Male bashing on TV must stop

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at

I’m getting tired of TV depicting men as small-minded, beer-drinking, softball-playing, girl-ogling, knuckle-dragging oafs who can’t do anything for themselves.

More and more, ad agencies, the companies that hire them and the networks are depicting men and dads who can’t function in society without help. And while we need help from the women in our lives from time to time, there are plenty of high functioning guys in real life who hold down jobs, who make excellent decisions and who don’t waste their days playing video games and sitting on their couch eating salami sandwiches.

This was on my mind before this gig, but was reminded of it on my first day, when poster Tad Jackson wrote this:

Andy … help us men! This is the way we’re depicted in TV commercials and in TV shows! Is there hope for us slobs!

Husbands are stupid

Boyfriends are stupid

All men dress badly

Men never shave

Men are lazy

Men are very capable of setting themselves on fire

Men are bad with tools

Men are bad about paying the bills

Men burgle homes in the middle of the day while mothers and their daughters are making sandwiches in the kitchen

Only men grill food if they haven’t already set themselves on fire

Married men are henpecked and they know it and there’s nothing they can do about it

Men are fat

Only men snore

Men deeply dislike their wife’s mother

All men want to do is watch sports activities on TV

Only men have problems with their sex organ performance

I agree.

Watch TV, both commercials and shows. I know women hold the buying power in most households and TV caters to them, but this is getting ridiculous.

Men and dads have fallen from wise, hard-working and caring fathers like Andy Griffith, Bill Cosby and Fred MacMurray (“My Three Sons” – if you’re too young to remember) to Al Bundy and Homer Simpson.

I’m not as organized as Lori and I don’t multi-task as well as she does, but there’s plenty I do well. 

And even though I just saved us some dough by switching insurance carriers, I didn’t go out and blow it on a falcon, a stuffed moose head or samurai armor, which is what men do with extra cash, according to this commercial.

Hopefully, this will stop. It probably won’t.

Are you bothered by the way men are depicted on TV?

Do you think it’s a true reflection of society or the men in your lives?

What do your husbands/boyfriends/sons do that make you proud or happy?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

64 comments Add your comment


July 21st, 2011
12:38 pm

What’s so funny about your article is that MEN are the ones who own, or are in the majority, movie studios, (where sitcoms and movies are made); record companies, Ad Agencies etc. More men write and direct movies and TV ads.

Andy: Watch TV, both commercials and shows. I know women hold the buying power in most households and TV caters to them, but this is getting ridiculous.

Yeah they do, but it’s the MEN who hold the ownership power in the studios and ad agencies. In effect you’re complaining about the treatment of men on radio/tv. etc; by men who OWN all the radio/tv. etc genres. Classic!


July 21st, 2011
12:46 pm

I don’t know, I think we may be moving past this. The two dads you used as examples of bad depictions in sitcoms aren’t current — both Al Bundy and Homer Simpson were created way back in the 80s along with superdad Cliff Huxtable. In the current family sitcoms I watch, Raising Hope, The Middle, and Modern Family, men and women seem to be pretty equal in doofusness, all having their good and bad moments. For that matter, I think Married with Children was pretty fair to both sexes too — Peg Bundy wasn’t exactly an ideal mom.


July 21st, 2011
1:16 pm

Gee, Andy, did you get this angry at the way women were portrayed for the last fifty years? Dimwitted, silly, brainless bits of fluff who needed a man in order to decide which tooth to brush and who’s only concern was what they were going to wear and the next shoe sale? All those happy housewives that mopped floors wearing a dress and heels? All those women who couldn’t clean something without a big ‘ol muscular Mr. Clean popping out of a bottle?

And isn’t it odd how two of the three role model fathers that you mentioned were widowers — i.e., no pesky women cluttering up their lives? (And even Andy had Aunt Bea to do the grunt work around the house.)

It’s TV — it’s supposed to be entertainment. If you don’t find it entertaining, don’t watch it and eventually, it will go away. For years, women were told that we didn’t have a sense of humor because we didn’t like the way we were portrayed on TV. Welcome to our world. :-)


July 21st, 2011
1:23 pm

I’m fine with being the point of barbing and critisism. We (men) run the world….sorry ladies but facts are facts. Sensitivity to criticism comes with needing to defend an inequity.

If you aren’t self-effacing, you lack confidence.


July 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

And in answer to the last question: “What do your husbands/boyfriends/sons do that make you proud or happy?” My husband is practically perfect, no complaints there. After almost 30 years of marriage, he still brings me joy and makes me proud every day because he is a man of honor, integrity, intelligence and wit. He was worked hard to carve a successful niche for himself in a complex and shifting business, he is a caring, thoughtful father to his kids and son to his parents, he hasn’t missed a daily workout in almost four decades, he’s not afraid to take risks, and he makes me feel sexy and desirable even though my mirror tells me the truth ;-)


July 21st, 2011
1:33 pm

Wow DB, where can I get one of those??!! ;)


July 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

There is plenty of TV out there that is degrading to women as well. I don’t think men are being unfairly targeted. Commercials are trying to sell to women, so they use what sells. Sitcoms are supposed to be funny, or no one would watch, so they over exaggerate everything. But it’s not just against the men. If it’s a show for kids as the audience, then both parents are equally idiotic. How many “dumb blondes” are out there on TV. I could holler that I’m offended by that (as a blonde with an engineering degree, I assure you I’m not dumb)! I think people are way to sensitive these days and just need to get over it.


July 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

I would agree to the television portrayal of men in a negative light as being unrealistic and one-sided and I’ve thought that for a long time now. However, I also need to get the following off my chest.

When you first took over the column from Teresa I was impressed not only with your writing and topics, but also with your commitment to full-time parenthood and the fact that you seemed to embrace raising independent, well-rounded, self-sufficient children wholeheartedly. (I know you’re aware of the constant flack Teresa got for “helicopter parenting.”

However, in the last week you have called back-to-school shopping next to impossible AND complained about summer reading. Unless this is well-disguised hyperbole and sarcasm (which it did not appear to be), that plays right into the stereotype of the helpless and ignorant man.

Reading is never bad for kids, ever… ever. Even if they’re reading crap, they’re still practicing reading.

And school shopping as an impossibility? For real? Finding a popular solution to the debt crisis, paying down the deficit, getting/keeping us out of unnecessary wars, even ending global warming may be next to impossible, but school shopping.

MAN UP!!!!!!


July 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

Andy, it’s called humour.
I am a man, and I laugh at myself regularly, but then, I laugh at life in general. I think people suffer from too much “rigiditis sphincterosis” and could use a major dose of laughter.
Quit taking yourself so seriously, and yes I have met practically every stereotype listed above about men. Yes, we do all of that stuff and more, and who cares what they put on TV? I think you are still able to turn the contraption off, or just change the channel to The Comedy Channel…maybe brother Ron White will be relaxing some sphincters out there. Sounds like you could use it.

Uh, Andy...

July 21st, 2011
1:53 pm

…a man taking over a Mom blog for a month is almost at the top of the list of WHY men are portrayed as poorly as they are in commercials – we ARE pigs, and we do deserve most of the stereotypes that are cast our way – but, so what – I am comfortable in my “manliness” and can roll with the punches when added to the stereotype –

I KNOW I am not as bad a some of those portrayed, but I do have my shortcomings, though, in all honesty, I am not as stereotypical of the men dipicted in your list of “shortcomings” for all men – get a sense of humor and grow a pair…


July 21st, 2011
2:27 pm

It’s TV – it’s ENTERTAINING….scripted, written, not real life (for most of us). It’s a comedic relief to an otherwise stressful world. Unemployment, costs rising, people losing their homes, a couple of useless wars, etc.

Now if you really want to rile me up, take my professional football away. I hope the owners can come to an agreement. It won’t be fall without football and I don’t know what I’ll do with my Sundays. That’s a more serious situation and worrying about how men are portrayed in a sitcom….


July 21st, 2011
2:28 pm

@Razz — sorry, his brother is also married :-)


July 21st, 2011
3:12 pm

I agree some others here. Between you and Jeff, you seem to be having your own self-pity week.

Van Jones

July 21st, 2011
3:13 pm

But these overweight dolts are always married to hot chicks… what’s up with that?


July 21st, 2011
3:35 pm

Frankly, I’d rather watch Tim Taylor or George Lopez anyday over some irritating libral dad like Steven Keaton on Family Ties.

@ Van that’s so you men will watch the sitcoms with your wives. It’s just good television producing. Why do you think “24″ was such a hit? Because the show attracted men and Jack Bauer attracted their wives. :)

Tad Jackson

July 21st, 2011
4:46 pm

Way to go, Andy! Fight the power! I keep a list of how women are depicted in TV commercials, too!

Woman are obsessed with food
Woman are obsessed with their weight
Woman are obsessed with their lack of satisfying bowel functions
When women eat soup they always have a look of ecstasy on their face
Women will steal each others’ food if the opportunity presents itself
Only women are shown scrubbing nasty commodes. I never see a commercial where some man is scrubbing a nasty commode
Around the house only women collect pet hair wads
No women pitch alcohol or drug addiction cures
Only women vacuum
Women deeply dislike their husband’s mother
Only women fall down and can’t get up. And that woman who falls down all the time should screech what she’s really upset about and that’s not being able to reach her cigarettes
No women are ever seen in pick-up truck commercials
No women snore

Watch TV … and learn!


July 21st, 2011
4:48 pm

Yeah, all TV men are ignorant pigs and all TV women are supermodels!!!


July 21st, 2011
4:51 pm

Tad…don’t forget…

Only women are nosy neighbors
All moms are standing at their kitchen counters chopping fresh veggies when the kids get home from school!!

Tad Jackson

July 21st, 2011
4:53 pm

Okay … but are you sure those veggies are fresh! Those sneaky TV commercial moms …


July 21st, 2011
5:11 pm

Tad, you may have intended this to be part of “bowel functions”, but…Only women pee on themselves.


July 21st, 2011
7:33 pm

Um, what about all of the 20 something “peter pan” syndrome stereotype. I personally find that particular one even more disgusting. Fifty years ago, a 28 year old man would have a family and career to support them. A lot of the 20 something men I meet now think the purpose of their lives is to sleep around as much as possible and do the least amount of work they can get away with until their parents kick them out of the basement.

Also, can we talk about why something becomes a stereotype in the first place? It’s not because someone dreamed it up one night.


July 21st, 2011
11:26 pm

How about all those commercials that show good-looking women with frumpy guys? We need more good-looking guys with frumpy women to balance things out a bit…and more half-naked guys on TV too! Show me some Victor’s Secret! :)


July 22nd, 2011
12:06 am

Yeah, my knuckles don’t drag.


July 22nd, 2011
12:20 am

Hey and try to get a black women or man to look bad on TV. Never will happen ever, never. It is too easy to pick on the White Male American. Enough is enough, I do not watch commercials but I have seen enough to see who they cater them to. The people that watch the most tv are the ones that are not playing the heels in all commercials. Men are out working and not watching TV enough to buy products that have such retarded commercials anyway, And if you are married, you are screwed anyway.


July 22nd, 2011
1:25 am

Most men could NOT care less about this. They are the last group that can be safely attacked with no backlash from the pc crowd and the press. Fair game is well hunted!! Too funny!!!


July 22nd, 2011
1:27 am

Wow Sam! That last paragraph of yours opens a HUGE can of worms! Ponder what you have typed!!! Man!!

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 22nd, 2011
4:27 am

Does anyone think that the popular media’s presentation of full-grown American males as incompetent, lazy, stupid, weak-willed, overly-sexed et al. is contributing to the moral development of our youth and the future viability of our nation?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 22nd, 2011
4:30 am

I inadvertently omitted “dishonest” and “prodigal.” My mistake.


July 22nd, 2011
4:48 am

It was edifying to watch The View and other women’s shows where there was prolonged glee and laughter when mentioning a recent story where a woman cut off her husband’s penis and put it in the garbage disposal.

Would similar laughter be seen if men were on tv laughing about a woman having her breast cut off?

The blatant anti-male sexism that is so pervasive in our culture is sickening and must be terrifying to the parents of boys.

The deep denial many of the female commenters express in earlier comments here only adds more proof to the overwhelming body of evidence that sexism against men is rampant in our society, and that American women seem to feel no shame whatsoever in displaying a deep bigotry and hatred against men and boys.

Sickening and disturbing.

just me

July 22nd, 2011
6:35 am

wow DB—-bitter much


July 22nd, 2011
7:04 am

Sorry I missed this. Thismissue has bugged me for years. And I find it incredibly hypocritical that when a woman stands up against an issue that negatively affects women, she’s “courageous”. But when a men does it, he’s having a “pity party” as one poster said. Thanks for proving our point.

I can tell you this, it has an impact on how much I stamd up for women on issues that affect them. Because the courtesy and respect aren’t returned.


July 22nd, 2011
7:51 am

Men are not the ones who should be offended by the “dumb man” themes. As a marketing strategy they have been around for decades. They are an attempt by marketers to “pick up” woman decision makers, it’s pandering, and it works. They are gambling that men are secure enough and have a good enough sense of humor to accept the caricatures and that woman are gullible and easily swayed. Statistically, tracking the sucess rate of this genre of ads, they are right in both cases, sorry ladies.


July 22nd, 2011
10:22 am

Oh come on! There are lots of realistic dads and men on tv who aren’t portrayed as idiots. Yes, they have flaws, but the women on these shows do as well. Most characters are very realistic in the following, and men are often shown as being quite smart, compassionate and sensitive:

Parenthood -EXCELLENT show!!!!

Criminal Minds -great mix of brainy and caring men and women

Nurse Jackie -men and woman are both dolts and good depending on the character -kind of like life

Breaking Bad -layers and layers of good and bad in extremely complex characters

Law and Order SVU -if Stabler isn’t a portrait of a flawed but deeply caring man who loves his family then who is?

Dexter -sure, he’s a serial killer, but he tries really hard to do the right thing -and he’s smart! Angel on that show is also a respectable, smart and good guy.

There are many more. Maybe you’re just watching the wrong shows…

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 22nd, 2011
1:31 pm

My last post didn’t got through…I’ll write again…

GET OVER IT Andy and Jeff. Having the stones to not let this bother us and to find humor in it is what MAKES US MEN. So sensitive, you guys! Do you go and have a good cry after this? Come on now…toughen up, look in, not out…do whatever you have to do to realize that self deprication is a good trait! if I got bothered by this stuff my kid should be calling me “mom”.

grow a set, for god’s sake.


July 22nd, 2011
1:39 pm

@MJ: I think the reason it was such a topic of conversation was that female violence against men is seldom so violent — often primarily simply because of the disparity in strength. When it does get violent a la “The Burning Bed”, Lorena Bobbitt, or now this case, it’s almost always a case where the woman has had to go to some effort to get the man at a time when he isn’t prone to fight back (i.e. asleep, drunk, etc.) There is some evidence that garden-variety domestic abuse is somewhat evenly divided, but the female-on-male abuse is grossly underreported due to a macho reluctance to be portrayed as being kicked around by a “girl”. Rapes and other domestic violence barely get a mention any more — (heck, just last week, a woman was killed in Sandy Springs for daring to file for a divorce – but did it make the national news? It barely made a blip on the local news . . . ) But chop off a man’s penis, and all hell breaks loose. Women regularly show up at hospitals with blackened eyes, cigarette burns, broken bones, stab wounds and other evidence of violence perpetuated by those who purport to “luuuvvv” them. And you asked about the “would it have been so funny if they had cut off a woman’s breasts?” Well, do you remember when a model was killed in California by some third-rate reality star a couple of years ago? He chopped off her fingers and feet and tore out her teeth in order to thwart identification, and dumped the body in the sea. She was later identified by the serial numbers on her breast implants. THAT got a lot of tasteless air play at the time, along with a few half-embarrassed jokes — but no one was really shocked.

I volunteer with a domestic violence organization here in the Atlanta area — and yes, we do have occasional men calling for assistance. But 99.3% of the people asking for help are women. I’ve only watched “The View” once — and didn’t care for it at all, but I’m not surprised they would be sniggering about it. But when the late night comedians had a field day with it — they’re guys, so it’s alright? Just sayin’ . . .

Violence is violence and is deplorable no matter who initiates it.


July 22nd, 2011
2:39 pm

Why is it that if something happens to a woman , it matters but when the exact same thing happens to a man , it’s “funny”.
How many women have you seen in commercials getting kicked in the groin ? You haven’t but had you ever seen it , I hope you remember how hard you laughed . It’s funny after all … right ?

Here’s what we’ll try then : We’re going to spend the next twenty or thirty years showing women as incompetent and just plain stupid . No breaks for good behavior either . We will not show women as ever being more competent than the men .
You can’t complain about how it was wrong thirty years ago to do it to women (proof , by the way ?) and then revel in delight when it’s done to men .

Further , how many people do you know who can laugh at the same joke for thirty years straight ? There’s a point where it stops being a joke and becomes a poorly-concealed opinion .
And men own the corporations ? Sure ,… and guess who’s running the advertising departments ?

You know , for guys like me , I’ve never seen ANYTHING positive said about men in the mainstream media . I’m too young (all of 35) to have ever known this mythical time of repressive patriarchy on television . What I do know is that nobody has anything good to say about males . Show me how this “humor” is balanced by at least some amount of mockery directed at women and/or positive depictions of men and sure , I’ll have a laugh right along with you .


July 22nd, 2011
6:30 pm

Trying again since my comment got lost earlier…

One of the reasons we don’t watch (and don’t let our kids watch) a lot of sitcoms is because of the way men and parents in general are portrayed. While I do have a few friends whose husbands have to have everything prepared and laid out in advance in order for the friend to get away from a weekend, that is rare. Most of the men I know are completely able to take care of their families and are not sitting around watching TV all the time with a beer in their hand. Sometimes I wonder what in the world would have made any of these TV women marry the man that is portrayed. Were they really that desperate?

I am all for being able to laugh at yourself but there comes a point where it is just so constant that it stops being funny.

One TV dad I do like is Richard Castle. While I don’t agree with everything he does (like his guilt over having GPS tracking on his daughter’s phone), I like the open communication he has with his daughter and appreciate the respect she shows for him.

On the final question, my husband is amazing. He is warm, funny, handsome, very intelligent and can cook better than I can. He has owned his own business for over 15 years. He also teaches high school Chemistry once a week and his students all love him. He is wise and patient with our kids (much more than I am most of the time). Don’t know what I would do without him.


July 22nd, 2011
8:24 pm

Blame Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler. They’ve made a living playing the doofus.


July 22nd, 2011
8:30 pm

And what’s with all of the sitcoms where big fat lugs somehow ended up with very attractive wives (According to Jim, The King of Queens)? That’s realistic…..

Jeff Turkleson

July 22nd, 2011
9:31 pm

You know women are terrible drivers.

Miss Priss!

July 23rd, 2011
9:00 am

Well then, here’s another one to watch out for: when the Antichrist is depicted in documentaries about religion or in Jesus freak programming, the evil one is always shown as a white, mid-thirties male, sometimes with a goatee and sometimes not, but always well dressed and well groomed.

Can you imagine if the Antichrist was depicted as …

1. A little Chinese guy

2. An obese black woman

3. A black man

4. A Junior League type from Buckhead

5. Someone with Arabic features

Lord. Have mercy. And you know what I mean.

Miss Priss!

Men portayed on TV as morons.

July 23rd, 2011
11:56 am

[...] Print [...]

Lifetime = don't you hate men?

July 24th, 2011
10:09 am

Men are EVIL! Just ask Lifetime.


July 24th, 2011
10:14 am


July 24th, 2011
10:30 am

What Andy says is correct. When my son was 5 he said he wished he was a girl. I asked him why, and he tells me because “girls are smarter and better”. I asked him why he thought that, and he listed some shows (we only watched PBS, by the way) where the girls were all portrayed as being the leaders and problem solvers. I was absolutely incensed! My son is a smart and sensitive boy, and frankly, he is ten times more kind and compassionate than many of the girls that I teach. I got rid of the TV, but the problem is everywhere. Just recently I went to Walmart and saw a folder that said, “girls rule, boys drool”. Of course, there was no folder that said the opposite because it isn’t PC to denigrate girls. I complained, Walmart pulled the folders. Use your power, complain whenever you see any of these disparaging remarks about boys/men. BTW…don’t get pulled into a “way back when women were portrayed as weak and ineffectual” argument. If a woman pulls that innane reason, explain that she should have a better understanding of why this practice of bad-mouthing boys/men has to be discouraged. After all, one doesn’t fight to end an injustice so that he/she can now go out and perpetrate that same injustice. That’s disingenuous at best.

grow a pair

July 24th, 2011
10:32 am

My wife asked for a new watch for her birthday. I told her she didn’t need one. There’s a clock on the stove.


July 24th, 2011
10:48 am

It has been fashionable to bash, criticize, etc. white Christian men for awhile now. Women want equal rights – funny stuff. My company is going all out to hire women engineers. When is the last time you seen hospitals begging to get male nurses, schools begging for male teachers, etc., etc.

East Repeat

July 24th, 2011
10:52 am

All political correctness in critizing men, especially white men. I love the Antichrist comment above. In that same vain, ever watch a “Law & Order”? The evil ones are always depicted as successful white males, usually christian. If a minority or woman is implicated at all it is only because they were unduly influenced by the white male! But what the heck, we can take it, and everyone knows the truth is the opposite of what is depicted. I love self deprication, but don’t ‘diss a minority or female as you will have hell to pay

scott peterson

July 24th, 2011
10:55 am

Yeah!!! What’s up with all of the male bashing???


July 24th, 2011
11:04 am

Turn off the TV and go outside and cut the grass!!!!