Is BIG What We Really Want?

Like my last post, I found this commercial doing one of my favorite things to do when I am avoiding work, which is catching up on tv shows on Hulu. Most of the time, the ads I see are commercials I have seen a million times or are painfully boring, but this time something was different. I thought that this was actually really clever and just as the Smart Car sticks out for going against our inclination for ‘BIG’ the commercial stood out from all of the other monotonous ones that I normally tune out. I think that this commercial is a perfect example of American consumerism, which has been especially on my mind since it was the focus of my group project. Once again I will pull from Marcuse to show how the idea of ‘big’ in the add is an example of a false need. This is because it has been programmed into our minds to go for the bigger and “better” thing, when really we need much less. The Frankfurt School also drives home this theory by bringing in capitalism, which drives people to keep buying so that it can thrive.

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It’S Not for Women…

A few days ago I was casually on Hulu catching up on episodes of American Horror Story when this advertisement came up. As a woman, I am not so sure how I feel about it. Let me first say that I am very much a feminist, but I can understand jokes and am not going to run around cursing everyone for saying something that can be construed as insensitive. This however seems to cross the line for me. I don’t even really get the joke. Yes, I see that they are trying to saying that low calorie can also be manly and are trying to fight that stereotype, but why say it’s not for women?? I think this commercial can provide an example of the way in which the culture industry defines what we want in the sense that the ad feels like it needs to justify itself through examples of ‘manliness’ so that the low calorie beverage isn’t seen as a feminine product. The commercial then overcompensates for this (mostly on purpose), but it brings to light how much our perception of things is what we have observed from the influence of ads. I also think that this can illuminate a little on ethnomethodology by shows us what our social norms are through breaking them. The ad clearly shows that there is a stereotype surrounding diet drinks, that only women drink them and that is what is socially acceptable, so they are trying to break that norm. Though it may be positive that the commercial is trying to break a norm or stereotype, it does it in a way that just further stereotypes men and women. This presentation of being a man is just as socially derived, as in this is what is acceptable for a man to behave like, and if you don’t, you are not ‘man enough.’

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She’S the Man

Garfinkel is a sociologist known for using breaching experiments in his own work. He uses them because breaching experiments allow a sociologist to examine people’s reactions to norm violations.

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