We all get used to TV advertisements. Some grate on us, others we hardly notice and from time to time there are classics. Who will ever forget the Yellow Pages Gogomobile! or the ATM machine, or ‘Sorry Tom Cruise, but mum’s doing a lamb roast’!
There are some however, who are doing great damage to the fundamental building blocks of a healthy community. In a recent series of car adverts the issue is highlighted. One of them continues the ever increasing theme of the foolishness of the young men by comparison with the wise thinking of the young women. In many ads on our radios and TV’s, blokes or dads are all too often made to look foolish or mindless – sadly, this might end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy where blokes will not give anything a go for fear of being made to look foolish.
I certainly do not subscribe to the view that men are superior to women but the danger of making men look foolish is one that can only lead to a failure of men to take a loving responsibility in family relationships and community life.
The problem with TV adverts is that they are so well done and so humorous and therefore persuasive. Relationship building, community service and a healthy sense of worth depend so much on respect of others. This is especially so in marriage. An unexpected, and I trust, unwanted irony of adverts that make young men look foolish or ineffectual is that they can only lead to a backlash of brashness or a retreat into non-involvement. Anger or frustration that is reflected either outwards or buried, is not the garden bed out in which healthy people can grow and then lovingly serve and build up others.
Respect for others starts with the recognition that both men and women are made in God’s image. We are different, of that there is no doubt. But these differences are to be celebrated and respected, not undermined by degradation as with porn, titillation or violence on the one hand or denigration that devalues one gender against the other.
There is a greater goal and good than selling goods which can give us some measure of pleasure. It must surely be the fostering and nuturing of mutual respect between men and women upon which real and existing personal happiness and community stability depend.