Gratuitous Man Video: Old Spice Guy returns!

by d

It’s a little soon for us to be repeating ourselves, but, damn it, this is call for celebration. The Old Spice Guy is back!

And he’s on a motorcycle.

He’s swan diving! He builds amazing kitchens! And changes pants THREE TIMES.

Not everyone’s as titillated about the ads. We like Mr. Isaiah Mustafa because he’s clearly an excellent actor, with fantastic timing as well as a great sense of humor. Oh, yes, and he’s gorgeous. That never hurts.

Alas, a BlogHer comment:

I feel sorry for you.

crocker92 July 1, 2010 – 12:47pm

[Original poster], you’ve been completely brain washed by those macho pigs! It doesn’t matter if you naively think it’s satire, you’re still responding to the same symbols and archetypes you would be if this ad was satire or serious. Any positive response to this ad is negative for women everywhere, you believing that you’re educated is even worse. You psuedo educated conservative women don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. This is clearly an ad to stroke the male instilled part of the female mind. By you responding positively to this you’re doing nothing more than being a good dog for your new male owner.

Woah, what now? When did it stop being ok to have fun? Yes, the ad is out to push our buttons (primarily with Mr. Mustafa himself!), but not all of the things mentioned in either ad are going to work for all women. I happened to get most excited about the amazing kitchen, but couldn’t care less about the diamonds. “Tickets to that thing you love” made me laugh–last time I saw that stereotype play out, it was Marge trying to get Homer to take her to the ballet. That stereotype is a reflection of the Olde Days when a woman was tied to the home all day, and her husband in the evenings. Going to a show with friends or, gasp, alone, would cast doubt on the marriage. That dependency no longer applies.  I wouldn’t drag a guy to something he wasn’t interested in, I’d ring up some friends who were.

So, what is Crocker92 so upset about? She contends that our appreciating the commercial is playing into the hands of the admen–scratch that, the men, period. I’m more upset about being manipulated by marketers.

What am I responding to here? What emotions run through me when I watch these commercials?

  1. Oh, he’s gorgeous.
  2. That’s funny!
  3. WOAH how’d they do that?!?!
  4. Hah!
  5. How did they do that?!?!?!?!
  6. …That’s so cool.

I really don’t care about the product in question, or about the insane promises made to ‘stroke my male-instilled’ whatthehellever. Like the original poster at BlogHer, I see the satire and humor in the commercials. Old Spice is pushing the silly, hard. Mustafa manages to communicate both arrogance and ‘I am fully aware of how cheesy this is.’ That’s why it’s so succesful, we love playing along with him.

Possible sexism aside, the commercials deserve huge kudos for the amazing production. These are one-shot affairs, with pieces arranged ahead of time, yanked away, and even strings to make Mustafa fuckin’ fly.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, and what we were, how are we supposed to live and enjoy life? I acknowledge the potential danger inherent in all media, but, really, I’d be a sobbing heap if I took every non-feminist moment on television to heart.

Every single woman-oriented piece of media doesn’t have to depict women in a positive role. We don’t have to like, or be super-nice to every other woman just because she’s a woman. And we don’t have to demand our commercials insult our intelligence by assuming we can’t take a joke.

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