Papa Murphy’s has a new pizza ad. (“Rebold Your Man”) Every time I see it, it makes my teeth clench. Here it is if you want it.
The basis of this ad is that a man is playing with his daughters, dressed as a fairy. His wife sees this, reacts in disgust, and flees to the kitchen to make a “manly” pizza for him, so that he’ll stop playing with his children and sit on the couch and watch football, like the Proper Man she married.
I hate this ad. It exemplifies ridiculous stereotypes and gender roles. And it’s really a shame, because the Papa Murphy’s near me makes a pretty good pizza, but this ad makes me want to order somewhere else.
Let’s break it down.
Man is playing with his children. Not manly football throwing with sons, but playing fairies with girls, ewww. His wife looks out at her husband who, by playing with children, is being a good dad, and immediately registers disgust. “What happened to the man I married?” she thinks. “No real man plays with children!” So she immediately makes him a pizza, so that he will cease and desist playing with his daughters, and sit down and watch television immediately! Yes, there’s the man I married!
The thing I like least about this ad is the look the woman gives him when she sees him playing. I’m very lucky to be married to a man who’s an incredible father. Yes, he does prefer to take his daughters skateboarding and to the park than to play tea party, but I’ve seen him do all of it. I recently walked upstairs and saw my husband sitting awkwardly in a small chair while our toddler “made soup” in her play kitchen. I stood there for a minute and watched him. Never once did I wonder what happened to the man I married, or wish that he’d stop being a great dad and go sit on his butt and watch sports. Never once did I feel the need to run to the kitchen and cook my man food to make him “be a man.” He is a man. He’s a wonderful, amazing man who plays with his daughters and teaches them that they’re more important than football, more important than television, more important than his image. He’s teaching them that they’re important, that their interests are important–yes, even fairies and tea parties!-and that they’re worth his time. He’s teaching them to look for a man in the future who values them and their interests, and that they are worthwhile.
This ad played during a tv show my daughter was watching. I said nothing while she watched it. At the end, she said, “I don’t get it. Was the mom mad that the dad was playing with the kids?”
And people say kids don’t think about media.
“What do you think?” I asked her.
“I think I’m glad that’s not my dad!” she replied. “Why can’t he just play with the kids? I wouldn’t want you to stop me when I’m playing with Dad! I think the company that makes the people doesn’t actually have kids.”
I’m terribly sick of sitcoms, advertising, and other media insisting that men shouldn’t play with children, especially their girls. I’m sick of seeing that men need to be sitting on the couch watching football while their wives cook their food. I’m sick of the image that women want men who sit on the couch and need catering to. That men are too useless to make their own pizza if they want it. That being “bold” watching sports and ignoring your family in the name of “being a man.”
Maybe some women want this, but I’ve never met one. I’ve met women who love watching football on the couch with a man, but not hiding in the kitchen making pizza. I’ve never met a woman disgusted by a man playing with his child. I’ve never met a woman who liked the way men are portrayed as inept in the media. And, judging from my social media, I haven’t met anyone who liked this ad, or thought it was remotely realistic. Or, for that matter, made them want pizza.
My man is just fine, thank you. You can keep your “rebolding.”
(Oh, and for the group who will say, “It’s supposed to be funny! Get a sense of humor!” I have a sense of humor, thanks–this just isn’t funny.)