Monday, August 10, 2009

When it is Politically Correct to Laugh

A friend of mine posted some ads from the 40s-80s on facebook a while back, and i can't help but keep going back to them. Look at this one, for instance, advertising a new postage meter. The lovely redhead looks as though she is refusing to use it and the man is fraught with frustration because of her obvious stubborn stupidity. There is another woman at the copier who appears to be laughing at the scene, but it is the text that seems so alarming. 'Is it always illegal to KILL a woman?' the ad asks. My first reaction, truth be told, was a hushed, 'holy sh**'! I mean, how the heck did this thing not end up on the cutting room floor? But then I wondered, was this ad conceived during a time when making fun of the stupidity of women was commonplace and it was a cathartic joke to mention murdering a particularly stubborn female? I see men in shiny suits nudging each other saying, "Right?!" "If only!" and "Golly, isn't that the truth!". But, before I got my panties in wad, I reflected upon the same type of humor now days, only directed at men. I can't tell you how many mass emails I get from girlfriends that wittily unwind the stupidities and shortcomings of males, a few even refer to killing them, or imagining a world without them all together. What I see as one of the most prevelant stereotypes these days, is the ditzy dad. He is always ruining dinner, forgetting to pick up the kids or having inappropriate friends over that usually involves belching while the wife stands in the background rolling her eyes and making quips about husband's stupidity that he is too lame to get as the laugh track fades out. Is this ad gross, or does it just reflect another time saturated with other biases? Are men the new women? After all, "Is it always illegal to KILL a man?"

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