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How Popular Culture Treats Men (and therefore Women)

Have you ever noticed that every man you see on television is an idiot?  It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a sitcom or a commercial, a drama or something more hip.  The pecking order in any Hollywood production is that women are always smarter than men.  Most of the time, children are smarter than their parents.  But the dumbest person of all in this equation is always the man.  Have you ever wondered why that is?  How did we go from “Leave it to Beaver” in the 1950s (ha ha, I said “beaver”) to things like The Simpsons and Everybody Loves Raymond where the male of the family is always the butt of every joke?

I’m not the first person to make this observation. Have you ever noticed what all men on television comedies seem to have in common? Specifically the married ones, I mean. They’re all idiots. The typical sitcom father, or the father figure portrayed in commercials, is always the last to know anything. He’s an imbecile who is forever irking his much more intelligent wife (who is usually far more beautiful than a balding slob like this guy would ever manage to pull in real life). He’s constantly the butt of jokes made by his children, who have no respect for him. He has no power in the household; his wife tells him what to do, gets made at him when he disobeys, and occasionally allows him to borrow his own testicles for the rare foray into manhood that is required by the plot of the week. (Even then, whatever it is she allows him to do, he invariably does poorly and she must critique his success or failure after the fact.)
Stop and think about it for a moment. What is the plot to every episode of Home Improvement ever? Tim Allen, when he’s not doing dangerous things with power tools because he is possessed by that stupid male impulse to enjoy tools and machinery, does something to piss off his wife. He then fails to understand how he pissed her off, so he confers with Wilson, the wise fellow living on the other side of his fence. Armed with Wilson’s knowledge, he then does something to attempt to get himself out of the doghouse with his long-suffering wife. His attempt may be successful or it might be a hilarious failure, but the effort he puts forth is enough for her to forgive his stupidity for another week. If he’s really, really lucky, she’ll even consent to the indignity of having sex with him, which he is forever being denied because, why, how dare he find his wife desirable?

The latter theme is even more common on shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, which typically adheres to some variation of the husband-is-stupid, wife-is-pissed-off, wife-rarely-consents-to-sex-with-that-slob routine. The theme is repeated, either elaborately or in brief microcosm, in other shows and in commercials. The father figure is always the stupid one. The kids are always disrespectful, much more hip, and typically they tolerate their fool of a father because, well, he’s just Dad, after all, and he doesn’t know any better.

These cultural portrayals have a cumulative effect. Why do you think so many comedians who joke about marriage and being married sound like they’re writing from the same handbook? Their jokes are all built on one theme: Wives are unreasonable and irrational, and no matter how much their simple-minded husbands try to please them, no matter how much they try not to piss off their wives, they fail miserably. Even groveling and giving up their independence, even doing everything their wives ask them to do, becoming sniveling eunuchs in the name of peace and harmony at home, doesn’t prevent the typical husband from making his wife angry, and then usually he doesn’t even know what he’s done wrong until she consents, finally, to tell him.

Why doesn’t it bother more people that husbands and fathers are treated this way, and that this systemic behavior is so common it has long ago filtered into popular culture, put on display for all the world to see?

It should bother you. It should bother you a lot. But there’s a very good reason it should bother you, and that’s because how men are treated on television ultimately affects how women are treated.  Why do you think it is such an attractive option to hire a beautiful, professional escort when you want to be out on the town with an attractive lady?  It’s because when you’re out with an escort, you aren’t there to take anybody’s grief.  The transaction between the two of you is very defined and very obvious.  She’s there to be your date, and she’s not there to criticize you or try to change you or treat you poorly.  Why, if she did that, you’d rightly be outraged.  You’d say, “Who are you to talk to me that way?  We’re both adults and we’re both human beings.  So why am I the one being mistreated, when you are no better than me and I am no better than you?”

Well, all this load we dump on men in society has an impact.  In Japan, they’re already seeing this huge trend in men who have given up on being with women.  They don’t date, they don’t get married, and they have no interest in chasing the rat race to please girlfriends or wives.  As a result, people are worried in Japan that their economy will suffer because there will be fewer people to run on that business hamster wheel to fuel it.

As a result, when society treats men like idiots, men resent women.  They stop getting into relationships.  They start thinking, “Hey, I should be my own man.” And you SHOULD be your own man, which is why you should consider hiring an escort as an option.  But in a broader sense, we should all be looking at how we treat men and how this is affecting society overall.



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