Despite being hard-working (68.6 per cent are in the workforce), charitable (32 per cent do volunteer work and 73 per cent donated money in 2006) and spending nearly three hours a day on average doing unpaid work at home, men are often represented as one-dimensional stereotypes.
If you believe some commercials, guys have never even learned how to go to the bathroom. It’s a little insulting, right?
News.com.au has looked at just how much the trusty television has to answer for. We’ve packaged six of the most obvious stereotypes floating around Australian television today – the dopey dad, the alpha male, the bad boy, the larrakin, the thinking man, and the average bloke.
These commonly seen characters are often clichéd and one-dimensional, and provide little in the way of role models.
Dopey dads can be found in any ad for cleaning or cooking products that aim to make it easy for clueless men, and alpha males are often objectified in much the same way women have rightly complained about being victims of for decades.
Foxtel’s Xbox commercial which depicted four women ogling a new male flatmate who walked in wearing only boardshorts attracted an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
And the clichés are just as heavy for the larrakin who is never taken seriously, the thinking man who is always shy and awkward and the bad boy who just needs the love of a good woman to turn him around.
Dr Karen Pearlman, head of Screen Studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio school told news.com.au no screenwriter ever sets out to create a conventional character but audiences like to see something familiar and recognisable, albeit with something “fresh” thrown in.
“If you see a character that is completely familiar with no nuance, nothing to add, nothing to help explain us to ourselves a bit better – that’s not really great writing,” said Dr Pearlman.
“There are other shows where people hope characters will behave exactly as expected and then a writer might be writing that show to a brief.”