But the advertising.
Every other ad was about how horrible women are, and how they ruin everything for men, all the time. The Dodge, Flo TV, and Dove ads come to mind--you can only strike out at those evil women if you buy our product and stick it to them! YEAH. How dare women make you go to work and eat fruit and use soap? Those bitches.The rage, the anger toward women was breathtaking. The cold fury of the men in the Dodge commercial might be comic if it weren't kind of serious. Let's not even get into the Bridgestone ad where the guy ditched his hot wife for a set of $300 tires. The most positive gender relations one was Google, and they showed no actual humans, and the voices in the background made it clear it was a manful man doing the proactive searching. And of course it ended with a baby.
It's like watching a broadcast from an alien world. I do not understand this place.
If you watch these ads, and mainstream sitcoms, you see this place. This place where men and women can barely stand each other long enough to have mutually unfulfilling sex and procreate. Where women are the sole source of everything irritating and wrong in a man's life, plus she's never hot enough, plus you have to, like, interact with her sometimes. No amount of lower pay or discrimination or suffering is enough to punish her for the simple act of being a woman. And men are simple and stupid and violent, but obviously should be given the keys to the world because women just suck so much. And of course men have no interests that a woman could ever share. Men hang out with their bros, women hang out with their girlfriends, and every once in awhile a treaty is negotiated to allow intercourse.
This is hell.
And it's enforced by practically all of mainstream culture--most stand-up and situational jokes are predicated on our all understanding this implicitly, and believing it's the natural order. That is will always be the natural order, I'm looking at you, science fiction.
Why would anyone volunteer to live in this world? And yet.
And yet homosexuality is still a terrifying topic for the people who live most ensconced in this culture, most committed to never having genuine intimacy with your wife because she's an icky girl with icky girl problems and products and interests. Not like you and your man friends. You guys are awesome. But not gay.
It seems to me the fight against gay rights, among all the other things it is about, is also about the fact that this culture presents no compelling reason to be straight.. I mean, if men and women hate each other, naturally and unavoidably, why not turn to your homosocial groups for sexual partners? Reproduction doesn't even seem to be enough--only women want babies anyway, and have to set traps for men to get them. There are many reasons for homophobia, but I just can't see how the men (and women, who don't want anything to do with their men) in these ads can hate women so much and still be counted as part of heterosexual society. And yet CBS wouldn't air an ad from a gay-dating service. Hate women, guys, but don't look at each other. Ever.
Most of the people I know are not like this--though the division of interests is strong even in geek culture, where boys often exclude girls from their games and are shocked when they want to play, where video games and comics are marketed to this very segment of male culture, playing even more blatantly to a sense of powerlessness there, and girls are presented as the threatening Other. Certainly my husband and I share most of our interests, and since we spend a lot of time together, we enjoy each other's company and are not in a state of constant war. Of course, I'm not straight and he grew up in a different country, so who knows where we get this alien idea that you might like the person you marry. That you might choose them and love them and make a life together where, yes, you clean up and eat fruit and go to work and it's not your partner's fault that you do those things.
I'm disgusted by all of it. I just wanted to watch a football game. You know, like the big girl I am.