Super Bowl Commercials: Antiquated Gender Roles for Sale!

There is nothing that enhances the Super Bowl experience more for men than lessons during the commercial breaks on pervasive sexism in the media. Though I didn’t have a decisive opinion on which team I was rooting for (I wanted the tearful murderer to lose, but I also wanted Sandra Bullock’s son to win, except they were both on the Ravens so just call me Natalie Imbruglia [I’m torn]), I was certainly sure about one thing: the sexual objectification of women in Super Bowl commercials is a major bummer!

I’ll admit that not every commercial was sexist; some were racist and some had cute animals.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m talking about this subject since women are allowed to vote and because it’s technically illegal for a male employer to rub his khaki covered genitals against a female employee while he pretends to reach for a coffee filter in the break room. You’d think between the right to participate in a democratic society and the right to not get Mad Men-ed at work we woman would finally feel like we have it all. Well, there’s still a bunch of stuff we could all work on, so why don’t we have a ourselves a kiki and talk this mothah out?

To make sense of it all, I have broken down some of the stand-out commercials and rated their lady-hating on a scale of arbitrary numbers and symbols.

AUDI

So this sad, dateless boy is driving to prom in his Audi, when suddenly some kind of penis adrenaline fumes emitting from the car seep into his brain. He hits the gas, marches into prom, physically grabs a hot girl, turns her around, and kisses her. CUT TO: Boy driving home with a black eye, presumably caused by the boyfriend of the girl he just assaulted. Fade to black and the word, “bravery”.

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 10.41.38 AM

Score: I’ll give this one 5 Notre Dame Football Players. This commercial basically says that it’s manly to take what’s owed to you (the sexuality of women) and taking a punch for it is cool and admirable (oh, and every girl secretly wants “it”). Little white boy, you are just so brave. Like, adolescent leukemia patients have nothing on you.

GoDaddy

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 2.28.49 PMI just posted a screenshot instead of the actual video because I have a strict “no audible kissing” policy on my blog. The commercial is basically talking about how GoDaddy is sexy and smart, with a sexy woman and smart man making out. Poor, Bar Refaeli. This is just the absolute worst way to stick it to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Score: 3 Ed O’Neills from Little Giants. The ad was just perpetuating the stereotype that women should only be valued for their looks and men for their intellect.

Toyota

Here, Kaley Cuoco plays a fully clothed genie granting wishes for a family. Although I don’t think a scantily clad woman is inherently sexist, sometimes it’s just refreshing to see an attractive young woman in a well-fitting pants suit, boobies contained. The best part of the ad was when the young daughter asks the genie to make her a princess, and instead of just dipping that girl in glue and rolling her in glitter like I was expecting, they turn her into this badass Joan of Arc-y princess complete with a sword and army.

Score: 10 Tami Taylors. I can drive my 2006 Corolla proudly knowing that it’s both dependable and socially conscious.

Manti Te’o: Just a Kid Who Never Saw “Cruel Intentions”?

Teo

Like many others who have heard about Notre Dame football player, Manti Te’o and his fake dead girlfriend, I’m struggling with whether or not I believe that Manti was tricked or in on the whole charahhhd. This kid is either the saddest little Mormon since Julie from Real World: New Orleans or a sociopath. Though, there is a third option that I’m not sure anyone else has thought of:

In this scenario, he’s still pathetic, but instead of falling in love with a girl on twitter, he makes up a girlfriend so he has an excuse as to why he can’t date rape freshmen with the rest of his teammates on Friday nights. Eventually, the other boys get suspicious.

“Manti, why doesn’t Lennay ever come visit you? Is she coming to the big game today?”

“Uh… she can’t…”

“Again?! I’m starting to think that you don’t really have a girlfriend.”

“No, I have a girlfriend! She just can’t come because she’s… dead.”

“She’s dead? Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Well… she only died like… 12 hours ago…”

“Wait, didn’t your grandmother die yesterday, too?”

“It’s been a real humdinger of a week.”

“I’m so sorry, man. How did Lennay die?” Manti looks around nervously and catches a glimpse of fellow teammate, Luke, at his locker.

“Luke….kemia.”

END SCENE

If this was the case, I almost feel some sympathy for the guy. He probably never thought it would go this far, and people probably lie about having significant others all the time. Do you remember Boyfriend in a Box?

bfbox

They used to sell them at Claire’s back when that store was a 90’s Spice Girl fantasia full of hair mascara and magnetic earrings. They were these little kits filled with wallet sized pictures of a cute boy, a couple notes from him, and a little backstory. Apparently, they sold pretty well, but some pictures and a note isn’t enough to keep a lie like that going. And your “girlfriend” having a Twitter account doesn’t prove she’s real either.

Regardless of whether this guy was in on the hoax or not, the real idiots here are the journalists.

Did this story not sound at all strange to any of them? A young 22 year-old is dying, and she tells the love of her life not to attend her funeral? Right there, someone should have realized that something was off. I don’t know any young woman that would tell her boyfriend to play football instead of attending her funeral. That’s something your dying, selfless mother tells you to do. Any self-respecting woman wants her boyfriend at that funeral, front and center, eulogizing to all your family, friends, and acquaintances that he may never love again. That is the fantasy. It does not take Veronica Mars to figure that one out.

manti-teo-girlfriend-screenshot-1

And yet, as careless as those journalists were, there is no one as stupid as the Notre Dame football coaches. Stupid, might not be right. What’s the word for awful, a-moral, good ole’ boys who put football before the safety of young women? It’s the antonym of “Coach Taylor”. Idk, lemme know if you think of it. I’ll just call them jerks for now.

Those jerks are standing behind Manti (fine), but what chaps my ass is that they are calling him a “victim”.

A victim of whom? His parents for never letting him watch Cruel Intentions? Obviously, they didn’t teach him that not everyone is a Mormon, Sleepy Time tea drinker who wouldn’t think to lie and manipulate another one of God’s creatures just for fun. Or perhaps he’s the victim of a negligent teenage babysitter that let him roll off the couch as an infant because only a severe childhood head trauma could explain this level of naïveté. This kid is just stupid or maybe a liar.

If you want to talk about a real victim, Lizzy Seeberg was an actual living girl who is now dead. 

elizabeth-seeberg

When she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player, nobody called her a victim or even investigated her claim until 15 days after she made the report or 5 days after she killed herself. Another young woman was attacked by a Notre Dame football player but never reported it because some players harassed her until she was too afraid to come forward. When you think about what his teammates have probably done, Manti doesn’t seem so bad, after all. So he probably pretended to have a girlfriend.  Who hasn’t lied at a family party that you’re “seeing someone special” when in reality you went on one blind date 6 weeks ago and haven’t heard from them since?

Baby’s First College Football Game

If you can believe it, I’ve never actually been to a college football game. I graduated from an arts and communications college where one of our biggest sports is Quidditch, (if that puts anything into perspective for you) and instead of having a football team, we have a witty t-shirt with an inside joke about how we really, seriously don’t have a football team (this should also be giving you a better frame of reference of where I graduated). Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia wore it in an episode, and I promise you that was a prouder moment for our school than winning any football game would have been. Apparently, “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” means nothing to those hipsters.

“Emerson Football: Undefeated Since 1888″

Okay, that was pretty cool…

Though I graduated from Emerson, I spent a semester at James Madison University in Virginia and they had a football team (and a Sbarro!) but I was too busy crying in my loft bed to ever go to a game, which I kind of regret, but I didn’t get into Friday Night Lights until after I transferred, so I had no idea that just across campus I had the perfect backdrop for my coming-of-age story. (Luckily, I spent a summer in San Antonio and I got to live out my FNL fantasies… Texas Fur-ever!).

Since I missed out on football for my whole college career, I was excited when my friend, Michelle (longtime readers have probably seen her pretty face on this blog before) invited me to tailgate at her boyfriend’s football game at Tufts University.

What a wonderful autumn activity! I broke out my horse sweater from the H&M children’s department (don’t get me started on my love for the discounts you can find in the husky kid’s aisle), my American Apparel winter leggings, an army jacket and over-the-knee boots, and prepared for some brisk, outdoor day drinking with college kids.

It actually was like, 80 degrees, and I was just sweating through my cotton/poly blend, and apparently Tufts kids aren’t that into sports because the only people tailgating were the players parents, which is fine, because the only thing I like more than preying on 21 year old boys is drinking with parents. I’m a big fan of getting a casual buzz on with the 40-60 year old crowd, and I say that without a hint of irony.

 {Pumpkin cocktail… made of pumpkin and probably heavy whipping cream or something.}

It turns out that a game at Tufts is pretty similar to what I imagine it would be like if Emerson College had a football team:

A hipster pep band director wearing what I assume is a vintage, wool marching band jacket that you KNOW no one is making him wear. In 80 degree weather.

Pep band kid eating some breakfast at 1:30. I swear this kid had a fully operational Dunkin’ Donuts under his bleacher seat. He just kept pulling food and beverages out every 45 minutes.

I will say, cheerleader on her cellphone while she’s on the field never would have happened at Emerson. We did have a cheerleading squad, and the Cheerios would have NEVER been so unprofessional. When an Emerson kid is on, they. ARE. ON.

Michelle and I with Jumbo. Tufts lost, but it was all worth it because I was allowed to play with pom poms for a full 3 hours.