Or, maybe I’m not on Nationwide’s side.
There is a commercial running on television of late that bothers me. Mrs. Greenbean tells me that I over analyze these things too much, but hey, its what I do, right?
It is a Nationwide insurance commercial–no, not the depressing one about the boy who never lived because he died–but a different one that I find even more disturbing.
The ad features children in frustrating situations where the customer service is poor. It starts off with a little girl at what looks like the DMV, there is also a couple in a restaurant being ignored by their server, and it finishes with a little girl having her car examined by an insurance adjuster and he says, “we’ll take care of it” and then suddenly the little girl is a grown woman who says, “Thank you.”
The point of the commercial is that whenever we have poor customer service, we often want to throw tantrums like children do when things don’t go their way. I get that. The problem I have with the commercial is the only scene where a boy is venting his frustration has him violently slamming his phone onto the ground. I have provided the commercial below, in case you missed it (ICYMI).
This depiction of male frustration bothers me in four ways.
1. It seems to reinforce the stereotype that the masculine way to “vent” or to “be angry” is to destroy something.
2. Why are the little girls allowed to be civil in their frustration while the boy literally ends the conversation?
3. The commercial ends by showing us that these are really adults in these situations, so, that means it was a grown man who threw his phone against the ground. What else does he throw when he is angry? Punches? Plates? People?
4. Throwing phones is a sign of anger issues and may be an indicator of a possible tendency for domestic violence.
Again, I might be guilty of thinking about it too much, but these kinds of stereotypes are not healthy, and they reinforce a worldview that teaches us women are civil and polite while men are just jerks who can’t control themselves.
image of little boy from uproxx.com, who, loved the commercial and thought the angry little boy was the best part.