for the family. Should his wife be a partner in providing financial support at an equal level to his paycheck? If they make a decision as a couple that she will be a stay at home mom how can he be an equal partner in meeting every day household and family while working full time? I believe that the author of the post was equating someone taking the lead in a set of tasks with being a boss rather than a partner. If his wife is a stay at home mom a man can share household responsibilities under his wife’s direction without the attitude that he is doing his wife a favor. Conversely, If both parties are working full time than the partnership should include household responsibilities as well as financial responsibilities. Partnership is a worthy goal in a marriage but it does not mean that either party should not take the lead when they are in the best position to do so.
Men In The Media
I have periodically blogged about how man are portrayed in the media. There are many examples of men made out to be inept who need to be rescued by a female partner and I comment only when an ad particularly offends my sensibilities as a man.
A recent commercial for auto insurance depicted a man and a women in the front seat of a car. She is in the driver’s seat – a clear message that she is in control – and her male partner in the passenger seat indicates that his seat his wet. She also states that her seat is wet and shows him that the sun roof was left open. She asks him if he left the sun roof open and he denies that he was responsible for it being open. She states that he is the sun roof guy and then signals with a red rag tossed out of the car window – the professional football practice used by coaches to challenge a referee’s decision – and instantly an individual with a laptop appears to show them a video replay indicating who actually left the sun roof open. Of course it shows that he was lying and did leave the sun roof open. She responds with a smug smile. The man has a sheepish expression while hers reflects an air of superiority. The overall theme is that men are careless, avoid taking responsibility and need a women to correct their mistakes and show them the right way to do something.
I wonder who writes the copy for the ads that perpetuate the negative stereotypes of male behavior. Are they women taking revenge for their perception of male dominance? Or are they men who either believe the stereotypes or just don’t see how damaging their message is to redefining masculinity? In either case we need to push back and let the clients of the ad agencies know how offensive these type of commercials are to the majority of men.