Monday, February 08, 2010

The Superbowl Ups Their Game

While the best word to describe what I see when I look at a football game is "static," I, like many, sat down to watch the Superbowl last night. (Go Saints!) Granted, I only watch the Superbowl every year for the commercials and (sometimes) the half-time show. The hype surrounding the ads this year was already high due to the allowance of an anti-choice ad and the denial of an ad for a gay dating site. So, more intrigued than usual about the content of the commercials, I was prepared for some mild irritation (Tim Tebow), some laughs (Betty White!), and a whole lotta unnecessary sexuality (Danica Patrick and that other token hot girl from GoDaddy). 

The objectification of women is practically standard in commercials, so much so that it's now often exaggerated for comedic effect. But last night featured far fewer babes in bikinis than in previous years. (Where there any at all?) Perhaps the folks at CBS thought the hot-chicks-and-beer images weren't for the post-wardrobe malfunction eyes of the FCC. Instead, the ads took their anti-woman agenda to a whole different level. 

Is it too much for me to call it an "agenda?" Maybe. But when I think back to the Dodge Charger commercial titled "Man's Last Stand," I think... maybe not. In the ad, the inner voice of "Average Man" goes over everything he does not want to do during the course of his day, which includes doing his job, coming home from said job, and spending time with (presumably) his wife. Because he behaves the way a human adult should, he totally deserves a car that looks like a huge penis.

Two more ads - I forget what they were for, but then, does it matter? - were especially tactless. One featured Jim Nance announcing that any man who agrees to shop with his girlfriend has "had his spine removed" and obviously needs to get it back by buying something damn manly! The other ad simply listed what "real men" should do during their lifetimes, which include falling in love with woman (subtext: and only a woman!) and then proceed to do much of what the man in the Dodge commercial complained about.

What's interesting here is that, yes, these ads are obviously offensive to women, but they've managed to now include a whole other group of people to offend: men! If I were a man, I would be rightfully horrified at these ads' portrayal of the such a blatant stereotype of the male psyche. However, if I were a guy, I'd probably think they were speaking directly to me because I, too, would feel trapped and burdened by the annals of life. Guys, if you need a car or other product to assert your manhood, I have news for you - you're not a real man yet, and buying that car won't change that. This is a new brand of misogyny. Just because it offends everybody doesn't mean it counts for equality.

So, to sum up, I've learned that yes, I am one of those stereotypical women who are confused by football, but I also learned that women, football fans or otherwise, only exist to look pretty and emasculate men. Likewise, all men secretly hate their lives and resent their girlfriends, wives, children, and even jobs for making them forget their true nature... which is apparently "being fifteen."

Sort of makes one miss the days of "Open a Bud Light, Have a Stripper Land in Your Lap," doesn't it?

6 comments:

  1. Yes! I watched commercials for the first time in a loooooong time this weekend (not Superbowl commercials... Dog Whisperer commercials. Don't judge me.) and had totally forgotten that I was supposed to be desperate for a man and ashamed of every square inch of my body. The new thing I learned I'm supposed to hate: my armpits! Turns out I am not using the right sort of hair-reducing, skin-moisturizing deoderant, and thus I will die alone.

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  2. GREAT article and commentary on the ever-boring stereotypes in the commercial/media world. And they paid 2.3 million dollars for thirty seconds of cliche. What a shame!
    I did, however, think the Doritos ads were hilarious.

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  3. Thanks, Heidi! There were definitely a few ads that made me smile, but overall I thought it was a terrible disappointment.

    And, KJ - I would never judge someone for watching the Dog Whisperer. Never.

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  4. I agreed 110 percent about the Super Bowl commercials--most were forgettable and/or sexist.

    The biggest disappointment for me was not seeing the Bud commerical about the office drive: one article of clothing for charity earns one Bud. That was classic, but not aired.

    Then again, there seemed too many "pantsless" Super Bowl ads, plus that Danica godaddy.com commercial that always offends.

    Then again, the game itself was awesome. Plus the Clydesdales, of course.

    Mary Jo in Gretna, NE

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  5. Great article! I must say I am glad I have a husband that does not fit those commercials. I didn't watch much of the Superbowl myself. My husband and I muted the game and turned it up for the commercials then we went to Starbucks for half-time. He actually likes to spend time for me and we a lot "quality time" into our busy schedules every week :) Props to my hubby!

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  6. Nicole, your husband sounds like the perfect man! Congratulations :)

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