Picture a hypothetical TV advertisement. Two men enter a sitting room where the woman is dutifully hoovering. One man introduces the other to what turns out to be his wife. The second man is there to buy her. He inquires as to her errrmm....attributes and is assured that she is indeed "a goer". They coyly exchange money and the woman, uncomprehending and submissive is led away. The last scene is outside showing the man directing the woman into the boot of the car.
It would never happen as there would uproar at the denigration of women. And yet there is precisely such an ad running on Irish TV at the moment where the gender roles are reversed.
It might be the most eye-catching example but it's hardly alone. How about the "rubbish Dad" who is too stupid to do his own Christmas shopping? When will he ever learn indeed?!
Another one I've seen recently is an animated commercial (when I think of the product I'll mention it here) showing three silhouetted figures running along an obstacle course. Two are obviously male and one is female. Surprise surprise, the woman maintains a clear lead and wins easily. There are loads of others whose product names I can't think of. I'll post the ads here when I think of them and find the footage. Another one I've seen in the last few days is for a snazzy new window cleaning device. The women gets her window cleaned with it very quickly and smiles patronisingly at the man who stands there looking in confusion at his sponge and bucket of suds.
It's no surprise that a man might occasionally be portrayed as the incompetent loser while a woman should sometimes be represented as smart and efficient. It's that in every advertisement where the genders are juxtaposed in this way, the man is always the stupid loser and the woman is always the clever winner. I can't think of one example where the woman are portrayed as being less capable than the man. What's the point? What's in it for the advertisement industry to contrast genders in this way?