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“Man down”: mocking men for “effeminacy” in Samsung Focus Flash ads

“Man down”: mocking men for “effeminacy” in Samsung Focus Flash ads published on No Comments on “Man down”: mocking men for “effeminacy” in Samsung Focus Flash ads

Hulu is playing ads for the Samsung Focus Flash smart phone these days, and both ads that I've seen so far piss me off because they both contain mockery of men who dare to deviate from culturally presecribed masculinity.

In one ad, a man tries on a pink shirt and black tights, then asks his friends via phone, "Do I look like an ice skater?" Despite his female significant other's assurance that he looks fine, his social network [whom he calls "the guys"] respond with jibes such as "Man down." These comments imply that Pink Shirt is losing his manhood by a) wearing such an outfit and b) allowing his female significant other to select clothing for him. Pink Shirt's peer group polices masculinity by teasing and shaming those who deviate from the machismo of current U.S. masculinity.

In the other ad I've seen, two men are threatening each other with things to post to Youtube. Friend A shows a video of Friend B crying at a movie, calling it a video of "a sad, sad man," with sad meaning both "unhappy" and also "pathetic" here. When Friend B teases Friend A about a comment from Friend A's girlfriend, Friend A threatens to post a video of Friend B in a shower cab in bathtub, washing his legs. Friend A impugns Friend B's masculinity by showing Friend B doing "effeminate" things such as crying at a movie or wearing a shower cab in the tub. The social network, like Friend A, who calls Friend B "a sad, sad man," responds instantly with derision.

I can't believe this campaign. The whole point of this phone is to easily update one's social networks, and the best way the execs can think to do this is by having the characters insult one another's gender expression? It's a sad, sad ["unhappy" + "pathetic"] view of social networks as promoters of rigid joyless conformity. It's also a sad, sad view of friendship as superficial togetherness masking secret wells of nasty criticism.

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