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NO MAN (OR WOMAN) IS AN ISLAND

There are innumerable brands helping men and women to look and act like the hero and heroine of a romantic movie. Such ads are particularly effective with the young, who still retain the desire to be perfect and the hope of finding the perfect mate. The fact that so many brands appeal to these desires, however, means that doing so does not provide any meaningful differentiation. At the same time, they have the dubious effect of reinforcing rather negative aspects of traditional sex roles (e.g., women are always gorgeous and men are always in control), messages that the women’s and men’s movements have attempted to prime people to notice and resent. But most of all, these ads may have less than a maximum effect, because they do not seem authentic enough for ordinary people to identify with them. While people do love to look at the gorgeous woman and the perfect man, it is also true that almost all of us feel vulnerable when we compare ourselves with them. Not all women look like fashion models. Not all men are totally in-control performance machines. A film such as The Full Monty defied Hollywood conventions, using noname actors and depressing location shots, but won audiences’ hearts with its gritty celebration of ordinary guys, stripping down to reveal ordinary bodies. While this movie has a Regular Guy/Gal theme, it also demonstrates how the essence of the Lover is a strip. You gradually let go of your defenses to let someone know you. You take off your clothes to go to bed, thereby revealing what is usually an imperfect body. Over time, in a relationship, the real you surfaces. The real energy in the Lover archetype today is around the truth of this vulnerability, one that is shared by men and women alike. Rather than promising the perfect body and the perfect persona, ads could grab people where they live, as The Full Monty did, by connecting with the truth of what they fear (rejection), what they desire (unconditional love), and what they want to give. Sensuality, Food, and Indulgence Beyond the anxiety about whether anyone will love us, there is great fun in the Lover archetype simply because Eros, in its pleasure-seeking aspect, enriches life. There is a wonderful scene in the movie Tom Jones in which two potential lovers eat lasciviously while staring into one another’s eyes. A quasi-sexual feel is often present with par-

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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