We talk about a lot on this blog about how things that having nothing to do with genitals are, nonetheless, gendered. Some sociologists are noting that a cluster of ideas related to intellectualism–liking school, studying hard, being smart, reading, and even caring about ideas–have become feminized. As a result, boys and men express less interest in and invest less in school, and girls and women are kicking their asses, scholastically speaking.
We previously featured an advertising campaign for Wrangler that told men to “stop thinking.” And this week Monika P. and Kat B. sent in an ad campaign for Deisel with the slogan: “be stupid.”
There’s a whole commerical (embedded below), but the general thrust is that smart people are doin’ smart stuff, but Diesel is “with stupid”:
Because “stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life.” And while smart people may have “the brains,” stupid people have “the balls”:
Besides, they say, “if we didn’t have stupid thoughts, we’d have no interesting thoughts at all.”
Which doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, but whatever.
And in case that doesn’t convince you, they concede that “smart has the authority,” but stupid has “one hell of a hangover”:
Sign me up.
Ultimately the message is that smart people are repressed and confined, they have no fun, and nothing exciting ever happens to them. So being smart is framed as (but isn’t) the opposite of all these things. They leave you with this thought:
No, no I suppose you can’t.
Here is the “philosophy” that I borrowed from above; below are some of the print ads:
To be fair, some of their print ads included women (like the one above), so maybe this isn’t an example of the gendering of intellectualism… maybe it’s an example of the promotion of widespread gender-neutral anti-intellectualism. In that case: Yay?
But a lot of the ads that do include women include them in bikinis or sexually-suggestive situations (see below; plus there’s the whole “balls” comment), so I think I’m going to go on record and say that this is still aimed primarily at men.
UPDATE! That said, Reader Kyle Munkittrick offers a compelling rebuttal at his blog, Pop Transhumanism.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.