Whenever I hear or read the phrase "Sexism and the Superbowl" it reminds of "Sex and the City." So in my head this post is set to the "Sex and the City" theme song and read as a voice over for a stylish, yet empowering montage. Are you ready, ladies, acid tongued gay side kicks, and the occasional straight man who will most likely be the victim of over sharing?
Good! Let's brunch!
There's no doubt that as usual there was some sexist stuff happening in the Superbowl ads and half time show:
You know that Audi ad where the nerd strides up to the Homecoming Queen and kisses her like it's 1945 and he's back from war? The only time the girl reacts like that is in John Hughes movies. In real life the girl freaks out at the violation that is you thinking it's okay to act your romantic fantasy out on her body without permission. Then she smacks you, cries, and BOOM! you, my friend, are 'that rapey guy.'
And wouldn't it be great if Go Daddy thought of women as something other than orgasm inducing arm candy who occasionally incubate and perform domestic tasks?
For your half time entertainment hot chicks will dress in something resembling their underpants while dancing around provocatively. It's cool, though, because it may or may not be an empowering underpants dance like, "Hey everyone, ogling me in my underpants! That's right. I'm awesome. But SUCK IT! Because I don't care what you think, I don't need you, I'm independent. Though my lyrics and current attention demanding gyrating might suggest that my appearance, sexuality, and general self worth do crave a lot of external approval so I only don't need you if everyone else is still willing to validate me. Confused as to where embracing your sexuality ends and objectification begins? Join the club! I'm an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a bustier! ::: hip thrust :::."
Sexy Lady Scantily Clad For No Practical Reason is not a new advertising technique. In an era of stay at home dads and Hillary 2016 a lot of people have the vocabulary and the guts to call bullshit.
Lord knows they have and I'm thankful for that. And it's been covered. And covered. And covered. Complete with links to the ads and performances.
But let's be real: In the age of 'the only bad kind of buzz is no buzz' the backlash and the outcry are part of the marketing strategy in the first place. Sex sells. So does sexism. When people spot it in such obvious forms blog posts, tweets, and 'water cooler' discussions - in other words, the much craved buzz - inevitably erupt. Crying, "OMG! CONTROVERSIAL!" and providing a youtube link is exactly what they want you to do.
So if sexist content is the new adorably shareable talking animal then what? You've got to call it out. But what do you do when the company making the sexist ad is counting on your call out to create buzz in order to gain name recognition and sell more product?
The question isn't if there is sexism happening here. It's how can we stop sexism from selling?