A Country in Crisis—How Pop Culture is Devaluing Men AND Women

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Age and Invisibility

Back when I was in sales, we had a saying, “Say it once. Say it twice. Say it three times. Say it four times. Say it five times and they will believe.” Traditional marketing has hinged on this tenet for generations. The more people see product, an idea, etc. the better chance it will become “sticky” and meld into the collective consciousness.

This is also the foundation of any dictatorship, a concept those of us in political science called a “Cult of personality.” Propaganda is powerful.

Last post, I blogged about how seemingly innocent ads and blogs are anything but. Yes, I agree, some 20-something telling women over thirty they shouldn’t wear sparkles or eyeshadow shouldn’t affect how I feel about myself and frankly? It doesn’t.

She can go pound sand.

The problem is when an idea or attitude becomes SO pervasive that it translates into a socioeconomic or cultural reality. These snipes, jabs, “jokes” and stereotypes seep in and eventually forge the norm. Let’s explore a couple modern examples.

Blondes are Stupid/Slutty

He's a FRENCH MODEL...

He’s a FRENCH MODEL…

When I bought a red Honda Civic years ago, I never noticed how many there were until I drove one. Thus, being a blonde, I tend to notice how we are portrayed in the media probably more than others. I will NEVER do business with State Farm because of some of their commercials.

In one commercial, there is an African American male documenting a fender-bender on his smart phone while the blonde waits for her date she found on the Internet (because everything you read on the Internet is true). She found a “French model”, who turns out to be a giant doofy phony she saucers off with extra proud of her “find.”

Try reversing this and making a person of color look that stupid and we’d have march on D.C.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.44.42 AM

It’s the blonde mother who can’t figure out that Benadryl has single serving portable doses for when Junior is sneezing at the park. The brunette mom rolls her eyes at the blonde mother struggling with a spoon and a bottle.

Or the blonde who can’t figure out teeth-whitening strips. The brunette obviously knows there is the Aquafresh whitening tray (because apparently whitening strips are super advanced technology beyond a blonde woman’s mental capabilities.)

It’s the birth control pills the blonde is too dumb to figure out and on and on. Now that I’ve pointed this out, I’m fairly sure you will see it, too.

In film we’re often portrayed as sluts, morons, home wreckers and villains. I had one author I really enjoyed, but by the third book I read where the blonde was the evil tramp? I was done. Stereotypes= Lazy Writing.

And one might say, “Oh, Kristen, just brush it off. It shouldn’t affect how you feel about yourself.” Here is the thing. It doesn’t. I love being blonde. I’m Norwegian and embrace how I look and am secure in who I am. BUT, it impacts how others view ME.

 

Case in point, years ago I had a chemist approach me to ghost write a HIGHLY technical book. Why? I have a very strong science background and at the time was a technical writer for firearms, defense, and computer companies.

Anyway, we are in the middle of a critique session when his wife barges in and calls me everything under the sun, certain I was having an affair with her husband even though EVERY interaction I’d had with this person was via copied e-mails and in a large group (um, because I’m a professional and no, not THAT kind of “professional”).

She was certain because of my appearance I couldn’t be a “real” writer, especially NOT a high-tech writer.

Really. I wish I was making this up.

When I was in the business world, I’d come up with a new idea or strategy and no one would make a sound. Then the man sitting next to me would repeat what I’d just said and suddenly it was GENIUS!

One of my cousins, also a natural blonde, and as gorgeous as any supermodel, eventually dyed her hair brown because she found people listened to her ideas and took her more seriously as a brunette. Her career had slammed to a halt as a blonde, then suddenly took off when she changed hair color.

Thus, tell me again how pop culture has no impact on perception. What are we telling blonde little girls about who they will grow to be? Don’t get me wrong, the jokes make me laugh, but when it’s ALL jokes? Eventually, I’m not laughing.

One of the main reasons I LOVED “Frozen”? It was the first time in generations Disney had a blonde that wasn’t asleep waiting for a kiss or for a man to figure out her shoe size so she could get on with her life.

Media and Men

If I had a dollar for every commercial that implies grown men are idiots, I’d be writing this blog on a beach somewhere. Apparently, according to television, men are incapable of feeding themselves, watching kids, grocery shopping, and they need help from mommy when calling in a car accident. Mom, wife, girlfriend, kids and even the dog has a higher IQ than a grown man.

Here’s an infuriating enlightening compilation of what I’m talking about…

I feel the past 25 years has Homer-Simpsonized men. If a man is over thirty, he’s incompetent and needs mom or wife-as-mom. He’s not even smart enough to order a pizza on his own (another commercial that sent me fuming).

Show me a strong, assured handsome older man? I’ll show you an E.D. commercial…with a man sailing off in a boat alone. WTH?

Huh? Wow, apparently older men can’t even think to pack a WOMAN on the trip. Should have called mom first.

As the mother of a boy, I think these media/cultural images are dangerous. I’ve had my own dealings with schools punishing Spawn for what 25 years ago was simply, “being a little boy.” Boys are loud, rambunctious, have a lot of energy and many times, aren’t going to behave like girls unless medicated. As in sit still and be quiet for hours at a time.

I was once called up to school because Spawn was playing Zombie on the playground (age 4).

Me: Was he biting anyone?

Administrator: No.

Me: Was he touching or grabbing anyone or hurting them?

Administrator: No.

Me: Well, then what was he doing?

Administrator: Moaning and wandering around with a blank stare.

Me: Well, sounds like every DMV employee I’ve ever met, so what is the problem?

Administrator: He just…likes zombies. We also think he lacks imagination and he refuses to answer to his name. He will only answer to Zombie-Robot.

Me: I think I need some air.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.57.58 PM

And NOW we unschool.

Culture Crisis

Even though society (in REALITY) has changed, why aren’t commercials reflecting this? We now live in a world where both parents work more often than not, and yet the majority of commercials still portray Mom as the one in charge, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Why are dads absentee in reality? I ask why are they absentee in advertising? I was SO thrilled that Cheerios took this on with their new campaign #HowToDad, which portrays a WONDERFUL example of a husband AND father. It made me want to stand and cheer! Why can’t we have more of these kinds of commercials?

Writers Create the Future

Writing forges culture and attitudes, meaning words and images are POWERFUL. If our pop culture keeps implying anyone over 30 is irrelevant (stupid, incompetent, lazy, invisible), guess what happens?

Screen Shot 2012-05-04 at 11.05.40 AM

We are facing a CRISIS in this country. Age discrimination is RAMPANT.

If we can’t see it, we can’t BE it. What does the strong, confident sexy over-30, 40, 50 + person (male or female) LOOK like? What does a great husband, confident and capable father look like? There are a lot of single fathers. Who is speaking for THEM?

We “older folks” are the group with the most spending power, yet how much marketing is directed to those groups who need our credit card to make a purchase? And this affects products created and offered. I would LOVE to dress chic, but when Target offers 15 versions of skinny jeans and super-short shorts in the Misses section? I’m limited what I can buy.

I’m a professional. I can’t wear micro-minis and short shorts and be taken seriously (or be comfortable for that matter).

This means I live in t-shirts and yoga pants, reinforcing the stereotype that women over 30 just don’t care what we look like. It’s a double-bind for ALL of us.

Men AND women.

I can’t say much about this, but right now there is a LARGE group of people suing a BIG company because this company essentially wholesale got rid of anyone over 40 (mostly men) and replaced them with 20-somethings out of college.

There was NO concern for the years of experience these older workers had, the relationships with customers they’d spent years cultivating. They were old, ergo irrelevant and replaceable…which turned out to be a bad move because the newbies required so much training and had no industry experience. This meant they made a LOT of COSTLY mistakes.

Work had to be redone and redone…and redone when the older workers had ten times the output and projects/orders done correctly the FIRST time. So did the company really save money?

Thus, when people say, “Brush it off.” “Move on.” “It shouldn’t affect how you feel about yourself.”

This is true.

The problem is that we’ve been “nice” so long that now we’re seeing these stereotypes become cultural and economic realities. Yeah, sure, I can feel great about how I look and I like a good self-deprecating joke or three. But I kinda like being EMPLOYED, too.

A Country Without a Heart has No Brain

My degree was in Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa. Often when you study third and fourth world countries, what you find is that women aren’t valued. This means a country only has access to less than half of their workforce and intellectual/creative reservoirs (since women typically outnumber men).

The Western World likes to believe it’s “evolved” but we’re seeing major shrinkage in population sizes with each generation while simultaneously mothballing the more mature workers/contributors. If the population over 30 or 40+ vastly outnumbers the young? And we fail to value the more mature generations?

You see where the logic is headed.

Youth is beautiful and wonderful and I LOVE young people. Work with them all the time. They are our future. But I think this is why it is incumbent on those of us in the older generations to speak up. Sure, we can take a joke. But it seems that we are BECOMING the joke, and that’s uncool.

Many of you reading this are writers. Embrace the power you have. Writers are responsible for more social change than any legislation ever passed.

We have the power to change hearts and minds, but we have to confront. We have to write companies and tell them we won’t buy from them because they don’t represent us, or they are demeaning us. We should support companies who value us. Money has a LOT of power as well.

Support companies who empower you. I refuse to purchase anything from a company that can’t respect me as a person. We can be funny without being demeaning and cruel. And if their ad people can’t? Hire better writers. Advertise to make us laugh, but not at our expense (Hello, CHEERIOS ad? Funny and awesome).

This one made me get tears! What a PRO-BOY commercial!

So I am going to go buy some Cheerios😀  and support the great, wonderful fathers, friends, dads and MEN out there along with the gals.

But first, I have to go do a 3-D rendering of this tooth-whitening strip. I’ve already gotten three stuck in my hair😛 . I’m all for gal-power, but we are in this together. We are not alone😉.

What are your thoughts? Do you get tired of being the butt of the joke? Have you seen pop culture impact how you are treated as a person? What are some positive ads, commercials, images that you think we need to see more of? How could Madison Avenue do a better job of speaking to us? And MEN, speak up! We love hearing from you, too!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of FEBRUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

***January’s Winner is Nolan White. Please send your 5,000 word Word document to kristen at wana intl dot com and CONGRATULATIONS!

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by 1authorcygnetbrown on February 5, 2015 - 12:14 pm

    My hairdresser and I were talking about how people perceive us with different hair color. I have found that when my hair was blond, people didn’t take me as seriously as they do now that my hair is brown. My hairdresser agreed that it was the same with her. I dye my hair because people think that individuals with gray hair are out of touch. I recognized the stereotype and adjusted that way.

    However, my oldest son was considered to have a learning disability when he was in school, now he OWNS his own logging business. I am just glad that he didn’t take the stereotype that was thrust on him as gospel!

  2. #2 by Gry Ranfelt on February 5, 2015 - 12:16 pm

    Rapunzel in Tangled was blonde.
    of course, then she turned brunette.

    • #3 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 5, 2015 - 12:21 pm

      Yep. And she was adorable but really ditzy. I always liked Mulan.

    • #5 by Beks on February 5, 2015 - 1:15 pm

      I don’t know if she was truly ditzy, or just sweet. Her “mother” even says in the song, “Mother Knows Best” that Rapunzel is “Ditzy and a bit, well, vague,” so was she really ditzy, or was she just called that by her mother so often that she took on the traits?

  3. #6 by Jackie Saulmon Ramirez on February 5, 2015 - 12:21 pm

    You are absolutely right about media devaluing people of both sexes. I do not watch sitcoms that are sexist, belittles or bullies anyone. It’s something I got into when my girls were young and found it made us all better people.

    Do you remember the sitcom where the characters were dinosaurs and the baby in the family verbally abuses the father? That hammered home the idea. I could never imagine allowing a child to speak to a parent that way, let alone my husband.

    There are a few advocacy groups that work to remove the worst offenders and to bring more appropriate media to families and children. These are the best:

    http://w2.parentstv.org/

    https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

    Have a good day!

  4. #7 by gilbertspeaks on February 5, 2015 - 12:24 pm

    Reblogged this on gilbertspeaks.

  5. #8 by annelorenetezon on February 5, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    Kristen, your comments struck a chord with me. I am 65, retired as a newspaper publisher, but my brain, skills and experience did not die on the day I sold my company. I have tried for two years to find even a part time job that would keep me in the game and actively contributing. Just today I noticed that the job ads I have been reading all say they are EOO companies, then list the groups they do not discriminate against. Conspicuously absent is the word “age”. We are becoming non-entities and the only solution is to continue as entrepreneurs.

  6. #9 by Collette Cameron on February 5, 2015 - 12:51 pm

    Oh my gosh, what an insightful post, Kristen, and spot on! If I had a dime for all the dumb blonde jokes I’ve been subjected to, I could retire. I graduated summa cum laude and have an IQ in the gifted range, yet because I’m blonde, I supposedly can’t string two words together.

    And I didn’t know that about State Farm. I’m shopping for new insurance. Thank you.

  7. #10 by Ruth Hartman Berge on February 5, 2015 - 12:53 pm

    As a blonde, over the age of 55 and mother of a son, your blog post definitely hit the truth as I’ve experienced it. I do, however, take advantage of the bias. As a Mensa member, I’m far from stupid, but have found that I can sometimes go stealth mode and learn a lot I wouldn’t have known if I had been upfront about the brain power some are just too blind to see. And my son? I raised him to be self-sufficient (my daughter, too). Neither needs anyone to show them the way, although company along the route is always welcome🙂

  8. #11 by Yvonne Hertzberger on February 5, 2015 - 12:54 pm

    I could not agree more. What is even worse is the sexualization of little girls and teens in the media. It perpetuates the myth that women are NOT equal. Then there’s the mysoginy in rap music and the penchant for the police and court systems to blame the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. I could go on and on but I’m getting depressed now….

  9. #12 by Marcianne Miler on February 5, 2015 - 1:02 pm

    Thanks for this enlightening and smart essay. What you say is so true. The stereotyping hurts both men and women but I think that women are more affected by it. There’s not enough time in the day to say how many different ways I as a woman, young, then old have suffered from negative stereotyping. My late-life divorce proves, didn’t it, that I was too independent to keep a real man in my life. I can’t let anyone know my real age because they freak out. I have no choice but to dye my hair and work my butt off so I don’t get that “disgusting” post-menopausal spread. Am now fighting breast cancer with doctors wondering why I am so concerned about any possible breast disfigurement — what difference should breast beauty make to someone as old as I am? Surely I don’t still have sex–how pathetic of me. Keep up the good work, Kristen. As writers it is our responsibility to create not only characters as they are, but as we want them to be. Good luck to all of us.

  10. #13 by Elin Gregory on February 5, 2015 - 1:08 pm

    Terrific post, sad but true. But there are a few adverts that are good. The “This Girl Can” add campaign in the UK is terrific. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sTultiFYiNg

  11. #14 by Lanette Kauten on February 5, 2015 - 1:13 pm

    I haven’t seen that Cheerio’s commercial before. It’s awesome! It’s also a lot more inspiring than the dumb man or dumb blonde commercials, so why do marketers go for dumb rather than inspiring?

  12. #15 by Beks on February 5, 2015 - 1:18 pm

    It drives me bonkers when people stereotype, which is what’s happening on the main political stages of our country right now. Apparently, you can’t be one thing without also being a million other things. I have a dear friend who happens to be gay and conservative, and is ostracized by his liberal friends for turning his back on his apparent tribe, and then there are conservatives who are, for lack of a better word, homophobic, and feel like his conservative values won’t match theirs. We can’t help how we’re born (race, hair color, eye color, socioeconomic status, until you change it yourself), so why does everyone act like we can?

  13. #16 by Lorraine Roe on February 5, 2015 - 1:31 pm

    Well, I truly adore you for addressing all concerned. The zombies school admin call is especially telling. I have two boys and I get it. Media dehumanizes humanity. It strips us of masculinity and femininity and all that’s really lovely about both. My main solution for myself is to lay low on media and follow my muse. I used to blog for a big outlet. The changes there have lead me to distance myself because they slant toward young audiences and young editors. I’m grateful to be here with my age and experience, but as you say, it doesn’t make it any easier when others are exposed to all the media bias. Thanks for the well-written blog!

  14. #17 by susanpbaker on February 5, 2015 - 1:33 pm

    Usually U.S. Mail it the way. You can do that and send it priority or however it has to be sent to get a tracking number. Susan P. Baker spbaker456@gmail.com http://www.susanpbaker.net SUGGESTION OF DEATH “Something is always better than nothing.”

  15. #18 by Ed Hoornaert on February 5, 2015 - 1:34 pm

    I know it wasn’t your point, Kristen, but as a transplanted Canuck I can’t help pointing out that your two ‘good’ commercials are both Canadian, not American. One is sponsored by Indigo, a Cdn chain, and the cool Cheerios dad has a Cdn accent.

    • #19 by jrosebooks on February 5, 2015 - 2:29 pm

      …Good to know. Silly Americans😉

  16. #20 by Roger Doering on February 5, 2015 - 1:34 pm

    You made me think about the second book I am writing. I was planning to make the ultimate villain a lackey in the US state department who was blond but a real focused ideological bad person. After reading this blog, she will be brunet.

    • #21 by Thomas Weaver on February 5, 2015 - 4:44 pm

      Just be aware that there’s another stereotype about the color of women’s hair: Blondes are sweet and innocent, and brunettes are wicked and conniving.

      It seems like you can’t win; no matter what you choose, there will be someone who takes your characters’ appearances as some kind of statement about who they are as people, and someone else who gets angry at you because your characters DON’T conform to whatever stereotype.

  17. #22 by Renee on February 5, 2015 - 1:39 pm

    Kristen: hear you loud and clear and I yell out a big “AMEN!” My boys are teenagers now, but I was struck by how they were often penalized for liking masculine things like trucks and army stuff. I won’t even get into a toy guns discussion, but I will say that a male pediatrician counseled me once, “Relax, Mrs. Worrywart.” My boys were pretending that this gentle Nerf bat was a rifle, and I was worried they’d be violent and wondered where on earth they’d pick this up, since I restricted their TV to “Blues Clues.” (LOL) The pediatrician said that boys gravitated toward this behavior, and said, “My boys aren’t allowed any toy guns by my wife and one chewed a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol and pretended to shoot with it. We are not violent by a long shot, but there you have it.”

    I volunteered a lot at my sons’ elementary schools. Sometimes, I felt the girls were being super-empowered at the expense of boys. And I was raised as an uber feminist! There are studies indicating that boys do better in a classroom arranged in rows, for example, whereas girls do better in desk clusters, (because girls are more relationship oriented), and every elementary classroom set-up was – clusters.

    I also found some of the girls’ behavior dismaying. The gossiping and catty stuff was surfacing pretty early, along with entitlement, (“My parents tell me I’m a princess, so treat me as such.”) It really bothered me. How was this acting sisterly or empowered? It seemed more self-indulgent and narcissistic than anything, and Dr. Jean Twenge’s work on cultural narcissism confirms a few things.

    Then I found a web site: “Supporting Our Sons,” which I found heartening. I don’t know if this website is still current or not, but some of the studies she (the website owner) cited were fascinating. http://www.supportingoursons.org/

    We’ve been bombarded with such toxic, insanely unrealistic images in pop culture that people seem to buy into this, such as Kim Kardashian’s surgically-enhanced derriere, (which we real women are supposed to buy that’s real, along with the fact that celebrities never age). We’ve got the comic book movies (unrealistic) and the “50 Shades” unrealistic (rich tortured prince runs a Fortune 500 company, plays like a professional pianist AND flies a helicopter). As much as I enjoyed the wit on “Sex & the City,” I thought it was hollow emotionally, and let’s face it, most of us don’t have a “Big” or order out every day. We scrub grease stains off the backsplash, grumble as we disinfect the toilet and cry when our kid has a solo during the school musical.

    Anyway, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” had the Manhattan setting, too, like “Sex & The City,” included the glamorous lifestyle, yet packed more of a heartbreaking, emotional punch.

    The Homer-ization of men! YES! My husband is far from a doofus and would not tolerate any nasty disrespect from our sons. As a result, my kids are polite, good natured and think of others. Oh, shoot, they’re not perfect – who is? – but people tell me that they’re good kids, and that feels good. We must raise our kids to get along with the world – the world does not owe them anything, and the world does not “belong” to them solely. People are not their servants. They’ve got to share the world, and they’ve got to have manners. Courtesy and decency may not be “hip,” but to me, they go a long way.

    • #23 by Thomas Weaver on February 5, 2015 - 4:48 pm

      “because girls are more relationship oriented” — IN GENERAL, girls are more relationship oriented. The ones who aren’t are sometime punished by their teachers for ‘acting like a boy.’ What about the boys who are relationship oriented? Should they be told to just get over it and ‘be a man’?

      So many problems could be solved just by allowing people to act like people and not trying to define or pigeonhole ANY person’s behavior according to “masculine” or “feminine.”

  18. #24 by richardperth on February 5, 2015 - 1:44 pm

    I know a young woman with grey eyes and blond hair who was inducted into the Phi Betta Kappa society just before she graduated with a Ph.D. last year, and I’ve known more than a few blond Mensans.

  19. #25 by Jon Chaisson on February 5, 2015 - 1:48 pm

    THANK YOU for mentioning the men-as-idiots commercials. Those irritate the hell out of me. I mean really, is that our lot in life to stare blankly with a giant brainfart at spilled Kool-Aid, completely baffled as to a)how it happened, and b)what we’re supposed to do with it.

    And yet all truck and tool commercials show us as Masculine Male Men of Masculinity Capable of Moving the Earth with a Flathead Screwdriver and a Dodge Ram.

    Go figure.

    • #26 by Jon Chaisson on February 5, 2015 - 1:49 pm

      Oops–a bit of bad grammar there. My ire got the best of me. :p

  20. #27 by vitamanman8 on February 5, 2015 - 1:50 pm

    Yes!!!! The truth is, stereotypes pervade and nobody seems to take any notice. There is still segregation on every single side of the coin, whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation… there’s a stereotype about you. And everyone knows it and accepts it whether they’re willing to admit it or not. I get told all the time that because I’m a man, my life is perfect and I have no problems and I’m not allowed to complain about anything. And I guarantee the fact that I’m mentioning it right now will infuriate some people. “You don’t know what it’s like to be _____!!!” No, you’re right. I don’t. And you don’t know what it’s like to be me. I face discrimination in my life as well. And because of my race and gender, people don’t take me seriously when it comes to the topic of race and gender. It is as though I’m not allowed to have an opinion, or that any opinion I have is incorrect. So thanks for writing this. Let’s all open our eyes.

  21. #28 by vitamanman8 on February 5, 2015 - 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Deviant by Donald Matthew Pratt and commented:
    This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

  22. #29 by J. Curtis Cook (@brandontherocks) on February 5, 2015 - 1:53 pm

    Forget the commercials. Popular literature and films have their own set of role models that portray men as unrealistic, self-serving and demeaning characters.

    Take James Bond. He has been the ultimate role model for Western males for fifty years. He never gets old, that is, he never ages and becomes a senior citizen who suffers for all the bad habits, poor choices and high-risk behaviors that are so central to his character. This very concept formed the basis for my first novel “Brand on the Rocks”. All those highly romanticized and envied traits finally come home to roost for England’s greatest fictional master spy.

  23. #30 by Ron Estrada on February 5, 2015 - 2:03 pm

    I probably can’t comment because I’m a white heterosexual male over 40. And a Christian. And I like country music. According to Hollywood, I shouldn’t even be allowed to vote. But yes, I’ve grown weary of the constant bashing of the previously un-bashed groups in America. It’s as if we need our turn at the bottom of the social pecking order. Our great great great great grandfathers enslaved Africans, beat their women, and tore the tags off their mattresses, so we must pay for their sins. Apparently, being a good husband and father isn’t enough. In fact, that is also an affront to to those who’ve been forced into a life of crime and serial-reproduction. We make heroes out of thugs and applaud when a good man is made to pay for the actions of another. We are as close to the destruction of a society as we can get. If we don’t learn to value honorable men and women over a loud mouthed football player, I fear the collapse will come soon.

    • #31 by maryblackhill on February 5, 2015 - 7:55 pm

      Hi Ron – it’s OK: as a white hetrosexual Christian male of over 40 you are in the minority and so can claim discrimination! As my husband says of our children: “They are white, intelligent, hardworking, professional (middle) class and the product of happily married Christian parents – they haven’t got a chance!” Just so sad……

  24. #32 by Shea McIntosh Ford on February 5, 2015 - 2:06 pm

    I LOVE Cheerios! ‘Course I can’t eat them, but that’s beside the point. I remember when they got flack from certain narrow minds for airing a super sweet ad featuring a bi-racial family. I’m so glad they have the ad writers that they do.

    I use to work with a woman who was raised in the culture where white “supremacy” was still taught as the norm, even if only in the home. She actually believed that the Bible says we should not intermarry because it says we should not be unequally yoked. Her words, “As in egg yolk.” HELLO!? Not only is she WAAAAY out of context, but the word is YOKE, as in a yoke of oxen.

    Her “norm” is a norm of utter meanness. The only problem I have with Cheerios’ biracial family commercial, is that it took so long for a company to create and air it.

    • #33 by Deb Atwood on February 9, 2015 - 11:51 am

      I’m with you, Shea–in love with the Cheerios commercials. If anyone hasn’t seen the multiracial one, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qkJHgkUzDA Absolutely adorable! And it features a smart, involved dad. My impression is that the response has been mostly positive, but that it has also sparked debate–which is not a bad thing either.

  25. #34 by SUSAN Hudson on February 5, 2015 - 2:11 pm

    I love every word of this post! I want to write like this too. I want to write about social justice regarding older people like myself, age 55, who are shut out of the work force by young adults and subsequently forced into poverty, and those of all ages who experience domestic violence. Kristen can you tell me how to get started doing this? I have reposted this on my blog mysticheartblog.WordPress.com. Thank you!

  26. #35 by Ms Hanson on February 5, 2015 - 2:27 pm

    Kristen wrote: “When I was in the business world, I’d come up with a new idea or strategy and no one would make a sound. Then the man sitting next to me would repeat what I’d just said and suddenly it was GENIUS!”

    This happened to me whilst traveling in the South years ago. As both a petite blonde and a Yankee, my solution was scoffed at, but when I returned moments after, the scoffer was “selling” the solution to his boss. Golly, was he ever embarrassed when He swiveled his Good Ol’ Boy chair around and discovered I was eavesdropping (politely awaiting the phone hang-up)…

    I never said a word. Didn’t need to. And the look on his face brings me to laughter even after all this time.

  27. #36 by busy lady on February 5, 2015 - 2:32 pm

    What a good blog. I am so sick of commercials that make men look stupid. And I have a blond sister who is far from a ditz or stupid. And while youth is fantastic, I would not return to those days; I like the age I am, even if it is “old.” Thank you for this much needed post!

  28. #37 by busy lady on February 5, 2015 - 2:34 pm

    Reblogged this on darlenescorner and commented:
    What are commercials/current thought doing to our culture? Good read,

  29. #38 by busy lady on February 5, 2015 - 2:35 pm

    I have reblogged you to darlenescorner.wordpress.com

  30. #39 by Gail Kushner on February 5, 2015 - 2:40 pm

    I agree with this blog post completely. I won’t buy burgers from one chain whose commercials offend me. I won’t watch TV shows where people belittle each other. I am concerned about song lyrics which demean anyone.

    I think it’s best when we lift each other up. When we encourage each other to be our best selves. This is the life I strive to lead. On my blog, I try to explain things clearly and help people see that we all work best when we work together.

  31. #41 by patriciaawoods2013 on February 5, 2015 - 2:45 pm

    This is spot on, girlfriend. Miss Marple has a salient quip in one movie about older women being invisible, so since no one notices her she sees and hears everything. I’ve attained that age where I am damn near invisible to people. My generation is had lots of damage, but one thing I don’t regret is raising awareness about issues. This is a real issue. Western civilization is on precarious ground because it has no moral compass, no common sense, and devalues people due to age or perceived value. If ya ain’t young and sexy ya ain’t gonna get no respect. So to speak. Rather than retire, God forfend, I intend to become a hot selling author. So there! My grandbabies will thank me when they reap the rewards. Here’s to fiesty women and men!

  32. #42 by jrosebooks on February 5, 2015 - 2:48 pm

    One of my favorite blog posts you have written. Just so much in this article to discuss. We seem to live in this strange kind of era where the experience is sometimes negative to act smart. [For example, some situations I’ve experienced where I’ve have to be just the right level of ‘smart’ – not too much and not too little outside of the group.] Why do us smart people so often feel we have to dumb ourselves down to fit in? (And on top of it, I feel MANY people don’t even try to be smart, because they just accept they are ‘stupid’ or ‘average’ and don’t even try – I mean it’s accepted by society, right?) You can easily see this in our education where kids are often made fun of if they strive to study and do well. [This is one of the things I would love to change more than anything, if I had a real magic wand].

    I think because of this era of portraying people as stupid, people are especially harsh when you are NOT stupid. Like you’re some foreign object when you do smart things and act outside the norm. People who think outside the box and always do their best are often shunned and ostracized by their groups.

    Second, I liked that you included women AND men, because men have to deal with stereotypes as well, they’re just different than women’s.

    And… It’s Jim Parsons!!

    I feel like as a country, we are on the edge of making some major breakthroughs, but will there be enough people to stand up for these concepts which move our country forward (and out of ancient times)? I am not sure.

  33. #43 by doovinator on February 5, 2015 - 2:55 pm

    yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. YES. YES!! YES!! Did I say YES?! I meant YES!!!!!!!
    ~DJ

  34. #44 by Jon M. Jefferson on February 5, 2015 - 3:26 pm

    First off, loved the separating eggs and whipped butter in the first video. I saw that as a crack against non cooks more than against blondes. But that comes from my time working in kitchens. I also loved the cheerios dad. We have needed that for so long.

    I have been taking an adolescent fiction class this semester. The book we have for the course work is Young Adult Literature by Michael Cart. We have explored the damage that has been unleashed on our clture in the name of social justice.

    The attack on men has been going on for quite some time and runs quite strongly through our culture. The worst thing is the thought that men are like fish, they won’t notice. They don’t suffer from these attacks like other people do. Bigotry and prejudice goes both ways. To pigeon hole any one because of how some other douche nozzle has treated you does little more than fan the flames of hatred.

    This doesn’t mean we should ignore suffering. This does not mean we let bullies get away with their antics. But at the same time if we become bullies in return we only perpetuate the cycle.

    • #45 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 5, 2015 - 3:44 pm

      I’ve never understood this need to raise up one group at the expense of others. We CAN make girls feel smart and strong without sacrificing boys. We can empower women without neutering men. It seems this is just the “easiest” course, much like meanness and fart jokes and toilet humor are easier than actually writing authentic comedy. ((HUGS)) and THANK YOU for commenting.

  35. #46 by foguth on February 5, 2015 - 3:29 pm

    My next heroine is a blonde geologist (not my Purrtector Files cat-based series; the Chatterre trilogy, so Tem-aki is human). I have it on good authority that on Chatterre, blondes are viewed as equal to brunettes. Like all my other heroines, Tem-aki is smart, takes excellent care of herself and saves the day — she might even kill the dragon or two.

    Can I fight the flood of stereotypes with one character? Doubtful, but at least I can try to redirect a few of the ignorant thoughts and maybe, just maybe, one or two people will say, but Tem-aki is smart, and them they might start to wonder if the stereotype is valid.
    This won’t be the first time I’ve tried to put a wrench in that particular stereotype. In Fatal Attractions, Blythe and Tempest are natural blondes, but dye their hair dark, mainly as a disguise. Their story also touches on blonde jokes, etc., all the while showing them as intelligent, females, who fight their own battles – and, eventually, win.

    IMHO, freckles, hair color, height, weight, etc. should not be a factor in how we see others. Since commercials annoy me, I mainly use Netflex😉

    And now, I’m going out to buy some Cherrios.

  36. #47 by BenBlue on February 5, 2015 - 3:29 pm

    As a man, I’ve been attuned to the dumb man thing for quite a long time. But the thing that has really gotten to me over the past few years? The universal bashing of Christians by Hollywood. I’m a screenwriter and spend a lot of time watching TV and movies, analyzing, studying, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Christian portrayed as anything but a close-minded, bigoted, unintelligent critic of whatever is going on in the episode. Something like 90% of America self-identifies as Christian, but Hollywood wants us all to believe that ALL American Christians go to Church in Topeka and picket soldiers funerals on weekends. Even the more “conservative” leaning shows (NCIS, for example) never portray a Christian without a Southern accent and a chip on his shoulder. Most of the Southerners I know don’t even have a Southern accent, let alone Christians. And don’t get me started on Republicans.

    Advertising is the most pervasive offender, of course, because there are more ads than TV shows or movies. But it’s all systemic of the intellectual incest in the media. Hollywood is convinced that EVERYONE thinks like them, because they haven’t left SoCal in thirteen years, except to see a new show in New York where everyone makes them feel like a fascist by comparison. But the reality is, they are the minority. We poor slobs who live in flyover country not only vastly outnumber them, but most of us are more educated with broader bases of knowledge and thought. Why? Because we actually listen to other peoples’ views before we decide whether or not to write them off.

    As writers, the democratization of publishing (and filmmaking, my field) has opened the doors for those of us with differing opinions to finally reach larger audiences, most of whom WANT what we have to say instead of being force fed the message that they’re stupid just because they live twenty minutes from the nearest Starbucks.

    BUT!!!

    And this is a big but. We have to make our product BETTER than the norm. That’s the problem pervasive in the Christian film industry right now. Do Christians want movies that portray them as normal or even heroic? Of course. Do we want movies based on Bible stories? Sure. But the movies that the Christian niche film industry is putting out are of sub-par quality in everything from writing to sound design, and what message does that send? Christians don’t know how to make movies. So Hollywood steps in and tries to fill the market share with “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” without understanding that being thrown a bone of high production value that still demeans our beliefs is just as bad as being portrayed as homophobic KKK rioters. We’re still not going to buy it.

    That’s an example from my Christian background, but it extends to all of us who are tired of the media’s current portrayal of “us”. Blondes, men, Christians, Republicans, even most Gay characters are still cliched stereotypes. OUR PRODUCT needs to be BETTER so that we are taken seriously by the established media, but also by our potential audience who has certain expectations in quality. With self-publishing and indie filmmaking, we can get our stuff out there, but we need to make sure that our stuff is going to be deserving to reflect well on us and our audience and not further the stereotypes of incompetence.

    (Oh, look…I’m on a soap box…didn’t mean to…um…yeah, I’ll get down now…)

    • #48 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 5, 2015 - 3:42 pm

      This blog is Soap-Box Approved. I WANT to hear from you, especially men because you’ve been bullied into being quiet. Yes, BULLIED. PC bullies men and boys. I am very excited about how the market is opening up to new writers who can be free to get away from the “accepted.” Not all gay men are swinging a purse, not all Christian women are blondes with big hair waiting for a witch hunt. Not all men are incompetent. On and on. And yes, we have to come up higher in MANY ways.

    • #49 by maryblackhill on February 5, 2015 - 8:14 pm

      Hi Ben Blue. Please, I love your rant – but (and it’s a big but) please tell me why I feel (as a UK Christian: our beliefs are private and rarely publicly acknowledged let alone aggrandised) that I have more in common with US Humanists than with the Christians who – yes – are portrayed as homophobic, repressive, unscientific (read Creationist), judgmental zealots instead of the loving, accepting, forgiving people Christ meant us to be? I am blonde, small, curvy and – intelligent, educated, powerful and – dammit – thinking! If, in my private life, I choose to attend church and to believe and pray to my idea of a “god/God”, then why should that be anyone’s business other than my own? Honestly seeking some enlightenment here. Are there “thinking” Christians on your side of the pond? Please let me know.

      • #50 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 5, 2015 - 10:01 pm

        The same reason why being gay should be anyone’s business. Why is anyone’s bedroom life something everyone needs to know about? So, cross the logic and if it is acceptable to discuss sexual issues and proclivities openly and cast them in entertainment, then religious groups should have the same respect. One cannot use the argument that faith is private but then sexuality should be paraded. It’s false logic.

        If we are going to portray a group, at least strive not to default to tropes. I am a Christian and I’d rather they just ignore us than constantly paint us as cavemen who think the world is flat and are scared or hate anyone with a different opinion. And I consider myself a “thinking” Christian. And probably why you think U.S. Christians ARE so different from you is from the ignorant stereotypes Ben and I are a more than a tad miffed about.

      • #51 by BenBlue on February 6, 2015 - 2:04 pm

        First, I agree with Kristen on why your perceptions are the way they are. What basis do you have for knowing what American Christians are like? Probably the American media, which is notoriously anti-Christian. I have never personally known a Christian on this side of the pond that acts the way most Christians do in American movies and TV.

        And YES! Yes, for goodness sakes, yes, there are thinking Christians over here. Most of the people I know are highly intelligent Christians equally capable of debating theology and the societal relevance of quantum theory or why time travel may or may not be possible. Honestly, I believe it’s impossible to be an UNthinking Christian. As More says, “The scientific investigation of nature is…the best possible means of pleasing the Creator. …He has the normal reactions of an artist. …He must prefer the type of person who examines it carefully, and really admires his work, to the type that just ignores it…” Not to mention the whole “be shrewd as serpents” thing.

        I don’t want to turn Kristen’s comment section into a theological clearing house (sorry, Kristen), but I’ll close with this. As Christians, we are not meant to live “private” lives. We are meant to be public with our faith and let our lives show what the rest of the world is missing. Like the song says, “make ’em wonder what you got.” I’m not saying all Christians need to produce “Christian” work, but I do think we need to live lives of public devotion to Christ and not hidden under a basket.

  37. #52 by sharrielynn on February 5, 2015 - 3:30 pm

    This is excellent. I hate the way men are portrayed in the culture. I’ve especially noticed this on some of the popular tween shows. Why exactly are they trying to tell children that all fathers are idiots? It makes me crazy.

  38. #53 by Andi on February 5, 2015 - 3:33 pm

    I just posted on my blog last week about how I feel appearance is so important for shaping people’s perceptions of my son, who has Down syndrome. One example I used is very similar to what you described – in my former life, I was an electrical engineer, and blonde. My hair began going gray prematurely (at 45, I’m all gray now and gave up coloring in 2008), so I decided to have a little fun and become a redhead for awhile. It wasn’t a social experiment, just something I wanted to try while I was still in my 20s – I have a fair complexion and it was a beautiful deep auburn color that worked. It was stunning to me how differently people treated me as a redhead. Not only did people take my ideas more seriously, but they also were a lot less likely to pi$$ me off, LOL! Apparently the short-tempered redhead is another pervasive stereotype.

    I have to disagree with you on Frozen, though. I was happy to see strong women who worried about more than just shoes and finding a husband, but… on the flip side of that coin, all of the men in the movie were either evil or irrelevant. Did Disney really have to sacrifice the men to make a healthy point about women?

    But in every other respect, I say YES! Go get ’em!🙂

  39. #54 by Elena Linville on February 5, 2015 - 4:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Elena Linville's Tower of Winds and commented:
    I don’t often (aka never) reblog posts, but I had to make an exception with this post by Kristen Lamb. I think she pretty much nailed the trend that makes me uncomfortable in our modern culture.

    I come from Russia originally, where the traditions are a bit different and the respect for our elders was deeply ingrained in our culture (though it has changed a lot in the past 20 year or so as well, sadly).

    I have also lived and worked most of my life in Europe where I never been treated differently than my male colleagues. Maybe I have just been lucky, I just worked for good companies, but the point is that I have never felt like I was inferior or inadequate because of my age / appearance / sex… until I moved to the United States.

    It’s subtle. It’s a demeaning comment here, a glance there, a TV commercial, but it builds up after a while. Now my philosophy in life is nobody has the right to tell me how to live, what to wear and how to behave, and no amount of bullying would change that. But I understand why so many women and men would feel overwhelmed, inadequate and useless…

    As Kristen says, we have the power to stop that.

  40. #55 by Thomas Weaver on February 5, 2015 - 4:23 pm

    “If a man is over thirty, he’s incompetent and needs mom or wife-as-mom.” — I’m well over 30 and doing quite well without mom OR mom-substitute. I don’t order pizza myself — I make my clone do that — but I have a hearing problem (which I’ve had all my life — it’s not age-related) and telephone conversations are difficult for me.

    I hate the “Men can’t ask for directions” jokes. I hate the “Men can’t multitask” stereotype. I hate “Help — a man in the kitchen!” Or the notion that a person can possess a Y chromosome OR the ability to be nurturing, but not both. Or the belief that men only want movies about violence and explosions and NOTHING ELSE: “Plot BAD!” says Stereotype Man. “Talking BAD! Want more apocalypse — NOW!!!” (Don’t get me wrong — I really like action-packed sci-fi movies — but I also require ANY movie I watch to, y’know, have a plot and characters and stuff. I liked Pacific Rim — great monsters. I also liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding — great characters. Clearly, something is wrong with me.)

    “Boys are loud, rambunctious, have a lot of energy and many times, aren’t going to behave like girls unless medicated. As in sit still and be quiet for hours at a time.” A lot of little girls have difficulty sitting still for hours at a time, too. I wonder if it’s worse for them, because there’s even more of an expectation for girls to be quiet. And little boys who DO sit quietly and listen in school? They’re labeled “retarded” and “weird” because, yeah, clearly a child who sits and reads books or draws pictures rather than stand in the middle of the room screaming just to hear his own voice has some “serious problems.” *shakes head*

    “He just…likes zombies. We also think he lacks imagination and he refuses to answer to his name. He will only answer to Zombie-Robot.” Wait — what?? They said your child LACKS imagination because he made up a name for himself? They must be using a definition of “imagination” I’m not familiar with. (Refusing to answer to anything but Zombie Robot… That reminds me of a scene in the story Superfudge in which the protagonist’s kid brother Fudgie refuses to answer to his real name — Farley Drexel — and bites the kindergarten teacher when she tries to force the issue. …Yes, I was a children’s librarian for a time — why do you ask? 🙂 ) As for liking zombies… Since the public education system in this country seems mostly designed to CREATE zombies, why should they find fault if he already wants to pretend to be one? Unless they fear that he’ll get it out of his system and want to be something else when he reaches adulthood.

  41. #56 by Denise McInerney on February 5, 2015 - 4:30 pm

    Kristen, did you see The Kill Zone blog about the awful obituary for author Colleen McCullough?http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2015/02/how-would-you-like-to-be-remembered.html

  42. #57 by Successful Enterprises on February 5, 2015 - 4:48 pm

    LMBO!!!!! This is too funny!!

  43. #58 by Jeffrey A. Gartshore on February 5, 2015 - 5:01 pm

    I was the boy in the classroom commercial, and I felt so alone in my desire to express myself in ways that did not involve hitting the other guy harder or mocking the weak ones.
    I had been convinced that I was the weak one.
    Truth be told, deep down inside, I didn’t believe them.
    Now I understand the truth of it…it takes more strength to be the gentle man than it does to be the aggressive one.

    …and I am striving to be the dad in the Cheerios ad. Shared that vid on my Facebook profile the moment I stopped watching it.

    Insightful and clever this time.

    Thanks.

  44. #59 by nebbo on February 5, 2015 - 5:15 pm

    AMEN! Disney has been one of the worst offenders for portraying men, usually single dads, as simpletons. The ageism crap gets more annoying as I get older (and more annoying), too. As a sometime actress I’m finding out first-hand how difficult it is to find roles, let alone land parts, as a middle-aged woman. I’m too old to be the “sweet young thing” or “tarty tart”, and I’m nowhere near a grandma type in appearance. If I had a dollar for every casting call I’ve seen that has something in the breakdown like “CEO, FEMALE: high-powered executive type, hard-nosed business executive, (wait for it…) … age 25-35”. Riiiiiiight. It used to make me fume, luckily it now just makes me giggle.

  45. #60 by Lee S. Hawke on February 5, 2015 - 5:53 pm

    Completely with you on this one. Also, as someone who I guess still classifies as ‘youth’, I personally find it deeply disturbing and uncomfortable the way it’s being fetishised. I don’t want to disappear when I get older. And the practice of firing older employees to hire new ones is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Experience is vital. Years are vital.

    Not to mention, their version of youth doesn’t look like reality. It’s just meant to make all of us feel inadequate that we’re not living up to the standard, so we buy the product. We’re all being taken on a ride here by advertising companies trying desperately to plug into our fantasies, and I’m pretty damn uncomfortable about it.

  46. #61 by Joan Leacott on February 5, 2015 - 6:22 pm

    In a novel I wrote, a pair of secondary characters in their seventies started a romantic relationship. I was advised by my editor and my friends to not include a sex scene between them, regardless of how well I wrote it. Nobody wanted to see, or even know that, old people do that sort of thing. I compromised by implying they’d had sex, whisker burn was involved. What would you all have done? Is this where reality and fiction part company?

  47. #62 by Hanna on February 5, 2015 - 6:22 pm

    This is awesome, Kristen. I’m so tired of the ads, TV shows, etc. that say that men are idiots no matter what, that stay-at-home mothers are lazy bums, et cetera.

    I think another group that’s often unfairly maligned is homeschoolers. Since I was homeschooled for most of my grade school career, I got a little tired after a while of the stereotypes that said that homeschoolers are just uneducated hicks whose parents are overprotective freaks. I figured the best way to handle the people who believed those things was to be the exact opposite of every bad thing they expected me to be, and so far, it’s worked nicely.🙂

    And you’re also right that writers have a big role to play in how society views itself and other people. I wish to God there were more authors who realized that fact and cared about it enough to make the effort to put good stuff out there instead of the crap the rest of the world keeps giving us.

    • #63 by Hanna Elizabeth on February 5, 2015 - 10:46 pm

      Not to go off topic, but I’m Hanna too (spelled the same!) and I too was home schooled! I’m 38 and it was truly scandalous, but it’s the best gift my parents ever game me (other than life). Anyway, I just had to say Hi! 🙂

      • #64 by Hanna on February 7, 2015 - 6:08 pm

        Yeah, I get a little excited too when I hear about someone named Hanna who spells it without the extra “h.”😉

        I loved being homeschooled too. I’m so glad my parents thought of it before I got run through the public school machine.

  48. #65 by Suzanne Lucero (@S_Lucero) on February 5, 2015 - 6:41 pm

    Hi, Kristin. I realize you probably wrote the bulk of this blog post before the Super Bowl, but I think Madison Ave. might be getting the message. Did you see the #WithDad commercial? Golden. I want to keep this post short so I won’t dissect every commercial but the bulk of them were showing–and celebrating–competent men and women. And even playing with some stereotypes. (Loved the Kia commercial with Pierce Brosnan.)

  49. #66 by Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage on February 5, 2015 - 6:47 pm

    Have mercy! The Pro Boy commercial and the Cheerios #HowToDad commercial — so cool. I hadn’t seen either before. Love that Pro Boy came out of Chapters.Indigo Love of Reading Fund. Natch. Great post, Kristen. And some inspiring comments.

  50. #67 by Rachel Thompson on February 5, 2015 - 6:52 pm

    Pop culture is only one aspect of the ubiquitous misinformation and social constructions we live under–pop culture is a symptom, and a tool, but not the problem. Edward Bernays really got the ball rolling on today’s wider uses of PR. It’s everywhere in the modern era, but it has always been used by the ruling classes in one form or another. I can cite examples from history and anthropology and tell you how it works psychologically but there isn’t room for that. Here is something worth considering: Everything you see in mass media is propaganda, every bit of it. Pretty much everything you think you know, or believe, is contrived by manipulation. Most of it lies. Anytime you see a dichotomy stated as fact, that too is a form of misdirection. How I know this doesn’t matter, seek the facts and prove me wrong. If you set aside your normally bias, be prepared for a blown mind. Pop culture is the puss oozing from a deeper sickness.

  51. #69 by parrillaturi on February 5, 2015 - 6:53 pm

    This blonde walks into a bar. Just kidding. Great post. I tend to get angry at the ineptness of so many in the commercial industry, who try so hard to divert our attention to what they view as reality. What a joke! The sad thing about all this, is the fact that many who view these ads really believe this trash. I hate the one where the man can not open a jar, therefore, the wife has to come to his rescue, and open the jar without any problems. Or the husband who can’t think by himself, and must rely on the woman for everything. These ad people are sissifying the male population, and sending the wrong message to young girls who happen to be blondes. Some of their peers see them not for who they actually are, and are capable of achieving, but through the eyes of moronic, self serving individuals. Good read. Blessings.

  52. #70 by Deborah Makarios on February 5, 2015 - 7:20 pm

    It’s deeply disturbing that repeated assertion can take the place of, say, actually being able to argue your point. And where are the classes teaching kids how to analyse whether what they’re being told stacks up or not, let alone how to notice what they’re being told by unspoken implication? That certainly wasn’t a feature of my formal education.
    As Dorothy Sayers wrote, “We let our young men and women go out unarmed in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects…”
    Which makes it all the more important to use our powers for good🙂

  53. #71 by John Keller on February 5, 2015 - 7:20 pm

    Kristen you hit it on the head. Don’t forget about Veterans and anyone with an opinion about anything. Our Vets are vilified for doing the duty of our country. They all suffer from PTSD, these people have and know how to use guns so disarm them. As a highly trained individual with experience in life or death situations they represent a massive threat to our elected government.

    Anyone with an opinion is shouted down and condemned as a crackpot.

    Standing tall for God and Country, caring enough to sing the National Anthem in public gets you labeled as a suspected terrorist.

    These are dangerous times we live in. I will not put up with the downgrading of our society. I will not spend money with any company who does not respect men and women.

    Thank you for opinion.

  54. #72 by Tiefsa on February 5, 2015 - 7:53 pm

    I’ll be honest. I don’t like the Dad is dumb stereotype.

  55. #73 by Sara Flower Kjeldsen on February 5, 2015 - 8:00 pm

    Thank you for writing this, because it needed to be written! Since dying my hair blonde two years ago, people tell me that I look lost in the sky train stations, guys talk down to me more than they did before, etc. I used to be “the tall girl” or the “girl with the glasses” but now I am always “the blonde.” Commercials are disgraceful when it comes to perpetuating gender stereotypes! Why are men still portrayed as clueless, while the mothers are the dish washers, laundry doers, and childrearers? It’s so silly and it needs to change! Movies are still pretty bad too, but I’ve noticed somewhat of an improvement. We just need so much more!

  56. #74 by shinobiswordsman on February 5, 2015 - 8:03 pm

    Reblogged this on maunderings of a ninja.

  57. #75 by Danny Murphy (@danmurphyauthor) on February 5, 2015 - 10:08 pm

    Good post! There was an AT&T commercial that featured a strong businesswoman being very decisive. She was flanked by three women with similar mannerisms and a sheepish looking guy. “Let’s close,” the leader said. The women struck their power pose and the guy caught up a moment or two later. He never did get it right though. Some things really stick with you. I don’t anticipate ever seeking service of any kind from AT&T.

  58. #76 by Gaines on February 5, 2015 - 10:19 pm

    Great post generating a lot of comments. “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “King of Queens”, “Tool Time” to name a few. Yeah men are definitely made to look dumb in today’s sitcoms. I like the name – Homerization. I will also stop telling blond jokes. Kind of the modern Polock equivalent.

    I also liked your last post regarding ageism. I may have lived 49 years and I definitely look 49 (or older), but I still feel young and vibrant. And I always will!

  59. #77 by tambra nicole on February 6, 2015 - 1:00 am

    This was an amazing blog post! Thank you! When I was a single Mom this guy came to take me out on a date. He said because I was blonde I was stupid. I was appalled at his callousness. I cussed him out and told him not to ever call me again. I’m not a natural blonde anymore but I am letting the silver come through. By the power and creativity we all have, I pray we can be a force of positive change.

    I’m about to put a link to this post on my blog.

    Hugs,
    Tambra Nicole

  60. #78 by tambra nicole on February 6, 2015 - 1:02 am

    Reblogged this on Tambra Nicole Kendall: Author of Romance and Nonfiction and commented:
    I love Kristen Lamb’s blog and I hope you will, too. This is such a wonderful, thought provoking post.

  61. #79 by Barbara on February 6, 2015 - 8:02 am

    I so liked the Cheerios Dad but age him up to 55 or so and take away his job and watch what happens to his self confidence.

  62. #80 by lonestarjake88 on February 6, 2015 - 12:20 pm

    I found this to be an enlightening article. As a white male in my late 20s, I would get frustrated by my demographic’s portrayal in the media. We’re always portrayed as sex addicted racist men who can’t stay in a relationship much less keep a job. I am happily married and maintaining a job, while writing books. I don’t find my marriage to be a burden, I find it uplifting. My spouse (who is Mexican) is amazing. We both get along well and she supports my writing. I wish they’d show that in the media.

  63. #81 by Muffy Wilson on February 6, 2015 - 3:30 pm

    I could not agree more than I do with Anne Lorenetezon (forgive me if I screwed that up…my eyes, you know, are not what they used to be). I lost my job in 2012 and have NOT been able to find another. My last job was at a third of what I was making. I turned 65 last September and apparently, I was the only one grateful I had. As the men say, and is glorified, “I am not what I once was, but I am once what I was.” Or the favorite: Young Bull upon seeing a herd of young bullettes in the valley, “Let’s run down and mount one of them.” Whereupon the older, wiser bull says, “Let’s walk and mount them all.” Despite “Fifty Shades of Gray”, gray women (and blonds, no offense Kristen) are not held in such reverence and it is a pity. Neither Anne nor I stopped thinking, caring or even learning when we turned 65. That is why I write under a nom de plume and young image. Not being a male, I would be thought of as a horny old broad writing porn, not a published author of literotic romance. Pity, that….my teeth have not even fallen out and I surely do not think I am ready for the ice…

  64. #82 by Muffy Wilson on February 6, 2015 - 3:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Muffy Wilson and commented:
    I could not agree more than I do with Anne Lorenetezon (forgive me if I screwed that up…my eyes, you know, are not what they used to be). I lost my job in 2012 and have NOT been able to find another. My last job was at a third of what I was making. I turned 65 last September and apparently, I was the only one grateful I had. As the men say, and is glorified, “I am not what I once was, but I am once what I was.” Or the favorite: Young Bull upon seeing a herd of young bullettes in the valley, “Let’s run down and mount one of them.” Whereupon the older, wiser bull says, “Let’s walk and mount them all.” Despite “Fifty Shades of Gray”, gray women (and blonds, no offense Kristen) are not held in such reverence and it is a pity. Neither Anne nor I stopped thinking, caring or even learning when we turned 65. That is why I write under a nom de plume and young image. Not being a male, I would be thought of as a horny old broad writing porn, not a published author of literotic romance. Pity, that….my teeth have not even fallen out and I surely do not think I am ready for the ice…

  65. #83 by Lorraine Roe on February 6, 2015 - 4:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Lorraine Roe's Blog and commented:
    Brilliant! How our media twists who we all really are.

  66. #84 by Lynn Reynolds on February 7, 2015 - 9:40 am

    All excellent points. I’m so tired of the media (and society in general) stereotyping both women and men, trying to confine all of us to tiny little demographic boxes. Loved the story about the teacher saying your son – the kid pretending to be a robot zombie – lacked imagination. Sad but not surprising.

  67. #85 by dkent on February 7, 2015 - 12:30 pm

    In Nineteenth Century American novels, the madonna and the sweet young thing was always a blond. The brunette was most likely not so nice or more likely to have something bad happen to her. It was an Anglo-Saxon cultural statement. Intelligence wasn’t factored in although social class was.

    As America became more ethnic, the roles switched, and by the 1930s in books and movies, the blond became the bombshell (sexy, not necessarily slutty) like Carol Lombard or the stupid innocent like Judy Holliday. From that point, things went downhill as women became more sexualized and stereotyped in media.

    These days, women, whatever their hair color, are fair game in a world where only women aren’t protected by PC cultural standards.

  68. #86 by njmagas on February 8, 2015 - 2:21 am

    Yes! I couldn’t agree more with this. I don’t think people realize how much the things we take in via the media impresses upon how we view ourselves and the world around us. Most of us like to think we’re immune to that sort of thought control, but the reality is, we’re not. It takes effort to think outside of the mold that we grow up in. It takes stepping outside of a bubble we think of as comfortable. For a lot of people, the media made stereotypes are easier to accept as reality than actually looking at reality for what it really is, and it’s damaging on a lot of levels to a lot of different people.

  69. #87 by Aquileana on February 8, 2015 - 10:22 am

    “Sure, we can take a joke. But it seems that we are BECOMING the joke, and that’s uncool”
    I think that is an eloquent sentence indeed… And what we watch on TV is a reflection of who we are… Stereotypes are an exaggeration of a type, mostly shaped statically!. Sometimes they are fallacies, but not always!. Regards, Aquileana😀

  70. #88 by Dennis Royer on February 8, 2015 - 1:10 pm

    Kristen, after reading “Rise of the Machines,” thank you for writing this perfect example of a high concept blog post. Wow, look at all the comments. The topic has broad appeal, incites our emotions, and gives us all something to take away. Well done!

    • #89 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 8, 2015 - 10:32 pm

      😀 I strive to practice what I preach. Checkout the post before this one, LOL. Great to meet you and thrilled you enjoyed the book!

  71. #90 by jaimeesauthorsite on February 8, 2015 - 5:49 pm

    Thanks for calling us out on what may have become our own blind spots. So empowering to realize we have an opportunity to shape destiny with our words as writers.

  72. #91 by thewondermya on February 9, 2015 - 3:25 am

  73. #92 by Laura on February 9, 2015 - 11:37 pm

    “I’d come up with a new idea or strategy and no one would make a sound. Then the man sitting next to me would repeat what I’d just said and suddenly it was GENIUS!”

    Oh!! That is so frustrating. I had this happen several times at a “barn raising” kind of meeting last fall. It was mostly men. They had a white board up, would put up measurements and calculations, and I would give them the answer they needed. There would be silence. Then one of them would stand there with a dry erase marker and do calculations, and eventually get the number I gave them. Never underestimate a quilter. Lol.

  74. #93 by DJCheryLM on March 27, 2015 - 6:12 am

    OH! How I wish I had found your blog sooner!!! I’ve been looking for ideas that show how feminism has changed the portrayal of women in American sitcoms. Teaching in France, I need to find a “problematic”/”a big question” to which students can argument the pro/cons – good/bad….
    But I’m stuck, for I cannot/haven’t yet found any articles to support the question I had chosen: “To what extent has the role of feminism in American sitcoms influence the lives of American women and vice versa?”
    Sooooo….
    I’m looking for a different “problematic” (thesus-type question).
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance! or… Merci beaucoup!

  1. A Country in Crisis—How Pop Culture is Devaluing Men AND Women | Veronica Blake, Writer
  2. OW or OG (Older Workers or Old Geezers): The country still needs us | New tricks for old dogs
  3. A Country in Crisis—How Pop Culture is Devaluing Men AND Women | Muffy Wilson

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