Eating yogurt doesn’t calm my nerves. Cheese cubes don’t curb my cramps. And a nice, tall glass of milk? It definitely doesn’t minimize the balance of my “monthly bill” - it just makes me want a couple of cookies.
With these facts in mind, it’s safe to say that I don’t care much about the debatable research supporting the California Milk Processor Board’s newest ad campaign targeting men with the assertion that dairy decreases PMS symptoms. What I’m slightly concerned about is the way the concept is presented: rather passive-aggressively. Get ready for billboards reading “I’m sorry I listened to what you said and NOT what you meant,” ads with snappy taglines like “We can BOTH blame myself,” and a website called EverythingIDoIsWrong.com that includes an apology synthesizer, a global PMS indicator, and a list of “pre-approved” apologies.
After a brief poll, I’ve found that my guy friends think this campaign, especially the website, is a real knee-slapper. That puppy dog-eye-zer? Hilarious. After all, women have to suffer through PMS, but guys have to suffer the aftermath - so naturally, tools and jokes are needed. My funnybone, however, is something less than tickled.
This isn’t an issue of political correctness. I mean, if we’re being blunt here, I think we all know that there are some women who appear to contract a serious kind of crazy around “that time” (a la the caller on one of my favorite morning radio shows who told the DJs, while hysterically laughing, that she once hit her husband with a car while PMSing because he was irritating her).
I think this is an issue of stereotyping by literally
putting on billboards the idea that ALL women get monumentally bitchy and
completely mental when they menstruate. But while using stereotypes to bolster
jokes can yield some serious equal-opportunity laughs for Saturday Night Live
and other similarly frank comedians, I don’t know that it works so well for an
The creator of the campaign says he hopes that the infusion of humor will encourage conversation between partners about an otherwise “awkward” topic. But that intention is, as Friends character Joey Tribiani once said, a “moo” point, as potentially putting one party on the defensive by perpetuating stereotypes about them is no way to foster a mediation - or win the business of new consumers.
What do you think? Is this a case of misogyny? A less-than-perfectly-executed attempt at humor? Or is it a case of stereotyping?