Ah yes, it is time for my 5th annual Superbowl advertisement sexism watch!
I am happy to say that I declare this year's situation to be...drum roll...STATUS QUO! By that, I mean that gender stereotypes were out in full force BUT there wasn't a single commercial which set us back 50 years. And there were actually a few which were kinda good. Kinda.
Same old stereotypes and problematic content:
-Go Daddy's smart + sexy ad. A hot girl is sexy. A nerdy dude is smart. Together, they equal Go Daddy with a lot of disgusting kissing noises. YAWN. BLAH. OVER IT. I mean...for Go Daddy, it was actually pretty mild. For life, it was annoying as hell. Plus, when would it EVER be a nerdy girl with a hot guy? (Hint: never.)
-Audi had a commercial where a teen is going to prom stag, but he takes his dad's car and he feels like such a bad ass that he storms in and kisses the prom queen. I know that people want to pass this kind of thing as romantic or whatever but I will ALWAYS be uncomfortable with the "sweeping her off her feet" mentality because HOW DO YOU KNOW SHE WANTED SWEPT? Consent is a simple concept and there was none in that commercial. In a perfect world, there's a whole back story that we can't see, but let's be honest, if we don't see it, it doesn't exist. All we (and millions of teens everywhere) see is the story portrayed. At best, it's really problematic. At worst: a contributor to our rape culture.
-The Calvin Klein shiny, ripped dude in underwear caught my, ahem, attention. Ok, I can admit it's a little interesting to see a guy so heavily objectified during the Superbowl, but 1) I don't think we win by having men be objectified too and 2) when a dude is objectified, he's still portrayed as strong, active, athletic, and a human. Women are so often reduced to being passive, idle, dismembered bodies.
-Amy Poehler for Best Buy. It kills my soul to put her on the "same old" side of things because I love her more than I have words for. BUT while the commercial was hilarious, she was kiiiiiiiiiinda being a dumb blonde and that's not my favorite thing ever.
-The Coke race series of ads. The group of women are showgirls while the men are adventurers. Dumb. I mean, yes, the women won, but still. Come on. Plus, it's being criticized for being racist.
-Speaking of racism, what about the VW ad where the white guy is "happy" epitomized by his appropriation of a Rasta/Jamaican accent? WHAT THE HELL? VW, you're better than that.
-The Hyundai ad with The Flaming Lips...it was a dad parenting and having a great time with his kids (and The Flaming Lips.) Not bad. Not bad at all. (Hipsters, be damned! I don't care if you're upset that TFL are now "mainstream.")
-Toyota had an ad with Kaley Cuoco where she can apparently grant wishes and they work through what the family wants. It did have a bit of a fatphobic undercurrent to it, but when the little girl wished to be a princess, she became a bad ass warrior one, in a scene that could have been out of Braveheart.
-Jeep had a long RAH 'MERICA ad voiced over by Oprah. (What did that cost!?) I'm not really into the ad in general, but when they show an American soldier at the end, it's a woman of color. So they get points for that, at least.
Like I said, overall there wasn't as much blatant awfulness as usual, but there's certainly so much more progress to be made. At least I can chalk up Superbowl 2013 to being the year where I didn't audibly groan at my TV...at least, not too loud. Ok, I did. Whatever.