A couple of weeks ago a video started circulating in my social media stream entitled ďItís Not About The NailĒ by Jason Headley. It is a situational skit about a woman sharing how she feels and a man struggling to listen when he can see a nail sticking out of her head, which seems to be the source of her trouble. On the surface it seems humorous, but I did not see it that way. Something about it bothered me.
What is the message?
The title leads one to think it is about the importance of listening instead of trying to fix someone elseís problem. Unfortunately, the video has a situation where the problem is trivialized by the means of representation. The woman just wants someone to listen and validate her feelings, but the moment the man suggests removing the nail he has invalidated her feelings. This seems to be a stereotypical interaction between women and men.
Several comments from mostly men kept harping on the nail, that if the woman would just let the man remove it or remove it herself then she would feel better. There were also a few comments that condescended that it was important to listen, but that sometimes it is about the nail.
It seems simple enough. The woman is complaining of head pain and pressure. The nail seems to be the cause. Remove the nail; remove the head pain and pressure. Everything goes back to normal.
Just because you may see a problem with what seems an obvious solution doesnít mean you are seeing things clearly or that you understand.
The nail is a metaphor.
What makes the video even worse is the assumption that the woman and the man are a couple. She is the one complaining about something that he could fix for her. She accuses him of never listening and always trying to fix things. He pitifully tries to stifle his impulse to fix and tries to pacify her with sympathy while clearly still focused on the nail. The skit ends in conflict.
What is the message?
According to some men the message is that women complain about things that could easily be fixed. Obviously the women who know these men are shaking their heads because the men donít get it.
Itís not about the nail.
It is about communication. It is about listening: how we listen and how we respond. The quality of your relationship depends on the quality of your communication.
Unfortunately, this video does a poor job of getting that across. There is no follow up of better communication, and it seems the only conversation generated in comments is a focus on the nail.
Do you think the video is sexist? Does it just poke fun at a stereotypical situation? What are your thoughts?