Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not For Women. That's Dr Pepper's New Diet Drink.

Advertising unisex products for men-only is not a new trick. The British did that with chocolate bars and it worked. But it's not enough to state that a particular product drips with testosterone. What these campaigns mostly share is an explicit statement that women are not allowed to consume the advertised product. The newest example is Dr Pepper's Manly-Man Drink:
Dr Pepper is going out of its way to appeal to men — and potentially offending both sexes in the process. After market research revealed that men eschew diet sodas because they aren't "manly," the soda company decided to launch a 10-calorie soft drink called Dr Pepper Ten that aims to be more masculine. The can is gunmetal gray, and an extensive campaign for the beverage boldly declares that "it's not for women."
Here ya go:

There's a Facebook page for this manly new diet drink, too:
"A Facebook page for the drink contains an application that allows it to exclude women from viewing content, which includes games and videos aimed at being 'manly,'" the story explains. "For instance, there's a shooting gallery where you shoot things like high heels and lipstick, for example."
It's not made clear why appealing to men includes using deadly weapons to destroy symbols associated with women.
So it goes. The video is meant to be sarcastic, I believe, and it's quite funny in that context. But what is not so very funny is that need to exclude women in order for something to be regarded as masculine. Any taint of the girls' cooties makes big guys run, it seems.

Masculinity is defined as subtractive. It's whatever women don't do. That definition is what requires the No Girls Allowed sign. And sure, it's funny and pretty unimportant when it comes to some silly soft drink and how it is advertised. What's not so funny is the nasty underpinnings that are revealed.

Because those same underpinnings apply to other fields of human endeavor. The subtractive nature of the way we define masculinity means that any advances by women into new fields look like shrinking ground for manly men.

The other real danger that lurks behind silly ads like this one is what they bring up from the bottom mud of that large ocean of humanity. When I checked the Facebook page, one of the first comments I read there was a truly disgusting one:
Robert, see its in the woman's cunty nature to btch and whine for no reason. their reaction to this ad is a perfect example why women should only be used as a "plug-gable hole" and never be allowed any power. Women are weak emotionally, intellectually, physically and tend to over-react to everything.
Other comments scolded the writer of this one. But I'm not so sure that having this Facebook page and what is going on there will be good publicity for Dr Pepper.

Those who quite like the ad campaign find it funny and hilarious and point out that there are all sorts of ads aimed specifically at women.

But I'm not aware of actually unisex products which have been marketed to women with the statement that men are not allowed to buy them. It's that exclusionary aspect, having to do with the subtractive nature of masculinity and the resulting fear from any advancement in women's status that is the real problem. That, and the misogyny.