Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

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Fun with Stereotypes!

I've been meaning to address my tendency to make fun of, and undermine, stereotypes for a while now. Evidently there are two schools of thought on the subject (aren't there always?) And, as you know, the one I endorse is the correct one.

Side #1: To undermine a stereotype is to grab it by the horns and make it your bitch. In other words, stereotypes can work in your favor!

Side #2: Stereotypes can make you their little bitch if you let them. By constantly feeding the stereotype machine with jokes, it grows and becomes a big, scary monster. Sometimes it hides under your bed.

I tend to side with #1. Side #2 is a conspiracy theory, similar to the Christian "Hell."

Anyway, I was initially going to approach the subject by addressing guys who wear pink shirts. Ever since GQ came out with a South American style photo spread in 2003 (I think), which featured guys wearing pastels, pink shirts have taken over. What is worse than the shirt itself is the associated tagline, "I'm comfortable enough with my masculinity to wear a pink shirt." Translated, this means, "Yes, I know the stereotype states that pink is for girls, but I am so manly that I can wear it without fear of being judged by that archaic rule of thumb." As much as I hate pink shirts on guys, I have to respect the thought process backing the heinous fashion trend.

On a similar note, advertisers have been blurring culture lines in order to endorse their products.
Gawker led me to this wonderful ad today for a long distance phone plan that features mixed racial features with taglines such as:


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"Lowest rates between Japan and Scotland"

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"Lowest rates between Turkey and Sweden"


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"Lowest rates between Senegal and Germany"


I'm pretty sure there are a lot of offended people out there. The slightest mention of race, culture, religion, stereotypes...it tends to piss people off. In this case, maybe advertisers are seen as not "respecting" racial differences; that they are exploiting them for money. I tend to think that people just like to be pissed off (which is great for people like me who love to watch them get all hot and bothered). I see nothing wrong with the ad. I actually think it's pretty clever. So clever, in fact, that I've personalized one for the new "Not Chosen, Just Posin'" calling plan:

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"Lowest rates between Italy and Israel"

My plan was never to get into a deep discussion about undermining stereotypes though; I just wanted to present the topic, let you know that, yes, I am aware of the fact that this is what I'm doing, offer my opinion on the subject and then slap it around a bit.

When it comes to pink shirts, however, you will never catch me wearing one. Pink shirts are totally for chicks.

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