Give that man a cookie, er, Klondike!

Wow, a man refrains from violating the terms of his relationship agreement with his wife? Totally worthy of a reward. Give that man a cookie Klondike! <insert massive eyeroll here>

Actual analysis of Klondike’s latest series of commercials can be found over at The Hathor Legacy, in sbg’s post, Normal Behavior Rewarded as Extraordinary.

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This entry was posted in Advertising, Companies Behaving Badly, Masculinities, Privilege. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Give that man a cookie, er, Klondike!

  1. Some Guy says:

    The lust of the flesh has so much power over the human race that to deny those lusts is a major accomplishment.

    He deserves a truckload of Klondike bars.

    (if Brad Pitt walked by and she ignored him and focused on her husband, she deserves loads of Klondike bars too)

  2. Sara no H. says:

    “Bob kept his eyes on his wife. Give that man a Klondike bar!”

    … there just really aren’t words for this.

    On the one hand – I think it’s problematic to assume that looking automatically constitutes a problem. I understand that it’s one of those cultural tropes, that men have roving eyes and jealous partners, but the way the commercial plays into it and the way that you accepted that premise I find just as problematic. The wife looks, for crying out loud.

    So it raises a lot of questions for me. Why shouldn’t he look? Why is it assumed that the “terms of their relationship” include not-looking? Why is it assumed that any time a man looks at a woman, it is with some kind of sexual intent? (Because I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to look at people as they pass me – regardless of gender, regardless of relative hotness.)

    Also, as a recently-married practicing polyamorist – the assumption of monogamy really bugs me. Married people like to have fun too! Grr.

    On the other hand, I get that it’s really stupid to “reward” men for behaving like decent human beings, because it reinforces whole bits of other nastiness around masculinity etc. Cookies indeed.

  3. Darth Sidhe says:

    I’m wondering sometimes whether these are meant to be ironic in a self-aware fashion, you know, kind of like, “It’s kind of ridiculous to be considering this ice cream treat an appropriate reward for a fully grown man, so let’s make it a reward for an equally ridiculous task.” I mean, I find it hard to believe that this could not be made in a way that isn’t with the tongue firmly in cheek.

    But even with that in mind…yeah, as I’m sure others are saying, the idea that anyone who behaves like a decent human being should be praised and given a $REWARD for it is pretty grating. I mean…well, on the one hand, yeah, sure, the way to encourage good behaviour is to reward it. On the other hand…you should know this already!

  4. tekanji says:

    Some Guy: You’re joking, right?

    Sara no H:

    I understand that it’s one of those cultural tropes, that men have roving eyes and jealous partners, but the way the commercial plays into it and the way that you accepted that premise I find just as problematic.

    I was in class and I didn’t have the time or energy to analyze the commercial, but I wanted to link it and the analysis that sbg already did. I didn’t “accept that premise”, I merely acknowledged that it was what they were using.

    So it raises a lot of questions for me. Why shouldn’t he look? Why is it assumed that the “terms of their relationship” include not-looking? Why is it assumed that any time a man looks at a woman, it is with some kind of sexual intent? (Because I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to look at people as they pass me – regardless of gender, regardless of relative hotness.)

    The main reason why he shouldn’t look is that it’s obvious that it’s part of their relationship agreement — which is most likely the unspoken one that’s seen as the “normal” one for heterosexual monogamous couples. Beyond the simple fact that most commercials like this one rely on the stereotype of the Generic Heterosexual Monogamous Couple, the simple fact that the tagline is that the man should be rewarded for not looking is a clear that looking is seen as a Bad Thing. The fact that the wife looks, and we’re supposed to see that as her sizing up a potential rival/threat, also implies the “normal” relationship agreement. The assumption of sexual intent is tied up in issues of the male gaze and objectification and, like the entirety of the trope, has less to do with reality and more to do with idealized masculinity and femininity.

    Also, as a recently-married practicing polyamorist – the assumption of monogamy really bugs me. Married people like to have fun too! Grr.

    As someone who is interested in polyamory, I completely agree. That’s actually why I brought it up as a relationship agreement issue, instead of presenting it as a blanket statement for all married couples. Married =/= monogamous (and monogamous =/= husband having roving eyes and wife being jealous).

    Darth Sidhe: Exactly. Ironic intention through self-awareness doesn’t actually work when the supposedly ridiculous stereotypes that you’re ridiculing are still in general use.

  5. Sara no H. says:

    I was in class and I didn’t have the time or energy to analyze the commercial, but I wanted to link it and the analysis that sbg already did. I didn’t “accept that premise”, I merely acknowledged that it was what they were using.

    Sorry, I should have been clearer – I didn’t mean that you accept that men have wandering eyes and wondering wives, just that you accepted that stereotype as the basis of the commercial. I’m talking about totally reinterpreting the commercial in a non-normative fashion, which is where the questions I asked are coming from. Because to me, it’s only “obvious” that it’s part of their relationship agreement, that looking is a Bad Thing, and that she’s eyeing the other woman as a rival if you also accept that reading of the commercial.

    I don’t.

    Or rather, I accept that’s exactly what they intended it to mean, but the commercial serves more use as a means of analysing heteromonogamity and the presumed male/female roles that comprise that normativity.

    Does that make more sense?

  6. Some Guy says:

    Yeah, I’m kidding. He should love his wife so much that other women should just seem like ordinary people.

    Nonetheless, we live in an era of easy divorce and plenty of cheating. Klondike is just reminding us of how far our society has fallen and how relationships are so transient and fleeting these days.

    I think this commercial is being sarcastic, as in “People are so selfish these days, it’s gotten to the point where we need to offer a reward for something they should be doing anyway”.

  7. Elly says:

    I’m sorry but I actually find the two videos (the one you linked and the one and the one on the blog you linked) quite funny /o\ (But I might be overtolerant with humour sometimes).

    After viewing the two a couple of times I rather felt it as a joke to mock macho guys who need a “cookie” to behave correctly (especially the one where he put a glass into the washer and just goes eating his ‘klondike’ watching TV in the stereotype of the guy who does none of the chores) than a reinforcement of it. I don’t get what you mean by:

    “Darth Sidhe: Exactly. Ironic intention through self-awareness doesn’t actually work when the supposedly ridiculous stereotypes that you’re ridiculing are still in general use.”

    I think, on the contrary, that it’s when the stereotype is justified and merely exagerated that the caricature is interesting

  8. Godless Heathen says:

    *sigh* High divorce rates are a good thing, they mean that unhappy people are not tethered to one another simply because of societal expectations or inflexible laws. They mean that women who are in shitty relationships can and do get out with the help of the legal system. I’m tired of high divorce rates being the focal point of all of society’s hand-wringing and pearl clutching.

  9. Grian says:

    Perhaps this issue should be examined on a case by case basis. Where it’s acceptable one relationship to point out someone who is beautiful, it might not be acceptable in another. We fall victim of the gender-typing perpetuated by Klondike by assuming this couple has that “traditional” sort of relationship and thus that guy should be patted on the back.

    I think I live in a world where I expect men and women to be sexual creatures because I think nature dictates such a thing. Men especially have some biological factors which make them think about sex more often (as a generalization) and be more motivated by sex (again, in general). I think there are a lot of evolutionary reasons behind this. Maybe it presumptuous to assume we are beyond nature just yet. We might like to play at being civilized but we’re just animals when it comes down to it. Now, this is not to say two people can’t live happily in a monogamous relationship. It’s all about communication I think. If you marry someone who isn’t keen on looking then talk it out and respect your partner’s feelings. If it’s not a big deal to look, then look and work up some sexual energy to exert with your partner later.

    Just my two cents. I think I’m more offended by how the man is treated like a two year old in this commercial. It reminds me of those multiple tv shows where the guy is a flabby moron while the wife is pretty and rules the house with an iron fist. And even if he’s not overweight, the husband character is usually seen as a complete idiot. That whole idea is just a depressing portrayal of a less than worthy representation of the American male standard.

    BTW, anyone seen the Burger King commercials where all the men are blue collar brawns looking for “meat” as opposed to “chick food”? Ugh. Then again, I’ve got a double edged argument for that one too that I will hold on to for later. :)

  10. tekanji says:

    Grian:

    We fall victim of the gender-typing perpetuated by Klondike by assuming this couple has that “traditional” sort of relationship and thus that guy should be patted on the back.

    No “we” don’t; as I explained above I believe that this is the assumption that the commercial is working from and therefore I accepted that frame as part of the critique, while giving a nominal nod to the fact that such a relationship — despite often seen as the only type — is just one of many types of agreements a couple can have.

    I think I live in a world where I expect men and women to be sexual creatures because I think nature dictates such a thing.

    I know a whole lot of people who identify as asexual who would take exception to your assertion. Anyway, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you should keep in mind that the arguments you made about the gendered nature of sexuality are far from proven and it’s generally not a good idea to make gender essentialist generalizations on a feminist blog. :P

    BTW, anyone seen the Burger King commercials where all the men are blue collar brawns looking for “meat” as opposed to “chick food”?

    Yes.

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