It is clear that advertisements are marketed to specific groups of people to increase consumption of a given product. However, what happens when said advertisement negatively impacts health outcomes? Or supports a negative image of masculinity?

Advertisements to sell beer to men such as Miller Lite’s “Unmanly” advertisement series and more recently, Dr. Pepper’s new Dr. Pepper 10 product which was specifically created for men, seem to project the image that it is still “manly,” in the gender-normative kind of way, to consume a product that is low in calories.

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In order to do so, both products reflect the idea that not showing emotion, being aggressive and, most importantly, not being “feminine” defines a real man. Although both advertisements are non-threatening enough to filter in to public television, they both reinforce what Paul Kivel has called the “Man Box;” the idea that men need to behave in certain ways and project a given image of masculinity. Consequences for not fitting into the Man Box are social isolation, humiliation and even physical punishment.

What are some techniques used to help young boys understand that masculinity can exist beyond the Man Box? What techniques can help young boys and girls and, indeed, adult men and women, not keep the Man Box in place? How have can we help young people decipher through the constant bombardment of advertisements such as these?