Friday, August 20, 2010

Men and the Media... are they treated fairly?

ManOfTheHouse and I have discussed this one a lot.  When we were dating I had a little sign on my wall that said “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” – this offended him.  I got a little tiny bike and put it in my fish tank.

The media can make fun of men… for being fat, stupid, man-whores, or whatever…   just watch any episode of your favorite sitcom and see for yourself.  The media doesn’t seem to be able to get away with the same kind of teasing of women.   It doesn’t go over well with NOW or the suffragettes or something. 
My problem?  I laugh hysterically when Raymond does something stupid and Debra gives him crap about it.  It’s funny…  you know what?  ManOfTheHouse laughs too… and then we have to question WHY we’re laughing, whether or not I think all men are stupid (of course not… those writers are BRILLIANT!) or dorky like they are portrayed.  We've discussed it ad infinitum...  I am not a man-hater just because I laugh am I?
Let's review some evidence shall we?
 c'mon, I only managed to sit through 3 minutes of this show and I wanted to shoot him...  the wife - not winning any awards for her brains but in comparison - give the woman the nobel peace prize!
 okay - so the men practically wore their feet to the bone and even invented a flying machine once... but the women always snickered behind their backs about how they'd gotten what they wanted...  hmmm... maybe this was just the pre-cursor to the "using sex as a tool" post?
 Couldn't stand each other, couldn't seem to let go of each other...  holy CRAP man, you're a psychiatrist, lay down on that couch and figure out that she's poison for you! 
 okay - so she was a little dumb...  but who always ended up looking stupid?  who always ended up apologizing to a girl who lived in a bottle? 
 never mind... bad example...  Ricky ended up looking like a saint usually... but MAN was he played like a fiddle (or like a bongo drum?) by that redhead...
oh... don't get me started - it was just annoying...  at least they both came off looking dumb usually...
ugh.  just ugh.
okay - neither of these couples makes any sense to me... but I laugh myself silly EVERY time I see the episode where the suitcase stays on the stairs for weeks...  or the one where he buys the wrong hose and the wrong napkins (Debra's just a little picky you say?) and ends up burning down the kitchen.  Yep, he'll always look worse than her.
Homer is the epitome of an oaf...  and Marge seems like a smart lady... well, aside from her choice of spouse and hairstyles...
Okay - they're both educated, intelligent people right???  So how is it that Cliff always ends up being the one manipulated by his wife and children... he ends up looking like an idiot despite his ability to get through medical school.
 maybe not an official "couple" - but still, who looked stupid?  every. single. day.  Why?  Because the audience (98.967% female) ate it up!  (and yes, I did just make up that statistic.

While trolling the internet for images I noticed that a few of them were accompanied by articles about how these men "married up" - apparently that is a good thing for men... what's the term for that if it's a woman "marrying up"...  yeah - gold diggers

In the end - yes it bugs me... and yes, I wish there was a little more fairness in the world... but only if that fairness were sprinkled with drop dead hilarity.

Will I write a letter to my congressman or the head of CBS/NBC and ABC?Probably not… I just don’t think it’s that huge a deal… Will I defend men staunchly? You bet – I happen to think men are pretty awesome… I married one after all!

Do men and women see things differently - ummm... well, I think the very existence (and popularity) of this blog proves that!  Luckily ManOfTheHouse and I can enjoy a funny television show together without coming to blows... because chick flicks are out (neither of us find them all that compelling) and  I can’t bring myself to watch 007 movies – I saw one, once… and just couldn’t stomach the fact that the woman was an object of sexual desire and not much else...  I AM a woman however, I hear these have a lot more appeal is you’re sporting the right combination of chromosomes… Can you even imagine for a second if a movie were made and the guy was some brainless idiot that just got carted along for the slow screen shots of their pecs bouncing up and down as they ran after their female companion who was saving their sorry behind every step of the way?    Yeah… wouldn’t sell in an action movie!  I guess guys get their genre (action... and maybe the news) and women get the rest of media to poke fun at them.

So, whaddya think?  Does the media slam on men more than necessary?  More than it slams on women?

and... do you laugh anyway?


Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I hope I won't be stoned or something, but yea, I laugh... at them all. It's hilarious.

And maybe media does that because it IS more funny when the guy comes off that way? I don't know?

Because it's not really that way in Real Life... in most cases.

You need to warn people before you put a picture up of Roseanne Barr.

Great post T.

Ash said...

I used to laugh a lot. Until I started raising two sons.

Now I just make sure to laugh when they're not in the room :-)

Suitcase epi of Raymond - BEST tv, ever.

Elaina said...

Let me pull out my liberal viewpoints on life and stuff...

Racism is considered to be prejudice + power, meaning that while it's equally uncool for a minority to discriminate against a white person, in a society where whites are still in a position of power (have more $, hold more CEO positions, hold far more political positions, etc, blah blah blah...).

Well, it's the same with sexism. While I can't say that I approve, per se, of these cliched jokes about men being buffoons, it's not really considered sexism (at least by bleeding heart feminist libs like me) because sexism is prejudice + power, and in our society, the men are in the position of power (same examples as racism: CEO positions, income disparity, political positions, but add in sexual harassment and assault as well).

So, in my opinion, these jokes aren't cool, but they aren't viewed the same way by viewers as they would be if they were the other way around (if the man was talking about how easy it was to manipulate his wife, or if she was the butt of jokes or situations that the writers created) because despite all that, he is still in a position of privilege by virtue of his gender.

That being said, yes, I laugh when Homer looks like an idiot, but when I analyze my behavior, I'm not entirely comfortable with it. Is it fair? Not really. I also notice that it's only the married men, for the most part, who are made out to be idiots. Single men (such as Booth on Bones, for example) are made out to be kind, strong, smart individuals. Is the message then that it's marriage that makes men act stupidly? If so, is that just another way to poke fun at the woman by way of poking fun at the man? I don't really know.

Did I get too serious? :)

TisforTonya said...

Elaina - not too serious at all... I think that what you put so eloquently is exactly what I meant to say -- plus a little bonus with the married v. single bit!

Untypically Jia said...

There are some I still watch and laugh at. Raymond is one of them and that because even though Raymond is portrayed as a little simple minded and a Momma's boy, they equally show how absolutely insane and hormonal Debra can get. The Suitcase episode is of course the best.

I have however completely stopped watching King of Queens. I think that show goes too far. I don't even believe that couple loves each other. I wonder if they ever did.

I prefer watching Dick Van Dyke myself. Even if he does something stupid, it's considered more silly than idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I don't really have any comment on the subject though lol.

I do have a question. What is it about your sign "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" that you husband took offence to? I'm curious. Maybe it's because I'm a woman but I see nothing offence about that slogan. It's saying that women dont need men in order to get by in life. We're strong people too, aren't we? So yeah ... just curious :) Nothing wrong with the way he felt of course, he's entitled to feel that way, I'm just curious.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Yea, I think the media picks on guys more than they do on gals. I just think everyone needs to stop being so touchy about what comes out on TV, you know? I think people often forget that it's supposed to be purely for entertainment and take it way too seriously.

TisforTonya said...

you know... it's kind of funny actually - I think M.O.T.H. was being slightly insecure about whether or not our relationship was working... he worried that I was a man-hater and thought that the sign was more to me than a funny slogan.

A woman doesn't NEED a man in her life to be a productive member of society - perhaps my possession of such a sign made him think that I didn't WANT a man in my life?

I'll have to ask him... tomorrow... you know, after he's done being annoyed that I didn't roll up the car windows (that HE rolled down) and the rain got in :)

CeCe said...

Oh my, it's not just the men.

On Married... with Children, Al's daughter was portrayed as vapid, easy, and incredibly un-educate-able while his wife was portrayed as tacky, aggressive, and annoying.

On The Flintstones, both Betty and Wilmawere portrayed as manipulative, catty, and materialistic.

All the women on Frasier seemed to be needy, and door-mat-ish.

You said it yourself, I Dream of Jeannie had an incredibly dense, nothing-but-looks leading lady.

Lucy was a whiny, sneaky, troublesome chick who seemed to only make life more difficult for the men around her.

Angela on Who's The Boss? is portrayed as uptight, immovable, and a bit of a killjoy.

Roseanne is shown to be classless, tactless, and a less-than-stellar mother.

All the women on Everybody Loves Raymond are over-bearing, show a complete lack of growth, and hyper-critical.

On the Simpsons, all the female characters are shown to be the opposite of what men like. Lisa's too smart, Marge's sisters are disgusting. Bart's teacher is depserate.

Claire Huxtable had these moments where she shut down on her family. She never did that with her career, just to her kids and husband.

I can't comment on that last show because I have no idea what show it is...

But, as far as men being portrayed as stupid idiots, boo-hoo. Women get an entire gamut of undesirable qualities. And they usually attack the things we pride ourselves most on: beauty, intelligence, being good mothers, balancing a career and family, supporting the men in our lives, being good people.

GoodWill said...

CeCe said a lot of what I was thinking. Women don't always get off easy either.

Personally, I think it's all funny, but I can't take any of it too seriously. I can watch a show like Raymond and laugh because I can see the idiocy of it all.

And to be quite honest, I, as a man...see a part of myself in those characters some times. I do stupid things some times, even when I know better. So I can laugh at it, and laugh at myself about it.

King of Queens is another one. Doug (Kevin James) is rather buffoonish, and he is the butt of the majority of the jokes.

What I like about these shows is that you can spend the entire half hour laughing at them, cringing with them...but every once in awhile, they show you a softer side. A compromise between the husband and wife. The sweetness of their love that they forget to acknowledge all the time. Call me a romantic, an idealist...but I think there's something very real about that. In real life, nothing is perfect all the time. In my relationship with my wife, I am often the Raymond character. My wife is often Debra. We each have our faults, we each can be made fun of. And we frustrate each other. Then we have those moments of tenderness, of sweetness...that reminds you why you're living your life with that person. You're fighting the same fight...together as one.

So it's OK to laugh at the funny parts, because you're also going to smile with the cheesy ones.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit it.. I laugh. My entire blog mocks my dear husband for all his "male traits". And I sometimes feel like I live an Everybody Loves Raymond life.. .right down the having Marie for a mother-in-law (and just for the record, we all do love each other!). I also think a key to any successful relationship is having the ability to laugh at yourself. And, sometimes we see some of our own traits in these shows.

I think any comedy is seated in overplaying stereotypes. It's not all about racism or sexism or ageism. It's about exploiting an overly generalized stereotype to solicit a laugh.

There are generalizations about lawyers and doctors and scientists (heck, it's the basis for The Big Bang Theory on TV) that are all portrayed in a way that make us chuckle!

It's reality that most men & women have different styles of communication and interests and this reality lends itself to situations that are funny!

And, I'm all for it!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Wait...back up... what!?

Someone doesn't watch King of Queens!? That show is freaking hilarious!

Holy cow. The one where he runs in a race. I peed my pants I was laughing so hard.

That show is right up there with According to Jim. Don't be a hater for the laughs people.

I think men can be portrayed that way because they know how to take a joke... where us girls tend to take stuff like that to heart. Just a thought?

Now I must go look up that King of Queens episode.

Anonymous said...

KoQ is the best by far.

The reason is because men can never be a victim. All the "womens" groups like NOW or HAGS or pretty much Democrat voters and they can only exist by making their constituents weak, needy victims.

The thing is those shows are close to real life! Thats about how I act.

Unknown said...

I have more patience for this in the media than I do in real life. I'm far more likely to laugh at Debra calling Raymond an idiot than I ever would if it were my sister and her husband. And I'd be more likely to tolerate the over-the-top portrayal of the MIL from hell when it's Marie Baron, than if I heard my own SIL talking that way about my mother.

Sometimes, though, it really is just too much. The Bond movies are an insult to both genders, not to mention anyone who actually appreciates decent dialogue!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Amen to King of Queens. *fist pound*

DeNae-totally true, if they said things about our fam in real life it wouldn't be as tolerated.

Which is why we call it entertainment as Meeko said.

wendy said...

makes you real life, we wouldn't allow it really, like DeNae was saying. It would be insulting
I would never want to deliberatley DOWNGRADE my husband anymore then I'd want him to belittle me

so why do we find it funny??
I have to admit, I do giggle at some of those shows

sometimes maybe it is good therapy to laugh at our differences.....
Laugh WITh not AT

I have NOT watched a James Bond movie since the early 70's
yup, I'm old

nitebyrd said...

Two words ~ Tony Soprano. No one ever made Tony look stupid.

Yes, I laugh at sitcoms and think that the "fantasy" must be based on at least some (all?) fact.

heelsnstocking said...

i think both sexes get there share of beating in the media its when you look at why. men get called for cheating and neglect, woman is a tramp etc... but if there job is the media well they have to live by it and die by it. its the price of fame