I got the following on Facebook from Michael Thomas Cain:
It was originally posted by some humor page. Although the particular contrast is ridiculous, and though god knows women in general are disempowered in many more ways than are men in general, something serious lurks in the question. Part of the humor is that the man on the left appears to us, unquestionably, as an autonomous and empowered individual. Of course he’s Cary Grant and those are expensive clothes but a more modest figure along the same lines would still appear so. The man on the right not so much. And if we’re so moved we can BE him; but no matter how moved, we cannot be Mr Grant or any of his possible substitutes. Part of this sense derives from the authority we ascribe to the past, which is always greater than the authority we grant to the present. Yet, even so, someone came up with this. We live in a society that detests the autonomous individual and one that exercises its power in invisible and therefore minimally resistible ways, such as through constant titillation of meaningless consumer desire. When I see men now, bankers and lawyers and the like, dressed in contemporary versions of Grant’s get up here, they look to me like fake grown ups in a school play.