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.

The Life of a Promo Girl*

*I mean Promo WOMAN.

If you’re not familiar with what a promo female is (or as I so coyly put it on my resume, a “Brand Ambassador”) you need only think back to your last visit to a bar when a young woman in some kind of midriff baring outfit that’s only appropriate to wear at the Teen Choice Awards circa 1997, came up to you and offered up some free Captain Morgan’s paraphernalia. I have never done this kind of “marketing”– the most revealing outfit I ever wore for a promo was a red American Apparel jumper with an Amstel Light tee and matching red Keds. Admittedly, I looked adorable.

Feminism!

The kind of promo stuff I do requires me to wear a brand tee shirt and jeans or black “professional” wear. If I’m going to look like a whore, I do it when I am off the clock– my parents raised me with standards, okay?

I either go to a bar, an event or a super market and do samplings of whatever drink I’m promoting, but most recently I’ve just been handing out beer samples at the grocery store. This is both the best and worst job ever.

Best:

  • It’s so easy. You literally just stand there with no one supervising you.
  • You get payed pretty well, and shifts are generally 2-3 hours.
  • The bar is set exceptionally low. I hate to generalize, but I’ve been in the biz for years, Kid, and there are a lot of dummies doing this. Worse than being dumb, most promo girls are lazy and perpetually a half hour late. I’m a model employee by being only 5 minutes late, actually smiling at people, and making a minimal effort to hide my phone behind a tower of beers while I text.

Worst:

  • Ugggh…. people. Just all these people. And you have to fake laugh at their jokes and you can’t tell them to leave when they start trying to recite the Dos XX’s slogan to you.
  • There is literally nothing more depressing than just observing people at a suburban grocery store in a predominately middle class area. Just because they’re giving out free chocolate chip cookies at the bakery doesn’t mean your 7 year old on a leash needs to eat it! Also, there are so many older women who seem to be positively indignant towards the accepted practice of wearing a bra in public.
  • The only thing to pass the time is to think. Like, about all your life’s choices leading up to this moment, and why did you major in acting, and should you have even bothered going to college at all since it’s pretty clear that you don’t need a BA to pour beer while you smile and go numb as some middle aged man hits on you? And other things like that.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a bad economy and I’m happy to at least have some form of income to pay for my clothing and margaritas habit. Plus, it could be worse. I see the envy in the little 12 year old stock boys’ eyes every time I get to leave for the day.