Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Three Most Anti-Male Commercials from this Year's Super Bowl

This article comes from the Men's Anti-Violence Council. They offer their analysis of this year's Super Bowl commercials and find three of them especially derogatory toward men in various ways. What do you think?

Superbowl 2013 Ads: New Ads, More of the Same Pandering

By mensantiviolencecouncil

It is that time of year again. Arguably one of the highest rated programs in the country, the superbowl commands top tier, star studded advertising like none other.

If you are anything like me, this might be one of the few times you stick around FOR the ads.

If economic theory tells us anything, then the sky high costs of advertising for during the superbowl (estimated to cost well over $3 million per thirty second spot) should say what companies think sells with the American public.

So what is selling these days?

Besides the usual animated babies (in space!), amazing cameos (including Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler), Clydesdales, and farmers; the super bowl also featured a number of questionable choices as well.

What do I mean by “questionable choice?” I mean that these three commercials represent some of the worst advertising gender tropes and objectifications of the game.

3. If it has boobs, men will buy it.

GoDaddy is arguably one of the worst offenders of the bunch. It ranks as number three because their efforts are half-hearted and transparent. As a technology company that builds websites, nudity and sex has absolutely nothing to do with their services or their products. Yet like the game companies that sponsor “booth babes,” GoDaddy makes a wide assumption that men, particular men in the technology field, are helpless at the sight of buxom and scantily clad women. It is an endorsement of the objectification of women as “flair” for technology products. Furthermore, as someone who fancies himself a male geek, I am offended. You can check out their video here:

2. Men who do not conform to gender codes are an object of derision

I’m a little torn on including the Dorrito’s commercial on this list, but ultimately, I think the ad falls short of its intended purpose (dorritos will make us do anything) and instead ends up casting aside the men who don women’s clothing to play tea party with their daughters as emasculated. This is shown in two parts, one of which being the mother who chastises the husband and the other in the fact that even wearing women’s clothing the men egg each other on, less like an enjoyment of the setting and more like a fraternity hazing event.

Feel free to disagree, but you can find positive images of cross dressing, but this is not one of them.

1. Women are less important than objects

Objectification of women has long been a part of media strategy. It has percolated in US culture in a plethora of ways from the phrase “I would tap THAT” (emphasis added), and Comedian Daniel Tosh who joked about how “funny” it would be if a heckler at his show was suddenly gang raped.

I’m no expert on humor, but I imagine a few women in New Delhi, Steubenville Ohio, Montana, and across the world would disagree. As a man I disagree. But such is the freedom of speech. It allows us to debate about humor but does not and should not condone violence of the most intimate variety.

Which is why Gildan’s, a t-shirt manufacture, initial foray into brand advertising was so surprising. A man sneaking away from a one night stand, clearly suffering the affects of too much alcohol, is more concerned with his shirt than the woman he slept with is disquieting in ways that the other commercials are not. Whether this was the result of trying to start a national ad campaign for the first time or some greater design, their commercial hits the number one problematic advertisement of Superbowl 2013. Not because of its overt content, but for the implicit messages that it seems to condone.

But that is just one person’s opinion. What did you think of the 2013 ads?

EDIT: Dishonorable mention goes to Volkswagon for the cooption of a Jamaican accent. It plays on stereotypical notions of accent, attitudes, and behaviors. Perhaps not the worst offender everywhere, but problematic none the less.

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