Eat This, Not That
Miller-Lite, Slim Jim Promote Provincial Masculinity
Miller Lite – Man Up Commercial – “The Man Purse”
Slim Jim – Manbulance Commercial – “Men Not Allowed to Eat Salads”
Can men eat vegetarian at Subway? No one’s getting denied here, but when I asked a Subway clerk to put tofu on my sandwich, he said, “Oh, that’s only for women.” It took me a few seconds to register his statement but after a few seconds I let it go and categorized it as a harmless, teasing joke. I got my tofu in the end, but his comment reveals a deep-set, American mindset which boxes up the male and female genders.
As a gay man, you’ll often find me wearing my skinny jeans or carrying my man bag home from work. Yet, according to Miller Lite’s new “Man Up” campaign, you’ll find these are unacceptable forms of male dress. Their commercials codify certain traits and behaviors as unworthy of having a “good” tasting beer – that is, of course, if you find Miller Lite “good” tasting in the first place. While most of their clips lampoon men who are, in fact, wearing unfashionably skinny, skinny jeans or silly tramp stamps, their message endorses an un-accepting, intolerant sentiment.
I’ve encountered this species of provincial thought before while visiting a restaurant in the deep heart of Texas. Having stepped off the plane from Los Angeles, I walked into the establishment and immediately heard a table of flannel-shirt and cowboy-boots wearing guys yell, “Hey it’s Justin Beiber!” To my surprise, these drunken cronies decided to mock my swoop down hair and forever-twenty one outfit. I had forgotten that I looked “gay.” (Sorry Justin Beiber).
Maybe this is why I don’t appreciate such a rigid view of what’s ok for men to wear and how we’re allowed to act. I am a more masculine gay man, standing at about six feet, two inches, but a little gender bending can make for fun experimenting. So what if I carry all my extra cards in a clutch I keep in my bag; So what if I get my eyebrows waxed; And so what if I can change a tire? This unexpected mix makes me a more well rounded person and I enjoy that! It’s time for our society to realize that it’s ok for men tolike picnics and to eat salads Slim Jim!