‘It's Not About the Nail’ is a lesson in gender politics - and the evolution of modern media

We are no longer governed by schedules or traditional formats

Share

Some spend a fortune on psychotherapy and counselling. Some have shelves groaning with self-help manuals. And others, sadly, end up in the divorce court. The path that couples must take towards a proper understanding of male-female relationships is a difficult one, full of potholes and uphill gradients, and is strewn with well-meaning casualties.

But in a world where complex arguments are distilled into sound bites, and where reputations can be made and lost in 140 characters, it should not be surprising that one of the simplest, most effective explanations of the male-female dynamic I have seen comes via a piece of film that’s a mere 1 minute, 42 seconds long.

Excuse me if you know about this, but, even though some eight million people have already watched “It’s Not About the Nail”, I have not, in my anecdotal research, come across anyone who has discovered this bite-sized gem of a film. So I implore you to go on to YouTube, watch it, and then come back and resume this column... Right, you’re back. What did you think? Pretty clever, eh?

For those not near a screen, it opens on a tight shot of a woman complaining about the constant pressure she’s experiencing. “I can literally feel it in my head,” she says, “and it’s relentless.” The camera pans out, and we see that not only is she talking to her partner, but she has a nail sticking out of her forehead. The man points out that maybe she’d feel better if she had the nail removed. “It’s not about the nail!” she responds. “Why are you always trying to fix things instead of listening to me?” And there you have it. The universal truth of sexual politics. The man, a Martian, let’s say, wants to find a solution to the problem, while the woman, a Venusian, simply wants a hearing, empathy and consideration.

This is the work of an American film-maker and writer called Jason Headley, whose oeuvre is full of similarly terse and effective commentaries on modern mores, but as much as “It’s Not About the Nail” reveals about relationship issues, it tells us as quite a lot, too, about the way media is changing in the digital world. Traditional programme makers still think in 30-minute or one-hour segments because that’s the way TV schedules are organised. Those who make adverts have ideas that fit into 30-second or one-minute slots because that’s the way advertising has always been bought and sold.

However, this does not reflect the way people consume media these days. We are no longer governed by schedules or traditional formats. We’ll watch what we want, when we want, and on whatever device we choose. Millions have watched Headley’s beautifully polished film, and not a penny has been spent on promoting it. Today’s consumer is voracious when it comes to content, and is prepared to forage for it, sometimes in the most unlikely places. What they seek is quality entertainment, but not prescribed for them by a programmer. Maybe the TV schedules will one day catch up with this, and our viewing will be embellished by 10-second ads and two-minute films. As “It’s Not About the Nail” proves, it doesn’t have to big to be clever.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones