In The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events, by Michael Messner and Jeffrey Montez de Oca, it is said that historically, beer and liquor advertisements are meant to encourage “consumers to think of their products as essential to creating a stylish and desirable lifestyle” (1879). This is opposite to common product advertisements in which the product helps solve a presented problem through crisis and resolution. According to Messner and Montez de Oca, these advertisements that sell a specific lifestyle, also sell to consumers a “consumption-based masculine identity” that is relevant to current social and cultural conditions (1880). As mentioned in class, women have gained more power and become more independent, but the male gender sees that as if that power is being taken directly from them. We see this fear played out in the four themes that Messner and Montez de Oca describe in relation to beer and liquor advertisements. The four dominant gender themes found in these advertisements are men as “losers” and “buddies,” and women as “hotties” and “bitches” (1887). In the “losers” scenario, men are “always on the cusp of being publicly humiliated, either by their own stupidity, by other men, or worse, by a beautiful woman” (1887). The “buddies” theme plays out with individual men’s status being compensated for by being in the “safety of the male group” (1887). The solidarity of the male group and the friendships within it are the “emotional center” of many of these advertisements (1887). In terms of women, when they are shown in beer and liquor advertisements, they are depicted as “hotties” and/or “bitches” (1887). A woman is a “hottie” when she is highly sexualized and serves the main purpose of being a fantasy object and potential prize for men’s victories (1887). Theoretically speaking, if a man makes the right choice in let’s say for this instance, beer, he will be rewarded with a “hottie”. These “hotties” have the potential of validating a man’s masculinity, but they also hold the power to humiliate the male “loser” (1887). The second type of woman that might be depicted is in the “bitches” category, where women serve the purpose of being “sexual blackmailers who threaten to undermine individual men’s freedom to enjoy the erotic pleasure at the center of the male group” (1887).

The above Miller Lite “Man Up” ad holds true to the dominant themes described by Messner and Montez de Oca. A well-dressed man walks into a bar that is heavily populated with what would be considered beautiful women, or “hotties”. He walks up to a space in the bar and approaches the attractive bartender. The man asks for a lite beer and the bartender responds by asking him if he cares how it tastes. The man answers her question by saying that he doesn’t care. The bartender relishes in the opportunity to humiliate the male customer by saying: “well, when you start caring, put down your purse and I’ll give you a Miller Lite”. The male instantly becomes the “loser” and where as previous to that specific moment no one was paying the slightest attention to the interaction between the bartender and man, the hot girls next to the young man look at him with disgust when the bartender unleashes her snarky comment about the man’s shoulder bag. The man, of course, tries to reclaim some of his masculinity by saying that the bag is a “carry all,” but the woman just looks at him and says, “no, it’s not”. Through this exchange, the man is taught that Miller Lite is the beer for masculine men. The end of the commercial shows the man in a realm of safety within a group of his “buddies” and when he says he is going back up to the bar to order a Miller Lite, one of his friends jests that he will watch his “purse”. It isn’t exactly seen as embarrassing when his male counterpart jokes about the “purse,” but because of gender roles, a woman commenting on it is stripping a man of his masculinity.

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