Women, as we all know, love yogurt. We looooooove it. Almost as much as we love scented candles.
The only time you'll ever see a man eat yogurt in a commercial is in that ad for the dessert flavored yogurts, when the man is briefly confused by an overheard conversation his wife is having on the phone. Boston cream pie! Key lime pie! He goes digging through the fridge with great excitement, but finds only yogurt. He has a sad.
Meanwhile, women love shopping. Shoe shopping in particular. Never mind that many women are neutral on the topic of shopping, or loathe it entirely. WOMEN LOVE SHOPPING. Why? Because TV said so, that's why.
Men, on the other hand, cannot stand shopping. This is interesting, because in the same breath, the TV will tell you about how much men love shopping… for men things.
To be specific, men hate clothes shopping. And regardless of their feelings on grocery shopping, they're useless at it. However, men like shopping for electronics and sporting goods.
I suppose men are said to hate clothes shopping because men are not supposed to care about their appearance. Shopping for clothing implies paying a great deal of attention to one's appearance - and enjoying the process of doing so.
The only exception to this is with business suits, which men are supposed to care about very much. Advertisers will push suits and business clothing to men all day long without worrying about the "men hate shopping" trope.
What, if anything, can we conclude from this?
People hate shopping for things they're not interested in. I know that's kind of a crazy assertion, but bear with me here. Think of a geek male: he may not be interested in shopping at JC Pennys, but he's going to spend hours agonizing over his choice of t-shirts from Think Geek. The same goes for hipsters and Threadless. Men who work in conservative offices willingly spend a lot of time shopping for suits.
Of course, you can hardly have an advertising message as sensible and nuanced as "People like shopping for the things they like." And so it has been distilled down to that single image of a man standing awkwardly in a clothing store, holding his female companion's purse, and no doubt thinking about sports.
(For a little added bit of weirdness, consider the ad for Flow TV which uses this trope. The message of the ad? The man is being emasculated by his inability to watch televised sporting events. The solution to his gender dilemma is to watch more television.)
Why does television hate us all so much? I don't know but I can tell you one thing: it has to stop.
Photo credit: Flickr/jmg944