As a male growing up in today’s society, I have always thought that being big and strong was important. From sports figures to ads and characters in video games, the emphasis of strength and muscle is everywhere.
I grew up playing videos games, and my favorite game was Legend of Zelda. Link was the main character. Brave and strong, he could do anything- which I admired and I wanted to be the same. I thought if I played sports I would also be strong and brave and it would make me more masculine, which I thought I was supposed to be.
However, as I have gotten older the messages that I got from media have started to change. For example this ad by Old Spice: there is a perception of a big and strong man doing something ridiculous or extreme. I used to think this was impressive and funny and that I wanted to look like that. I might have even bought the product with the idea that people who use Old Spice are impressive and attention-grabbers. Now however, I know that this advertisement is made to sell the product. The model does not represent what most men look like in America and what he is doing does not make much sense. The ad does not make clear what the product actually is, whether it is advertising one specific item or a variety of Old Spice products.
In Jean Kilbourne’s essay of Rereading America she says, “Men conquer […], always with the essential aid of a product” (420). Marketing ads tell us that products assist men to be dominant and to conquer, an assumed trait all males are supposed to display. The ideal body for men is muscular and big, but how realistic is that?
This advertisement is created in an almost fantasy-like manner. It is not likely that men could have volcano’s erupting as hair, sand with miniature people basking in the sun as a shirt, and doll-size whales coming out of their shoulders. Since the accessories on the man in the add are not realistic, then why do we think the man is? I can now see that the model and his body are probably not real and definitely do not represent what most men in our society look like.
-Submitted by Matthew McDonald