Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Super Bowl Ads: Sexism or Satire?

This week there is a lot of talk about the ads broadcast on the Super Bowl. Most of the complaints are that the ads were sexist and racy. I watched the Super Bowl and re-watched the commercials online and a really did not see the blatant sexism that everyone else seems to see. Yes, the GoDaddy! commercials were somewhat racy, but they were mostly just really stupid and very poorly made. (To the GoDaddy! folks, I think that niche has run it's course.) Other complaints were for the Bud Light commercial with the book club. They seem to think that it makes men seem stupid because a man would rather play softball than attend a book club unless...there's Bud Light. Another commerical from a company called FloTV depicted a man being led around the mall by his wife/girlfriend instead of watching "the big game." Still another commerical for Dodge insists that a man will perform all the duties require by his wife/girlfriend as long as he drives his muscle car.

Are these commercials sexist or even worse misogynist? In my humble opinion, no. This was the Super Bowl, the biggest manTV moment all year. Naturally, the commercials are going to be geared toward a male audience. Secondly, most of the commercials were satirical in nature. They began with a premise that mot men, at least married men, can identify with and then purposefully went over the top for the sake of humor. Granted that some commercials achieved this better than others. It is still satire. Thirdly, I think that this was a reaction against the political correctness of the last 15-20 years.

Do these commercials take us back "to the Dark Ages" of the pre-feminist 1950's? Are women "the new targets" of advertising wrath? I really don't think so. I am sure that I will get some flak from my more liberal colleagues, but just because I did not think these particular set of commercials were sexist doesn't make me a chauvinist or misogynist. But if you know me you already knew that.


Hope said...

Hi there,

I actually googled "blatant sexism and super bowl advertising", and your blog popped up.

I googled this because, weeks later, this is still a topic that is on my mind. I was wondering if anyone else was dialoguing about what I could only deem to be sexism cloaked in satire.

I respect your opinion, and I see the points that you are making. But from a woman's perspective, these adds seemed to hint at a deeper truth. To say that this type of cloaked sexism is acceptable simply because this televised event is ultimately "for men" only further demonstrates the undercurrent of sexism that is still pervasive in our culture.

I can take a joke, and lighthearted humor at the other sex's expense is nothing to " get my panties all in a twist about" ( as some men would say), but advertisers are extremely intelligent, and speak to the heart of their demographic. As such, what I saw during the Super Bowl, were advertisers acknowledging and and attempting to capitalize on a pervasive sexism in the heart of America's "every man" and that "every man's" desire to see this sexism validated on a worldwide, culturally acceptable level.

I see that you are a pastor. What a beautiful and noble calling. I hope that you will think about sexism in our culture, and within the teachings of the Christian faith. I have been doing a great deal of research and study on both of these issues, and hope to encourage men and women of faith to look deep within themselves and their religious establishments to root out all forms of prejudice, sexist or otherwise.

In peace, Hope

Hope said...

PS. I read some of your other blog posts and, though I do not agree with everything that you have to say, I'm glad that you're not afraid to speak your mind. I am also glad to see that you seem to be compassionate toward GLBT matters. There are many pastors who are not.

B Smith said...


Thanks for reading and thank you for your push back. I see where you are coming from. As a member of the dominating gender, sometimes things that seem benign to me are more insidious underneath the surface. I think these commercials are part of a reaction to the so-called political correctness in popular culture. This reaction can be seen as a resurgence of the "it's a man's world" mentality. However, I see this as more tongue in cheek than a serious threat to the progress made by women. Here again, I am coming from a obviously skewed point of view. I appreciate your comments and again, thanks for reading.