TV shows and commercials love to parody the stereotype of the ultimate manly man—and embrace that stereotype at the same time. Isaiah Mustafa flexes his pecs for Old Spice and tells you to “smell like a man, man”; Ron Swanson’s pyramid of greatness outlines everything a man should value; and do I even have to mention beer commercials? TVtropes.org, which calls the trope testosterone poisoning, has plenty more examples of this phenomenon. Now the trope has been co-opted to promote something else: therapy.
A few weeks ago, suicide-prevention organizations in Colorado launched a PSA to promote the website mantherapy.org. The ad’s star is a Swansonesque paragon of virility named Dr. Rich Mahogany. He sits in his leather chair, his office flanked by a moose head that he no doubt shot himself, and talks about therapy “the way a man would do it.”
“Man therapy is a place where men can come to be men,” the fake doctor announces on his website. “So here, we won’t be complaining, whining, or moping about. No, we’ll be getting off our keisters and form-tackling feelings like anger, stress, sadness, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts head-on!”