As if naming their sloppy Joe sandwich a “Manwich” wasn’t macho enough, a company is now explaining why commercials advertising their product show dudes talking about “feminine” or “gay” topics like hair and musical theater and then getting smacked in the face while a male voice growls, “It’s called a Manwich!”
This guy uses hair products? Given to him by a guy named Alejandro? Smack him!
Uh oh, it’s the Be A Real Man police …According to The Advocate, a spokesman for ConAgra, which owns the Manwich, said the commercials were mockup ads that were never intended to see the light of day. (ConAgra passed the blame to “the ad agency that helps market their products in Canada,” although that agency went unnamed.) Nevertheless, the fact that these mockup commercials were seen as something the Manwich might actually use to advertise their, uh, manly sandwich is problematic. It’s a bad sign when joking about violence towards anyone who colors outside the lines of their socially constructed gender roles is seen as “funny.”
Here are the other Manwich commercials that mock dudes who aren’t manly enough:
In case you didn’t get the memo: musical theater = gay.
Gayer than musical theater and hair products? Shoes!
Are these commercials homophobic? I would argue they are, while others would say they’re just stupid. I understand that “stereotypes can be used for humorous effect, even by gays” — as one commenter on Advocate.com points out. But to me what’s inappropriate here is not just that a dude who loves his hair product is getting teased but the inclusion of violence. Did the ad agency think violence is how you get males’ attention, the comment it’s making about Being A Real Man be damned? That would be troubling.