Commercials Depicting Men as Stupid

This Rent-A-Center® commercial depicts the woman as a mature, responsible adult who is wise and sophisticated, while the man seems like an immature child with a learning disability who is “never right.”

Oddly, in an American culture that abhors sexism and espouses (or at least gives lip service to) tolerance, civility, and political correctness, Rent-A-Center evidently thought this blatantly sexist man-bashing ad was a good idea. On what planet?

The idea that men are stupid appeals to some—usually the ignorant. As a group, men are probably no more flawed than women. While the average male IQ is about equal to (or perhaps a smidgen greater than) the average female IQ, the IQ bell curve is wider in men, with more dunces but also more geniuses (see Notes section for references). One source stated that “20% more males than females have IQs above 140,” while another said, “there are 10 times more men with genius IQ’s (above 145) as there are women.

The single male X chromosome contributes to that variation (see Notes). Researchers found another reason: prenatal exposure to higher levels of testosterone makes people more likely to be eminently gifted with extreme creativity. The scientific and technological marvels of the modern world are largely the product of men. Women have not been free until recently to make that a fair comparison of their abilities, but even now that more women than men graduate from college, big ideas are more likely to come from men.

Thus bashing men as mentally inferior is erroneous. Even if it were true, people bereft of intelligence deserve pity or at least understanding, not pathetically childish mocking in a television commercial.

As Arthur H. R. Fairchild said:

“The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture.”

And yet … I can't help but wonder if male geniuses lack something essential. I used to be exasperated by countless products—most invented and engineered by men—with glaringly obvious ways to improve them (now I am very grateful for that because I am paid to think of things they did not, and to invent products that supersede existing ones).

And what do most businessmen do when confronted with a good idea they didn't think of? Reject it, as a pigheaded CEO did in rejecting a chance to evaluate my many inventions pertaining to snowblowers and tractors. Now I'm working on much bigger ideas and likely will never have time to return to anything that trivial—though those inventions would vastly improve snowblowers and tractors.

Google is practically a synonym for genius, yet all of their geniuses can't figure out the obvious mistakes they make with their search engine, advertising, and other services (for an example of the latter, see Why I dumped Google Checkout). I and millions of others could write a book about what's wrong with Microsoft and their products. So smart, yet so frigging idiotic. And on and on, with one company after another producing products and services that could be so much better, all because of a lack of insight, excessive male pride, or who knows what aberration.

By the way, if you're a genius and want work, contact me.

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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