I’ve Had Enough of ‘Stupid Men’ Commercials

I like a good, funny commercial on television every now and then. Sometimes, even with the 30-second skip button on our DVR, something will catch my eye and I’ll rewind to watch.

Most often that happens when one of my daughters spots a commercial with an animal – almost any animal. Especially talking animals.

 Or babies.

“That’s sooooooo cute, Daddy! Can we watch that again?”

I’m a sucker for the funny and cute ones.

But I’m sick and tired of the commercials that fuel the stereotypes of men (often dads) as dolts, dunderheads, dum-dums, dunces … you fill in the blank.

Please, advertisers: Let’s stop with the “idiot man” theme.

Remember the commercial controversy a major diaper brand had on its hands early last year? It faced an angry backlash after parents objected to new ads showing the stereotype of the dad more interested in watching sports than changing a poopy diaper.

To its credit, the company’s campaign ads did change to affirm fathers who actually care about caring for their babies.

It’s hard to blame the company for their commercial. After all, the stupid man or stupid dad commercial has been going on for a long time. But for some reason, it seems to be in overdrive in recent years.

Are you as tired of this as I am?

I saw another example last weekend while watching college football. It was a car commercial. A couple comes into a dealership, and it’s clear that they have competing priorities for their next new vehicle: The husband wants something exciting, and the wife wants something dependable.

They’re surprised to learn that several of the cars in the line actually provide both sporty adventure and reliability. Well, the wife is briefly and pleasantly surprised. The husband is shocked into a catatonic-like stupor.

He can’t seem to handle the simple thought that a car could be both exciting and dependable.

The car dealer employee seems concerned about him, but the wife waves off the concern by explaining that he gets like this all the time. “I call this ‘me time’,” she explains. “I love it.””

Give. Me. A. Break.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a company actually portrayed husbands and fathers as more than childish simpletons?

I get the humor in ads like this, but I am also getting weary of them. Going by Internet search results for “stupid dad commercials,” I’m guessing there are an awful lot of us who are tired of the stereotypes.

But this last weekend I saw another ad that gave me hope. It’s not a perfect commercial, but it at least portrayed an ambitious and enterprising young man as both intellectually curious and technologically savvy. A guy waiting for a job interview and nervous about how to connect with the interviewer notices a painting of a castle and uses his smartphone to quickly learn more about the castle as a conversation starter.


Do you agree that the stupid man/husband/father stereotype is way overused in commercials (not to mention TV shows)? What are some examples of commercials that you find offensive (at worst) or highly annoying (at best)?

Do you have any positive examples to share?

Maybe we should be encouraging companies that show respect to men. After all, dads really do matter.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I've seen these ads (whenever I watch TV which  is exceedingly rare), the sitcoms, etc.  The problem at this point is what's to be done about it? Talking about it here, as we are, is the first step.  But there are many powerful, well-funded Christian ministries out there.  They need to step up and tackle this issue.  And so do the churches--but especially the fathers.  Are they? Not that I can tell.  Some fathers know what to do, but I know of many who don't.

I understand many ministries have "constituencies" they don't want to offend (lest the money not come in and budgets not be met), but there comes a time when faith has to overrule money and fear man.  

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

theres a commercial that shows a mom and dad that just had twins and it shows as the newborns become toddlers and when they are putting the carseats in the car the dad puts it in backwards...everytime i see it it makes me smile cause my husband did that with our first son together. the commercial didnt really do much after that.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I am so glad that someone else is noticing this!  

While I am not a conspiracy theorist I do fight off the thought that the increase in incorrect media portrayals of men has been by design.  And while art should imitate life I am afraid the opposite is taking place.

Just yesterday, though, I wondered if there was an adventurous advertising agency that might take on the creation of a campaign that might change this incorrect portrayal of men and re-build the image of men, properly...Biblically.  And if not, "why not"?

It would be interesting to see if said campaign could actually affect reality.  After-all if life imitates art then perhaps a two year, subtle campaign might begin to steer public opinion in a better way...?

I would think that this campaign's affectiveness would show up in the form of a product's increased sales and the sponsoring company would reap the benefits...

Any adventurous advertising agencies/compnies out there?


Anonymous More than 1 year ago

It started, I think, with the stupid dad sitcoms and it continues.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

this is unclean. True christian husbands shoud be respected and feared by their chidren and wives.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago


Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I can't stand commercials that put these ideas in children and young adults heads that it is just normal for parents to not agree on things!! The wives are usually sis honoring their husbands and not submitting as unto The Lord! And most often are depicted as the ones wearing the pants in the relationship! :-( but i am pleased with the focus on the family ad that reminds families to cherish their time together and look at their priorities through a different lens!! Way to go!! :-)

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Where did Mr. Cleaver go? (Wally & the Beaver's dad)  Sit coms have dumbed Dads down for years! I love the Dick van Dyke show, but even he misses a lot of what happens at home.  We have been laughing at clueless dads for a long time.  I think it's getting very old indeed! I am certain that the world would be in quite an uproar if we were to see women portrayed in that way over and over. I cant even imagine a show where the dad is respected as a husband, father, - person! What would that look like.....?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Amen brother!

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I think Tim Allen's new show Last Man Standing is a step in the right direction. It's nice to see a conservative, male role model who isn't perfect, but can give cogent defenses for his convictions.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

So tired of commercials and TV shows in general, especially those geared to young people, showing parents as idiots not deserving respect.  I agree that it is more often fathers that take the brunt of it.  Can't a show/commercial be funny without making someone look dumb?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

True, some commercials treat moms as idiots, too.  Parents in general get the "stupid treatment" too often.  But it still seems that man is stupid more often than woman.


Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Some commercials definitely portray the mothers as idiots, too.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Agreed.  Whatever happened to the Cosby family?  That was a show that had a father who could be viewed as a role model.  Someone who had the capability to be both humorous while at the same time a leader in their house and community.  That character has since been replaced not only in commercials but in sitcoms as well by the Al Bundys and Homer Simpsons of the world.  I used to roll my eyes when MY father commented on the trash that television had become.  Now, only a few short years later and a father myself, I couldn't agree with him more.  


Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I've noticed the same trend and it's very disturbing.  It's insulting to see the frequency this ridiculous stereotype is being used to sell everything under the sun.  You know, a few funny commercials sprinkled in here an there is one thing but the it's the frequency of late that has me noticing this and has me concerned.  It's an unfair and very inaccurate depiction of today's men.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

We need to stay as close to Jesus teachings and we will be ok.

Brian Morenz.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I believe Fathers matter and we have alot of broken families because Americas population has strayed from The Bible.