As I was watching a rerun marathon of Sex and the City, a series of commercials came on. At first, it was nothing unusual. Suddenly, a Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing commercial made me stop. A highly attractive man was suggestively slapping pizza dough, and as he bent over toward the pizza oven, the camera zoomed in on his butt. He returned to the spinner to freshly grind the ingredients, losing his shirt in the cyclical process and challenging me to “Get Zesty.” I would like to lie and say he was ugly and that I wasn’t in the least interested in staring at him, but I can’t. What I can say, is how confused I felt. He was masculine but…not. He was attractive, but I felt like he was attractive for the benefit of men, not me.
I was quickly jolted to a Rimmel of London Mascara commercial, with a pretty woman grinding on an electric guitar that was painted like the British flag. She was wearing black leather and stilettos. As a guitar chick myself, I know first-hand the masculinity involved in playing rock guitar “with the guys.” It’s sexy, sure, in an “I can kick your ass on and off the stage” kind of way. In an “I’ve developed really nasty calluses on my left hand and can’t grow out my nails anymore” kind of way. Sexy for men…and women? Oh God…now I was really confused. Was I more attracted to the Kraft guy’s looks, or the representation of what the woman was doing?
Am I the only person who is confused by gender roles anymore? I feel archaic in wanting some concrete understanding of where I stand as a woman, yet I don’t want to be limited. I want to know that a man is a man, and a woman is a woman, but after watching those two back-to-back commercials (one hot guy cooking, and one pretty chick playing with the guys) I just don’t know. By the end of the commercial break, I was confident that the guitar chick could kick the cooking guy’s butt.
Commercials are no longer selling to a gender, they’re selling to all genders. Yet, there’s a part of me, as much as I love to watch a man whip up an omelet, that would rather see him grinding on the guitar. Call me a hypocrite: I was a touring musician. I served in the military. Yet I still enjoy men being men, and women being women. I like the difference. At least, I do tonight.