Have you seen the most recent King of Queens ad? Doug is apparently worried that he might be (gasp!) a woman!
If you haven’t seen the show, here’s a link to the SonyPictures website for it: http://www.sonypictures.com/tv/shows/kingofqueens/index.php.
Are you back? Okay. So in this ad, you see Carrie and Doug getting it on. They’re kissing, leaning back onto their bed – not a big deal, they’re a committed, monogamous couple, not a big deal. They’re fully clothed, not quite reclining – you get the picture. What’s the problem? Carrie is on top. Like I said, at this point, they are just kissing, right?
So a few seconds into this scene (remember, it’s a commercial), Doug flings out his arm, knocking Carrie across the bed – lucky for him she doesn’t fall on the floor or hit the wall or anything – and says, “Will you let me do something?” She breathlessly asks, “What do you mean?” and he explains that she’s “dominating everything – first ping-pong, now sex…” (During this statement the video flashed to the two of them playing ping-pong, implying that she won the ping-pong game.) He continues with growing horror, “I really am a woman!”
Okay, it’s a sit-com, and so I tried to give it a bit of room to exploit gender consciousness for comedic value. Maybe people can laugh at men worrying about their gendered identity in our homophobic culture, I don’t know. But I couldn’t get past the idea that this big burly guy (really, go look at the pictures) could throw his wife across the bed (I’m talking several feet here) because, heaven forfend, she was being aggressive sexually, and that, that, was funny.
And then to follow up with a laugh at the idea that a guy might be worried he might be feminine – I really am a woman – and that’s funny because obviously he doesn’t want to be a woman and isn’t one…is the underlying message that it’s less than ideal to be a woman, or only that it’s less than ideal for a man to have feminine characteristics? Never mind the (obviously true) message that winning and being aggressive in sex are always masculine characteristics and losing games and being on the bottom sexually are always women’s characteristics.
And I won’t even mention the absurdity of complaining about a woman you’ve just thrown several feet (whether you hurt her or not) dominating sexually. What if she was feeling dominated? Did anybody but me watching that wonder about the parallel to actual, unwelcome dominance in rape situations?
Okay, so am I taking a sit-com too seriously? Is it okay to push these boundaries to make people think? Is laughing at the idea of a guy being worried about being dominated the first step to recognizing these cultural messages? Or is it distasteful and ultimately maintaining the stereotypes?