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Because there is only one definition of how to be a man, sloppy joe sandwich sauce maker Manwich, made by ConAgra Foods, Inc. and Hunt’s, is following the Guinness beer lessons in advertising: depict any man who doesn’t fit a rigid definition of dudeness as some nelly queen who deserves to be slapped. We’ve been through this before, but let us reiterate: Advertising that portrays fey-er men as somehow less than, or not tough enough, is cheap. It’s also harmful. Kids see this stuff. Not all of them fit into neat little gender stereotypes. And while perhaps it’s silly to think makers of a product named Manwich could consider how its brand is perpetuating homophobia — this ad literally has a man who enjoys musicals getting beat up for it — at the very least the spot can be used to engage in a conversation about how to rethink what it is to be a man. UPDATE: ConAgra flack Jeff Mochal says the company is pulling the spots. “We apologize. It was not meant to offend. The ads were never on TV and were not part of a some multimillion-dollar ad buy. As soon as we became aware of them we pulled them down.” As of this writing, they are not down. And just in case they are, we’ve saved local copies, including the other spots that show guys who care about their hair and shoes getting similarly violent treatment.
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