Dove’s #RealStrength and other ads that challenge male stereotypes

Of all the ads that aired during the Super Bowl XLIX, the Dove #RealStrength has to be one of our favourites. It has inspired us to look back at some other commercials that challenge male stereotypes.

Not all men struggle to show their emotions or embrace their caring side. Most of us know this, but the advertising industry needs to catch up. However, the last 12 months have seen a change in the way some of the world’s biggest brands portray the modern man. It’s a good start.

Dove #RealStrength

Video credit: BEST ADs EVER/YouTube

The extended version of Dove’s #RealStrength commercial, aired during last Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX, celebrates an evolved vision of masculinity. The modern man can be strong and caring. In fact, their caring side makes them even stronger.

“The core of male masculinity today is rooted in his strength of character,” said masculinity author and researcher Dr. Michael Kimmel, who acted as advisor in the Dove Men+Care ‘Care Makes a Man Stronger’ study. “Traits like integrity, authenticity, and how he cares for himself and those around him are integral to how a man perceives his own masculinity today – versus physical strength, power and affluence that prior generations may have prioritised.”

Guinness Round Up Your Mates

Video credit: GuinnessEurope/YouTube

The average beer commercial shows a bunch of men watching sports and ogling women. This 2014 ad from Guinness mixed it up, with a group of wheelchair basketball players who show that men can be kind and loving toward one another — and that this is a form of masculinity to be celebrated, not disguised.

More: 10 Best femvertisements of 2014

Robinson’s Thanks Dad

Video credit: Hardieb0y/YouTube

Because why can’t your dad be your best friend? The first person you confide in, your partner in crime, your soulmate? He absolutely can, as we see in this heart-warming Robinson’s ad from 2014.

Extra Origami

Video credit: Extra Gum/YouTube

The message behind this 2014 ad for Extra gum is that even the smallest gesture from a father can make the biggest impact on a daughter. It tends to be women who are portrayed as caring, thoughtful and sentimental in advertising, but that doesn’t always reflect real life. Warning: You might cry at this one.

More: 15 Best quotes about feminism from male celebs

Sunbeam Real Men Cook

Video credit: Sunbeam Australia/YouTube

The traditional chauvinist stereotype of the Australian male was turned on its head by home appliance brand Sunbeam. Its Real Men Cook campaign showcased the domestic duties men enjoy by challenging the notion that all women want a man who can hammer up drywall and who spends his spare time brandishing a power tool, and exploring the idea of being able to cook or bake can be a positive and welcome quality. After all, the neuroscientists who worked with Sunbeam on the campaign discovered that “men prefer using a blender to sawing timber.”

More on gender

Feminist Ian Somerhalder explains how the world is failing women
Laverne Cox and seven others who are destroying our outdated stereotypes
I’m using boudoir photography to redefine beauty and empower women


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