Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl 46: A Shitty Gender Situation as Ever

So the culmination of the football season just happened...and, you know, there's a reason that the Super Bowl has its own tag here...while all other tags are much more general (like "education" or "sports.") It's because the Super Bowl is a yearly reminder that women just aren't that important.

This year was no exception. The whole thing went down in my hometown of Indianapolis. While I was really happy to have the eyes of the world on my old digs, I was epically disappointed that the advertisements are a case of same shit, different year. If an alien civilization had only access to Super Bowl commercials as artifacts of our way of life, they would find a pretty bleak picture of both men (sex driven meat-heads) and women (sexed up, throw away objects.)

There was a little bit of talk last month about M&M's premiere of a "feminist" character, Ms. Brown. The only spot I saw with her was where she was at a party having to defend the fact that she's not "naked" (her candy shell just matches her inside milk chocolate) and ward off the advances of the red M&M who decided to strip and hit on her. Ugh.

The two biggest themes across the rest of the Super Bowl was that women are objects or they are there to cheer for the guys. Amongst the worst offenders was, of course, Go Daddy. In their spot, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels were using a random woman's body to advertise .CO domains, the premise being that her nudity is as eye catching as a .CO... WUT? Similarly, in a Fiat commercial, a man is seduced by an overtly sexual Italian woman, who turns out to actually be the Fiat. The message here is clear: Women are things, be they cars or billboards. (For more information about the dangers of female objectification, check out Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly parts 1-4.)

The second theme, cheerleading, was evident in a Kia commercial, where a man dreams that he races the car past a stadium of scantily clad women with two purposes: to look really hot and to cheer for him. The halftime show even featured a section where Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and M.I.A. all did a cheesy cheer leading routine. I couldn't help but feel, as I was watching M.I.A. that she must have really needed a pay day or something, because she doesn't usually participate in that hokey shit. But then she did something I was thinking at that point, and flipped off the world. So there's that...

The only commercial that really made me smile was for a product that I can't even recall. (So while I liked the ad, it didn't do the one thing advertisements are supposed to do: make a mental association with what they're selling.) Anyway, this ad took a whole new spin on the term "soccer mom." A woman drops off her kids at a soccer game, and she's the one playing, as her sons cheer. Kudos, nameless company! (If anyone knows what commercial I'm talking about link me, and I'll update the post. No amount of Googling is helping me over here.)

The real sad thing about all the misogyny each and every Super Bowl Sunday is that it must be getting a pay off. People are responding to these ploys and buying Go Daddy domains, Fiats, and Kias...otherwise why would we go through this year after year?


  1. The only portion I watched was the halftime show and I enjoyed until the cheerleader getups came out. Until that Madonna had been her usual queenlly self. And I too had the same reaction to M.I.A. It was surprising.
    Luckily, I was invited over to a super bowl party to craft with friends who were making zines and duct tape wallets. Subverting the gladiatorial pursuits with homemade goods is always the right answer!

    1. this is that ad that you were talking about. Its for Volvo.

    2. I bet you did have it...but it's been removed. Good to know it's Volvo at least! We're getting closer....


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