i've been meaning to link to this post by pablo at kiwipolitico for some days now. it deals with the depiction of men in advertising on certain types of commercial radio stations:
But three things stand out about the depiction of ideal NZ men in these ads.
The third and perhaps most interesting aspect of the depiction is its representation of “manly” values. Men are mates; hard drinking, carousing, happy go lucky, staunch (especially when drinking), fast driving, opportunistic and impulsive horn dogs working hard on the ladies. Nowhere in the depiction are there notions of honour, valour, courage, sacrifice, sincerity, solidarity (except with mates), humility, basic intelligence and knowledge of current global affairs, or interest in the needs of women, children and the family. That is a bit odd simply because the early 20 to 35 male demographic is the one that is reproducing the most (presumably a manly trait), has young families, is starting careers and otherwise has the burdens of post-adolescence crashing down on it. Yet the values being reified appear adolescent.
you'll need to read the whole post to find out what the other two aspects are, and i'd strongly encourage you to do that (if you haven't already). i thought it extremely well-written.
what i'm just a little disappointed about is the number of comments, which is not too many. but this is only because i'd like to have seen more of a discussion, especially from the male readers, about how they feel about this kind of portrayal, and how it affects them (if at all). it's not often that we see this kind of discussion (or maybe i'm looking in the wrong places!), so i was really glad to see it come up.