The Hefty Brands YouTube channel recently published a commercial named “The Ultimate Garbage Men- Hefty Ultimate Commercial.” However, the only “ultimate” thing about it is the amount of misandry poorly disguised as humor.
While misandry, or the hatred of men, may seem a little extreme in its use, the commercial is still very degrading and openly objectifies men on a sexual and physical level.
The video features a troop of four men– three muscular and one fairly overweight. While all body types are represented, the heavier set of the men is still “comically” outcast from the group at the end. Each of the muscular cast members says “hefty” to complete the brand’s catch phrase, “hefty, hefty, hefty,” leaving the heavier group-mate to enter the frame at the end and isolating him as the “hefty” example.
Man-on-man hate: humor or passive aggression?
Earlier in the video, one of the brunettes talks about the “gripping drawstring” saying it’s “So tight.” The video cuts to him snapping the drawstring around an open garbage can, causing the woman next to him to jump and shudder with apparent pleasure.
Not only does this image over-sexualize men, but it degrades women as well, reducing how their perceived to quivering housewives in need of a burly, caveman to keep their minds right.
In regards to the males in the video, Hefty has completely eliminated any sort of mental acuity from the depiction of their characters. Though the intent was comedic, it still reduces the men to sexually-motivated beasts with a sole intent to prove an antiquated stereotype of masculinity.
Men should be viewed as dynamic beings, and not just objects.
In another commercial by Liquid Plumber, a woman picks up the product and after biting her lip, immediately dissolves into a fantasy featuring a well-built, semi-shirtless plumber offering her a “quickie” to “unclog her pipes.”
Cheesy, sexual music plays in the background of the extremely suggestive revere as a slow-talking narrator uses the word “penetrate” to describe the dissolution of clogs, saying “it will leave you satisfied in only seven minutes.”
The commercial ends with a montage of blatant, sexual references featuring metal pipes held and manipulated near a man’s crotch and a hand drill being forced in and out of a plank of wood. Again, the woman is shown as a stuttering, flustered mess.
Not only does this commercial treat the woman as a mindless, horny housewife, it also undermines any form of masculinity that doesn’t involve ripped muscles and trade work.
Men are valuable regardless of their physicality. The sole importance of manhood does not revolve around your testosterone levels. Intelligence, compassion, resourcefulness, humor, ethic and ambition are just a few of the qualities that identify a human, man or woman, as a valuable friend or partner.
I understand that the commercials were supposed to be humorous. However, they are blatantly sexual and suggestive and were played during the day when children and young adults would have seen them.
The price of humor should be paid, but not at the risk of harming young ones or stereotyping men and women any further than they already have been.
For example, Kmart published a Christmas commercial in November called “Show Your Joe,” featuring a group of men in tuxedo jackets and holiday-themed boxer shorts playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on a set of hand bells.
The table with the bells rolls away and the smiling men begin swinging their hips back and forth, imitating the hand bells with their own pelvises. The crowd applauds at the end and they all bow, closing with a quick Kmart plug for the sale.
The men are almost fully-clothed, reducing the overt sexuality substantially. The only skin showing is the men’s legs, from the lower thigh to the upper shin, as the underwear is showcased for sake of the commercial. The boxers are loose, making sure no suggestive lumps or bumps bulge out during the course of the song.
This commercial is a great example of masculine humor done right, and it’s certainly one of the least-promiscuous undergarment commercials I’ve seen.
Masculinity shouldn’t be solely defined by the size of the muscles or the ability to “penetrate” and “satisfy” in seven minutes. Consider this before sharing these “humorous” commercials with others.