This ad, found in Town and Country, features a man battling “a gift list of frightful aspect.”

03-008

Text:

THE FABLE OF THE GENEROUS GENT AND THE LOATHSOME LIST.

Once a generous sir, beset by a gift list of frightful aspect, vanquished the beast with one fell stroke of genuis in a quest triumphant at The Forum Shops.

It draws attention to what many of us feel, few of us say, and very, very few advertisers would emphasize: the gift giving mandate associated with Christmas (and, to a lesser degree, other U.S. holidays) can be an incredible emotional and financial burden, as well as a time suck.   I have no doubt that expressing dissatisfaction regarding gift giving is more acceptable, in general, for men than women (despite the fact that women do the majority of holiday-related chores).  Thus, it’s no accident that this ad is aimed at men.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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