The phrase “Men will be men” is frequently used in Indian advertising campaigns, especially when referring to products targeted at males. The expression implies that males, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, have some innate traits or tendencies that are expected or accepted by society.
The campaign illustrates these tendencies and highlights how they can occasionally result in awkward or embarrassing circumstances using hilarious scenarios. Most of the time, males of all ages are shown in the advertisements as flirting, drinking, and acting naughtily.
Despite the campaign’s popularity and success in India, it has drawn criticism for encouraging toxic masculinity and maintaining gender stereotypes.
Yet, the expression “Men will be men” has also come under fire for supporting toxic masculinity and reinforcing unfavorable stereotypes. The notion that males are predisposed to particular attitudes or behaviors can be detrimental because it can be used to excuse or justify undesirable or problematic behavior.
Advertising initiatives, according to others, should aim to steer clear of promoting gender stereotypes and instead promote inclusive and uplifting content.
Featured ‘men will be men’ ad commercials
Several adverts have used the “men will be men” slogan over the years. These are a few advertisements that have employed this strategy:
The Royal Stag commercial, “Men Will Be Men,” depicts a bunch of men partaking in stereotypically masculine activities, including drinking heavily, listening to loud music, and racing fast cars. The phrase “men will be men” is sometimes used to justify such behavior.
Imperial Blue’s “Men Will Be Men” commercial depicts a group of male guests at a wedding getting into all sorts of mischief, including stripping down to their underwear and jumping into a pool. The adage “men will be men” implies that this sort of behavior is commendable for males.
In the Wild Stone deodorant commercial, “Men Will Be Men,” a man wears the product and immediately becomes more attractive to women. The slogan “men will be men” implies that men who want to be successful should chase women and not be afraid to put themselves out there.
Ads like these may be funny or catchy, but they also contribute to negative assumptions about men and masculinity and a culture in which such behavior is accepted, if not glorified.
The sexist and gender-stereotyping belief behind the ads
For a number of reasons, the “Men will be Men” advertising campaign has drawn criticism for being stereotypical and misogynistic.
Firstly, by depicting males in a particular way, such as being insensitive or acting irresponsibly, the advertisement supports established gender norms and stereotypes. This can be harmful and limiting because it reinforces not only bad ideas about men but also the idea that certain behaviors are expected or okay based on a person’s gender.
Second, the campaign may be regarded as encouraging toxic masculinity because it shows males acting in ways that are frequently destructive or problematic and then implies that these actions are inevitable or natural. This could send a bad message to both men and women that risky behavior is okay or even expected of them.
The campaign may also be considered sexist because it makes the assumption that only males engage in particular activities and that these habits are innate to men’s gender. This adds to the false idea that men are all the same and have the same traits and interests, which promotes inequality between men and women.
This phrasing is problematic because it perpetuates negative gender stereotypes and implies that males lack self-control.
Why do males not care and believe the “men will be men” ad is cool?
“Men will be men” is a phrase that men often use to defend or explain actions that are seen as stereotypically masculine, like being rough, aggressive, or promiscuous. It’s crucial to remember, though, that not all men adhere to these preconceptions or support such behavior.
The “men will be men” advertisement may appeal to some men since it upholds the ideal of masculinity and the ingrained gender norms in society. Due to the depiction of behavior that is frequently seen as typical of guys, they can also find it amusing or relatable.
It’s crucial to understand, though, that these advertisements risk feeding negative preconceptions and fostering a toxic masculinity in society. In order to promote more inclusive and courteous attitudes toward all genders, it is imperative to challenge and examine these prejudices.
The flip side of stereotyping men in life
The notion that “men will be men” needs to be contested and rejected in favor of a society that values accountability, equality, and respect. Holding people responsible for their behavior, fostering positive role models, and teaching people about the negative effects of sexism and other types of discrimination are all part of this.
Men’s stereotypes can be harmful in a number of ways, both for the people who are stereotyped and for society as a whole.
The following are some possible adverse outcomes of stereotyping men:
Limiting opportunities: Opportunities are restricted when men are stereotyped, which can affect their access to school, work, and social prospects. For instance, males may not be considered for positions requiring empathy or emotional intelligence if they are regarded as being aggressive and unemotional.
Promoting toxic masculinity: Stereotyping men can encourage toxic masculinity, which is detrimental to both men and women. Aggression, dominance, and emotional repression are characteristics of toxic masculinity, which can result in violence, depression, and other undesirable results.
Ignoring diversity: Male population, variation in experiences and identities can also be overlooked as a result of stereotyping men. Stereotyping males can hide these distinctions and maintain negative preconceptions because men come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse experiences in terms of ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and other aspects.
Undermining relationships: Relationships can be harmed by stereotyping males, which can happen in both male-to-male and male-to-male relationships. Men may find it challenging to connect deeply with people due to stereotypes that males are cold or aggressive, and these stereotypes may also help to maintain unhealthy power dynamics in relationships.
Therefore, it’s critical to acknowledge the variety of experiences and identities that make up the male community and to refrain from harming men by making negative stereotypes about them.
‘Men will be men’ campaign compromises men’s health
The health of men can be significantly impacted by stereotypes. Men’s health can be impacted by stereotyping in a number of ways, such as:
Mental health: Males may experience pressure to live up to particular standards, such as being stoic or tough, due to stereotypes about what it means to be a “true guy.” This pressure may make it challenging for men to get the mental health care they need, which may increase their risk of despair, anxiety, and suicide.
Physical well-being: Masculinity stereotypes can have an effect on men’s physical well-being. For instance, the idea that men should be tough and unbreakable can prevent men from going to the doctor even when they are showing signs of disease or injury.
Drug abuse: Males may use substance abuse as a coping mechanism for the strain to uphold traditional notions of masculinity. For instance, some guys may use drugs or alcohol to dull emotional anguish or project toughness in social settings.
Risk-taking behavior: As a way of proving their toughness or bravery, men may participate in risky activities, such as playing dangerous sports or speeding, as a result of stereotypes around masculinity.
Overall, stereotypes can negatively affect men’s physical and emotional health. It’s critical to dispel unfavorable stereotypes and advance a more varied and inclusive vision of what it means to be a guy. This can support men in maintaining their physical and emotional health by lowering the pressure on them to fit into damaging stereotypes.
Significance of Changing the Narrative
It’s critical to change the narrative surrounding this statement for various reasons:
Men will be men supports the detrimental stereotype that some undesirable actions are just a natural part of being a man and that they are inherently violent, aggressive, or prone to other undesirable tendencies. As a result, damaging stereotypes about males and masculinity are perpetuated, which can have detrimental effects on both men and women.
The adage “men will be men” can be used to justify or downplay negative male conduct, such as sexual harassment or violence. It may be more challenging for victims to come forward and for society to hold offenders accountable if this conveys the idea that such behavior is acceptable or even expected.
It hampers attempts to advance gender equality: The adage “men will be men” can make it more challenging to advance gender equality and combat gender-based violence and discrimination by perpetuating unfavorable perceptions about males and masculinity.
Additionally, it can dissuade a man from supporting initiatives to advance gender equality by conveying the notion that such initiatives are pointless or even dangerous.
Since it encourages a limited and constricting view of what it means to be a male, the notion that “men will be men” can be destructive to a man as well as women. This can result in pressure to fit in with negative perceptions and make it harder for males to get the mental health care they need or build healthy relationships.
Therefore, it’s critical to challenge damaging preconceptions, advance gender equality, and build a more inclusive and just society for all by shifting the narrative surrounding the proverb “men will be men.”