LOS ANGELES – “I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society,” actress Emma Watson, an Ivy League graduate and a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, said in a now-celebrated speech at the United Nations last week. “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”
And perhaps nowhere is male gender stereotyping more prevalent than in the entertainment and advertising industries, which have made billions in the past few decades portraying adult males as lazy, clueless, emasculated idiots. Think everything from “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Super Bad” and “The Hangover” to ABC’s “Modern Family,” “Man Up” and television’s beloved Homer Simpson.
Watson works with the HeForShe initiative, which encourages men to stand up for women’s equality—but the actress also brought an important point into the spotlight: Men are plagued by gender stereotypes too. Will her highly praised speech spur a change in Hollywood? Or will the industry continue to tear males down by portraying them as lovable idiots who ought to be banned from the domestic sphere?