Being a man carries with it all sorts of supposed “unwritten rules,” some of which are crass …

… many of which you probably haven't heard of …

… and all of which are idiotic ...

But amongst the dumbest and most pervasive of these unwritten rules is that men shouldn't drink diet soda. It's unclear how this cultural norm was established, but legend states that it was started in the 1920s when, after Santa clause invented Coca Cola he decried that, one, “Any man who drinks diet soda is a pussy,” and two, “I get to jizz in every batch of Mountain Dew.”

This proved problematic for the soda barons of modern times. (Not the second part. That's what gives Mountain Dew its kick.) How do you sell soda to a man that's trying to stay lean but is too afraid to drink diet soda because it might make him look unmanly? The answer is by creating new diet products without the word “diet” in them, aiming them solely at men, and then marketing them with some of the most blatantly sexist and ridiculous commercials imaginable. Here's an example:

This Pepsi Max commercial from 2009 thinks so little of the American male's intellect that it might be propaganda from a foreign army looking to invade. It depicts men as being so half-hazard and careless that they drop bowling balls on top of each other's heads like they're in the middle of a Road-Runner cartoon. We're surprised one of the scenes wasn't a guy running dick-first into a mural of an open tunnel. Who's the person watching some goober electrocute his friend and thinks to himself, “Yeah, I want to be like these guys. Get me a Pepsi Max!” 

But Coca-Cola Zero might be just as dumb:

Here we have the standard, albeit transparent commercial formula of “dude uses product = dude gets the girl,” and although this trope couldn't be more tired, we'll at least give Coca-Cola Zero points for not making our hero Homer Simpson Lite. But that's the only positive thing you can say about this because everything else is so dumb. If Coke Zero is supposed to be this emblem of masculinity, then why does this guy find it in this lady's fridge? Shouldn't she have a Diet Coke which, upon contact, would cause his testes to shrivel into ash? Or did maybe he put it in the fridge the night before, in which case, why didn't he ask, “Hey, I'm planning on staying the night, any chance your parents show up tomorrow in a rage, looking to kill the first dude they see?” Also -- I don't care how few calories it is -- what kind of dumb dildo drinks soda in the morning? 

But the greatest of all time has to be this Dr. Pepper 10 commercial from 2011:

We have to tip our caps to Dr. Pepper 10 because it's not often you can create something that's equally sexist towards both men and women, but by God, this does it. First, their tagline “IT'S NOT FOR WOMEN” is self-evident, but if you're having trouble understanding why that sounds wrong, replace the word “women" with any other ethnic group or gender and see if it sounds like a law that would have been passed in the Jim Crow south 80 years ago. 

Second, it's hard to call something “subliminal” advertising when it's so explicitly stated. It's a recurring theme with all of these commercials that men are so stupid that they'll buy anything if you blatantly pander to them. “Dur, men like action movies! Men like low-calorie soda! Not diet, though!” Here Dr. Pepper really goes for it, straight up telling us that these are “manly calories” and “are what guys want” and “catchphrase.” If you're a man, then Dr. Pepper thinks you're an idiot. When they're done selling you a soda, they'll sell you “Tampons for Men” that are “built tough for a manly flow” because "catchphrase." 

The most amazing thing though, is that these commercials are barely a decade old. Haven't we progressed enough as a society that a man can drink a fizzy drink filled with aspartame simply because he enjoys the taste of it? You'd hope so, but until we get a commercial telling us otherwise, you might want to stick to water just to be safe. 

Follow Dan on Twitter to learn more about his upcoming projects and find him on his podcast The Bachelor Zone to hear him talk about The Bachelor like it is a sport. (Because it is.)

Top Image: Pexels

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