Dockers has mounted a new global advertising campaign to re-kindle interest in khakis. During the Super Bowl, they unveiled their “Men Without Pants” commercial, which made a statement about modern masculinity, or lack thereof. The commercial mocked the ridiculous childish behavior of a group of “pant-less” men who marched through a field proudly proclaiming, “I wear no pants.” The announcer interrupted their antics with a notice to mankind: “Calling all Men–it’s time to Wear the Pants.”
Super Bowl 2013 is fast approaching, and our final day in the “Best of the last five years” series features a post from Super Bowl 2010. Obviously, that Super Bowl is old news, but the phenomenon this post highlights isn’t.
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The commercial anticipated that men would identify with the cultural de-masculinization of males depicted by the pant-less parade. The take-away was that they would be challenged to once again “Wear the Pants,” both literally and figuratively.
Like the commercial, Docker’s “Wear the Pants” magazine ad decries the feminization of males. It touts the concept that masculinity is valuable and good, that a lack of masculine men is harmful to society, and that the world needs men to step up and be true men. The advertisement contains a “MAN-ifesto,” shaped in the silhouette of a man (see picture), that says:
"Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their Khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.
"But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave, and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, WE NEED HEROES. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. IT’S TIME TO WEAR THE PANTS!"The Dockers' ad campaign reveals that there’s an underlying sentiment amongst men that their masculinity has been devalued. They have been feminized–“left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.” The new cultural definition of manhood does not “fit” with who they are, and they are keenly feeling the disconnect.
Men are not women. They are not genderless. They are not androgynous. They have an innate, God-given bent to initiate and be heroes. They want to untie the world from the tracks of complacency. They want to get their hands dirty. They want to answer the call of manhood. They want to be MEN . . . and what’s more, they want women to be women.
The ad astutely observes that “today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for.”
Though Dockers doesn’t provide a satisfactory resolution for the gender conundrum, it does raise a profound point: There is a strong connection between gender and and the “answer” to the world’s problems. Gender is not the answer. But it was meant to point to and reveal the answer. Manhood and womanhood were created to display the story of the Gospel and the glory of God. So when we don’t get gender right, the answer to humanity’s problem is obscured.
I agree that it’s time for men to wear the pants. But I’m not talking about the khakis that Dockers are peddling, or some re-invented macho-male cultural stereotype. It’s time for men to wear the pants of godly manhood, and women to wear the skirt of godly womanhood, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed . . . And so that this genderless generation, which is so broken and desperately seeking for answers, will find THE answer to the deepest question of the human heart.