Both men and women should be troubled by representations like this. It is insulting to men, of course. But representations of men as childlike also contributes to the idea that men cannot be held responsible or accountable for bad behavior. As I have explained elsewhere on this blog:
So long as we buy into the idea that we can’t expect men to be good partners or fathers, we will tolerate women’s responsibility for the second shift and their placement on the mommy track at work.
This extends, too, to not coercing women sexually, not cheating, and being partners and lovers who give as much as they receive.
This portrayal of men as children, idiots, animals (see here and here), and monkeys perpetuates patriarchy, even as this perpetuation is disguised by the denigration of men.
Will — October 9, 2008
I'm glad we don't have these restaurants in my region, because this ad is both creepy and irritating.
What would be the repercussions if an ad showed a grown woman throwing a fit and an adult man calming her down with food? (Then again, I could almost see someone making a jewelry commercial along those lines)
Dangger — October 9, 2008
I am undertaking a research on economic violence on women and conducting several interviews. I have found the same principle but reversed, namely the conception of women as needy or unable to take proper care of themselves, produces and reproduces patriarchy and gender discrimination. Not one of these interviews, literarily, have passed unobserved by a male from the family, some sort of vigilance over the capabilities of women.
Sharon G. — October 9, 2008
Even the food shown in this commercial is troubling. Pita bread is not supposed to be folded like a taco, but rather - should either be wrapped around the food (gyro-style), or have a little pocket in it, so that the food is placed INSIDE the pita, instead of being "served ON" the pita.
To me, as someone who lives in the Middle East, this is a sad example of how "ethnic" food is being re-appropriated and (badly) Americanized, in a manner that is almost offensive in its disrespect to these traditional foods.
Dangger — October 10, 2008
Tacos are not folded like that, trust me, taco bell is not the mexican paradigm for taco folding.
Dave — October 10, 2008
Will - I like your idea for an ad: if portraying men as babies and idiots enforces the patriarchy, would depicting them as jewelry-dispensing patriarchs be subversive?