What could be manlier than meat-eating? These commercials over the last few years attempt to poke fun at the male stereotype, but does the joke work? Typically comedy is filed in grievance: we laugh because we know it’s wrong. For instance, in slapstick, an anvil falling on someone’s head is not necessarily funny – if this were to happen in reality, it would be pretty horrifying to most people. In the case of commercials like these, the comedy is much more opaque, which begs the question, why are we expected to laugh? Are we laughing at the silliness of the idealized male? If so, how does an advertiser making fun of their demographic appeal to them? Self-deprecation is appealing, according to researcher Gil Greengross, of the University of New Mexico because:
“Many studies show that a sense of humour is sexually attractive to women but we’ve found that self-deprecating humour is the most attractive of all…It is a risky form of humour because it can draw attention to one’s real faults, thereby diminishing the self-deprecator’s status in the eyes of others. “
Perhaps men and young boys are simply fascinated by representations of power over women, power over animals, physical strength as power – and the pinnacle of accessing all of these forms of power is through consuming a product. The tactic of making it ironic, self-deprecating or tongue-in-cheek is simply a disguise and tool to seduce, not necessarily a grievance (thought the real grievance of the male stereotype may be filed subconsciously). By making something seem extreme, it can be percieved as wrong without contradicting the message, which is: meat is accessible power for men.