What is a “real man”?

February 8, 2010 | NeW Staff

Last night, millions tuned into watch Super Bowl XLIV.  Folks crowded around televisions with the intention not only to watch a good shootout between the Colts and the Saints but also to view the much-anticipated super bowl ads.  With the hype of the Tebow pro-family commercial, there was much anticipation what the ad schedule would hold.  And there were quite a few worthy of analysis.

I found the “Dove Real Man” ad to be an interesting commentary on societal expectations of men and women.  We’ve all seen the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that shows women for who they are–not as barbie doll figures, but curvier and more natural-looking women.  Last night, Dove unveiled a similar campaign targeted at men.  It seems that men, like women, are sick of the constant advertising that portrays men as perfectly handsome and impressively successful, according to one source.  In order to advertise its line of skin care products for men, Dove has launched a new campaign encouraging men to be comfortable in their own skin and in who they are.  Take a look at the full ad in case you missed it: 

Wow, so much to say about this.  What does this ad say about real men?  How does the ad compare societal perceptions of men and what men really want?  I found it interesting that the ad showed a “real man’s” life as one where he grows up, plays sports, gets married, has kids, brings home the bacon, and serves as the “protector” of the family.  The ad very much supported traditional roles for men in society.  Do you think the ad served more as a reminder to men that they should aspire for the same things their fathers did?  Is this a response to the way our society treats men today?

One British writer from The Independent seems optimistic about what the ad could do for men in America:

“Unilever’s ad could be the start of something, the start of a more interesting and engaging way of telling men that they don’t have to be 16 and desperate for sex, or a buffed model or a sporting titan to want to smell better than a stale samosa. They can just be themselves. That’s OK. 100 million Americans might just be starting to agree.”

Let’s hope this is the case.  Maybe this is the wake-up call we all need to remember that it’s okay just to be who we are.  What do you think?
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