Showing posts with label Mens Issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mens Issues. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cosmo Objectifying Men is a Content Challenge

Rule #1 of being PC, you cannot be hypocritical. Meaning, if you're going to publish content outraged about men objectifying women, you can't later turn around an objectify men. 

It is amazing the double standards and selective listening we do as a society. No winners here: not the publisher, nor the two authors that created the respective content. It's hard to throttle serious content around objectification, than then have an objectification FTW moment later under the same brand's umbrella. 


Cosmo Objectifying Men
Cosmopolitan Magazine has no tolerance for men that objectify women, yet Cosmo is more than happy to objectify men. 

Publishers have it rough. It's readers very much could be interested in both pieces of content. Does it make sense for the brand to publish both pieces though? It's difficult to be serious one minute and then throw away any subject matter expertise gained to look at some Olympic bulges. 

I actually feel bad for the writer in article #1. Down the road googling about "Cosmo" and "objectifying" very well could lead to a photo of three guys bulges and to article #2 focusing on WHY IT'S OKAY to objective men (spoiler alert, because these men are athletes)


What if a male magazine did a 28 slide carousel dedicated to guessing thigh gaps and camel toes of female athletes? Would that be in fun or cause issues? If the gender tables were turned there would certainly be hashtag blow back towards the magazine, it's parent company and prominent advertisers. 

Did you see Cosmo's searing exploration of Olympic bulges the other day? You didn't? Shame on you — go peep it immediately. Here's why you should, besides the obvious appeal of seeing a very detailed outline of an Olympic peen: Cosmo got yelled at for it. Specifically, an agent who reps two of the bulge-owning male athletes demanded it be removed from Cosmopolitan.com. Fortunately, the guys themselves had other ideas. 
... 
To malign male objectification as condescending and unfair while embracing the objectification of women is a problem. Athletes and performers' bodies are their tools, so I'm not calling for everyone to suddenly stop judging them on their looks or physique. But it's only fair that both sexes are objectified equally. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go Google "Michael Fassbender penis."

My bad, all good. A few of the athletes took it in fun. While it will probably elevate their image (yikes unintended pun), it's the wrong message, and it's wrong to write it off as just a hypersensitive athlete's agent. We would never have a male pro athlete tell aspiring young male swimmers to practice often, eat well, and fluff up before heading out towards the cameras.

Equally, a rape victim would never be asked, "wellllll what were you wearing the night of the rape?" "Oh a short skirt... uh huh... you know it's part your fault for drawing that type of attention to yourself."


The bottom line, brands can't be in the business of fighting the objectification of women while moonlighting in the business of objectifying men. Looks like the author, Anna Breslaw, is taking some heat online for this 2014 article that referenced Olympic bulges from 2012. I empathize with her. What she wrote was fun, playful, also made some important hypocrisy points of its own.

Sadly we're becoming so serious as a society that we can't be playful like this. It costs us our sense of humor, but in exchange heightened respect is given. It's been like this for a while -- a male magazine and male author couldn't objectify like this towards women, even with a moral to the story at the end. In an odd twist, seems like this round of internet outrage is a sign of gender equality.

p.s. Cosmo isn't the first to have a double standard on this topic, and won't be the last. Elite Daily did the same back in 2015.

via Elite Daily: Why It’s Completely Okay To Objectify Men…No Really, It Is (2015)
Hey, that doesn't look like consent. Is he a victim or the luckiest guy ever? What if the attractiveness level was maintained, but gender roles reversed to "one female having a towel pulled by four males."



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Launching Men's Issues Content

I saw this comparison image on social media a few weeks back. My first reaction, "guy on the left has a funny hat, I bet he's bald." I then started thinking about the pony tail -- seemed odd -- especially with that hat.

I changed my previous hypothesis to "maybe he's in music, maybe he's a producer." I then found myself asking is she with him for him, or is this some power trade situation?


I knew the two photo comparison was a setup before I even read the captions. The second photo reminded me of a Dove advertisement and the focus around highlighting beauty of average women over models. Guy in the second photo looked like he was in music too, maybe he was a drummer in a band... Then it hit me, I fell for the trap. And while the captions are intended to be ironic and funny, it put a magnifying glass over a double standard in how we view physical beauty.

Exploitation vs. Empowerment
It also was a reminder of stereotypes and messaging we hear today. Left photo the female is obviously physically out of his league so he must be preying on here. Right photo the opposite is true, the message is around female empowerment and a celebration of who you are. No such celebration for the heavy guy with the hat and ponytail.

Always thought "No Ma'am" was an unnecessary parody. The group was over the top to show irony of the topic. Ironically there is no prominent Men's Right's groups at a national level working with states, colleges, and local communities. 

If Al Bundy was a blue collar men's issues ambassador, then Dr. Helen Smith PhD is the white collar ambassador. Ironic one of the leading voices on men's issues is female, a point she raises in her book "Men on Strike."

Men on Strike Book
American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.”

If Marty McFly gave Al Bundy a DeLearn ride to 2015 I'm not sure if Bundy would be freaked out, or shrug it off as times being exactly what he expected. In Men on Strike, Dr. Helen Smith, PhD outlines the challenges of shifts in society, including many of the unintended consequences.

From Amazon.com: American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them? 
As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century. Men are starting to fight back against the backlash. Men on Strike explains their battle cry.

Achieving equality, through balance of opportunity, has long been an important topic I've followed as a novice and enthusiast. I first wrote about the topic over a decade ago during my MBA. I recall covering the topic marketing and modern masculinity in a term paper. The research was very eye opening. In many ways this was a primer to understand the often polarized society we live in. It doesn't need to be that way. Unfortunately men tend not to be as vocal, organized, or expressive communicating outrage as a collective group.