The commercial raises several interesting questions regarding the male female dichotomy and what is and is not expected of each sex. One such question is why is it required for women to want to lose weight? Another question, is why is it that men are expected to be pigs, always in search of their carnal cravings. The commercial shows a woman speaking on the phone, she is talking about all the wonderful dessert foods she has eaten in the past few days. The man, overhearing this, drops what he is doing and instantly goes on the hunt for these foods in the fridge. Finding nothing he is confused until it is revealed that the wonderful desserts she was describing was in fact the yogurt that was in question. The woman also mentions she has lost weight already. The message attempting to be conveyed, is that a woman who buys the product can, and will lose weight all while eating delicious flavors. But the deeper implications, based on the message, seems to be that women are expected to want to lose weight and not be happy with their bodies, and with the humor of the commercial being the male, so too, is society supposed to take men humorously and not to take them seriously as individuals, but to treat them as carnal creatures always looking for the next fix for a base desire.
Individual Analysis (Dhruv Goel)
This ad offers a positive contrast on gender issues by answering the questions often raised by other ads. Many bike manufacturers offer separate frames for men and women.
1. Are male and female bodies really so different that they need specialized equipment for everything?
2. Are women's athletic events less competitive and boring compared to the male ones?
The Cervelo bike ad addresses the above. It quotes several riders on the Cervelo team, who tell us that sometimes there can be more difference between 2 female bodies than a male and a female one. Bike frames depend on an individual's height, hand size etc. and these characteristics vary from every individual. By creating a separate line for women, manufacturers want to increase their profit margins, but also end up needlessly creating gender differences. Secondly, that women's cycling is less entertaining is a myth. Often times it is more exciting with surprise finishes. But we have been raised to believe that women's sports is second-rate, more like a charitable institution, to ensure that they don't feel left out. Here's the link to Cervelo's women's bike page where they explain why they don't have a separate women's line.
Individual Analysis (Yusuf Ahmad)
1. What do haircuts have to do with fitness? How do fitness salon's representation of haircuts as athletic play on male heterosexuality and how do they reinforce dominant gender roles?
2. Grooming and fitness/athleticism obviously have a lot to do with sexuality, but what kind of sexuality do they promote? How does this celebration of male dominance subjugate or exclude others?
Sports Clips and Pro-Cuts are two emerging sports salons, a new sort of salon catering to an "under-served market in a $40 billion industry" (source) of athletic males homeless in a world of feminine salons.
Sports Clips is a place where a guy can sit comfortably in a chair for twenty minutes, among flatscreens playing ESPN and Fox, sports memorabilia, and, of course, cheerleaders. Business is quick and strict - shake hands, discuss the plan, here is the remote to your television while I service you. No longer amongst gossip and the smell of hairspray, he is free to engage in talk of commerce and politics over a game of football.
While the images conjured by a "fitness haircut" may appear benign, archetypes of male dominance are half of the pleasure found in "getting in the game" - the notion of primitivity that comes with pre-game zone-ins and intense moments during play is in stark contrast to shampoo-massages, hot towels and backrubs. Fitness haircuts are premised on an archetype of women who comfort and care without reservation or word in the name of a greater service, reinforcing traditional patriarchal gender roles in the name of young women stylists trying to build a resume. Reducing women to cheerleaders, they exploit an image of a modern, heterosexual male, who doesn't want to participate in a girly salon experience but would prefer a sport-themed one. Fitness haircuts conceal the "girly" aspects of getting pampered and massaged by overemphasizing athletic masculinity - men only get to own their sexuality through the dominance of women, through female attention, and an image of strength. The image produced is not too far from the beginnings of a porn...
Individual Analysis (Thomas Jang)
1. How does protein/bodybuilding commercials portray sex in their commercials?
2. Why do most protein/bodybuilding commercials use masculine males as their key example?
Most protein and bodybuilding ads and commercials use masculine males with large and toned muscles to promote their product. My example of a protein and bodybuilding commercial is that they use Dexter Jackson, who is a professional bodybuilder. It shows the audience that in order to be like "Dexter Jackson," they must use this supplement. Using this supplement will increase muscle size and shows results of a masculine male. Most advertisement of protein and bodybuilding commercials use masculine males rather than females because of muscle size. In our society, females are tended not have as big of muscles as males. That may be the reason because people that buy protein and bodybuilding products are usually males. We as the people jump to conclusion that males are the ones with big muscles instead of females. These commercials are targeted for males because we as a society view that males need to have big muscles and that females like big muscles. Those are the reasons why we are buying the product. We buy the product to express our gender roles. Typically females are not shown for protein and bodybuilding ads because it is more of a masculine product than a female product.
Big Picture Analysis
The above examples clearly show how societal expectations paint an image for different gender roles to fit into. The Fitness industry shows us exactly how we should look to be accepted by society. The man is supposed to be tall, strong and muscular, and the woman is required to be lean and svelte. Women should eat yoplait to get slim, men should consume protein to build muscle. The opposites of that are held in contempt by the society: a measly, weakling man and an ugly, beefy, ripped woman. Similarly, grooming is a woman's job: for a man to get involved, it must be counteracted with sports and domination environment. The fitness industry has been divided along the lines of gender, possibly to increase revenue by catering to specialized groups. And this has created idealized male and female images. But what if someone is unable to or unwilling to fit into those images. What if a female wants to build up muscle, or a male wants to look slim and lean? How about transgendered and intersex people? The society simply chooses to marginalize such people.
Similarly, to sell more products, they create desires by exploiting our insecurities. A lot of female equipment is not very different from male fitness equipment, but the industry reinforces the gender divide in subtle ways. They offer the same shoes in pink and sell them for women. This constructs an association between the color pink and femininity, which is otherwise baseless. Men must avoid that color to be not perceived as feminine (read gay). The gender roles are getting more and more specialized by the day, essentially like a prison closing in on us. This is a claustrophobic environment, where our choices and even our desires are created for us by someone else. We must understand these issues to avoid being manipulated.