Who needs a masculine/feminine side?

I have an experiment for you folks. More than likely you’ve at least heard of the Dos Equis beer ads right? Personally I’m of mixed feelings on them but there is one in particular that has had me thinking lately. Well actually its one like of one ad that has had me thinking. What I want you to do is watch at least first 10 seconds of this ad and think about what that line means you.

You hear it? I’m talking about the line, “He wouldn’t be afraid to show his feminine side…if he had one.”

What is your reaction to the implication that “The Most Interesting Man in the World” does not have a feminine side?

I have my answer but for the sake of discussion I’ll won’t put it here in the main post.

Discuss.

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13 Responses to Who needs a masculine/feminine side?

  1. April says:

    “He wouldn’t be afraid to show his feminine side… if he had one” seems fine by itself, until the rest of the commercial happens. He doesn’t have a feminine side, and here are a whole bunch more reasons why this man is so interesting.

    Seems like an obvious attempt to get a cheap shot in against what the writers perceive to be femininity.

    They could have found a way to celebrate masculinity without insulting femininity.

    Barf.

  2. Danny says:

    Thing is that is not how I took it and also why I titled the post the way I did. Maybe I’m weird but when I heard that I went right to thinking, “So what if he doesn’t have a feminine side?” And from there I got to wondering about the whole “feminine side” thing.

    Usually someone says that a guy is showing his feminine side when he does something that is normally not associated with masculinity such crying. My question to that is why the hell does a guy have to have a feminine side in order to “be allowed” to do such things. I take that the same as I would someone telling a woman who just beat someone up that “she has balls” (which while not the same wording is pretty much referencing her “masculine side”)

    But I do have a question for you April how exactly is this a cheap shot at femininity? (And bear in mind I’m not asking this because I think you’re wrong I’m asking because I’m not understanding the charge you make and I want to address that.)

    • April says:

      My question to that is why the hell does a guy have to have a feminine side in order to “be allowed” to do such things. I take that the same as I would someone telling a woman who just beat someone up that “she has balls” (which while not the same wording is pretty much referencing her “masculine side”)

      Totally agreed. I hadn’t thought of that when I first read this, and that’s a good point.

      Re: your question, it’s a cheap shot at femininity because he is claimed to be the most interesting man in the world. One of the reasons given in the voice-over is that he doesn’t have a feminine side. That sounds like femininity is not interesting, and can’t be interesting, and that men who have a so-called “feminine side” are not, and cannot be, interesting men. At least, not as interesting as this non-feminine dude. They could have achieved the desired effect without taking that shot at femininity.

    • Danny says:

      I can see where you’re coming from but I just see it more like things that a man (or anyone) does doesn’t need to be tied to masculinity or femininity. As I say I’m of mixed feelings about those ads. Some I think are useful advice (like “Life” and “Lady Luck”) while some are downright terrible (like “Packages” and “Rollerblading”). I think there is too much going on in those ads for people to just write them off.

  3. Melissa says:

    I think you’re both right. Although in this particular ad, I think the reference is definitely a cheap shot at femininity (men who’re afraid to show their feminine side are weak little conformists, but men who DO show their feminine side are like EW GIRLS…but the most interesting man in the world wouldn’t be like one of those wimps who’s afraid to show his feminine side…if he had one. But he’s far too manly and cool and interesting to have anything *shudder* GIRLY about him…), I also completely agree with Danny.
    Masculine side, feminine side…let’s try: people are individuals. With their own unique personalities, feelings, interests, and values. Let’s leave “masculine” and “feminine” out of it altogether. Otherwise it just reinforces a bunch of nasty stereotypes that hurt everybody.

    • Jim says:

      “But he’s far too manly and cool and interesting to have anything *shudder* GIRLY about him…),”

      Yeah. And I object to the common trope that femininity is “girly.” There are whole realms of femininity that have nothing to do with giggling and flouncing out of the room. It’s a slam on femininity to reduce it to that.

  4. Jim says:

    Fortunately the whole campaign is so tongue in cheek that this bit comes off as a swipe at weak-wits who are afraid they may have a feminine side.

    • BASTA! says:

      What is fortunate about the fact that in today’s gender discourse the quick brown fox of irony is too busy gnawing at its own tail to be able to jump over even the laziest of the dogs?

  5. elementary_watson says:

    I’m not able to watch the video here, but …

    Wouldn’t it have been cool if the same line were applied to a man who’s shown to be baking a cake, changing diapers, tending his flowers? Real men wear pink , after all.

  6. Jim says:

    EW, I remember when men satrted wearing pink shirts with busienss suits in the 60s, and the line then was only a real man would dare.

  7. Danny says:

    Oh god I remember when that wearing pink thing popped up in the rap industry.

    Personally I think pink is a disgusting color that should not exist unless it occurs naturally (like in fruit or something).

    But EW I think if they had done what you say then it would have looked patronizing aka trying too hard.

  8. BASTA! says:

    Re: your question, it’s a cheap shot at femininity because he is claimed to be the most interesting man in the world. One of the reasons given in the voice-over is that he doesn’t have a feminine side. That sounds like femininity is not interesting, and can’t be interesting, and that men who have a so-called “feminine side” are not, and cannot be, interesting men.

    m

    You are reading two messages into this.

    1) “femininity is not interesting”. That message isn’t actually present, and reading it into the ad is like saying that I devalue salt when I say that this honey here is good because it doesn’t have any salt in it.

    2) “men who have a so-called “feminine side” are not, and cannot be, interesting men”. “Interesting” is in the eye of the beholder, and beholders with precisely such an eye do exist. In some worldlets virtually all women are such beholders. The ad obviously targets men in those worldlets.

    • Quinne says:

      2) “men who have a so-called “feminine side” are not, and cannot be, interesting men”. “Interesting” is in the eye of the beholder, and beholders with precisely such an eye do exist. In some worldlets virtually all women are such beholders. The ad obviously targets men in those worldlets.

      Yeah, many who see the ad are already wedded to the assumption that men should not be feminine — but not everyone. And that ad, among many others, subtly influences people’s perceptions. Masscult and advertising are mutually reinforcing entities. If advertising has no choice but to reinforce the majority viewpoint and to make it even more entrenched, that’s perhaps a good critique of capitalism, but it’s not an excuse.

      So, yeah: I happen to think that encouraging men to avoid stereotypically feminine behaviors is a bad thing, and I condemn those with power who do it. I don’t absolve individual women who gender-police men, nor the men who preen for them, merely by choosing to criticize a powerful, widespread, blatant reinforcing source.

      You’re quite right about your other point, of course. Misogynists of course find femininity interesting, even desirable, if practiced by people they consider women. Femininity practiced by those coded as nonwomen threatens the assumptions behind their systems of belief, but few misogynists want those coded as women to act more masculine.

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