Super Bowl Ads Decidedly Less Sexist Than Last Year’s

Call it progress, or something.

National Journal
Lucia Graves
See more stories about...
Lucia Graves
Feb. 3, 2014, 8:59 a.m.

Any­one who watched Nina Ag­dal writhe in a black string bikini to sell sand­wiches for Carl’s Jr. can tell you that the gender polit­ics of last year’s Su­per Bowl ads left something to be de­sired. (I’m hon­estly not sure wheth­er it’s worse to link or not to link to this, but for those of you who’ll Google it any­way, here you go.)

In fact, the ads were so bad they in­spired the launch of an app to track sex­ism in this year’s ads. Re­leased by fem­in­ist group the Rep­res­ent­a­tion Pro­ject, the app didn’t crown a win­ner for the ad with the most un­for­tu­nate gender polit­ics this Su­per Bowl. But Twit­ter did.

The un­of­fi­cial tiara went to Volk­swa­gen’s Su­per Bowl ad, in which nearly all the en­gin­eers por­trayed were white men (who, as we men­tioned last week, are every­where), ex­cept for one lady en­gin­eer in an el­ev­at­or who’s the butt of a sexu­al har­ass­ment joke. That ad, for hate-watch­ers, is here:

The sup­posed sil­ver lin­ing is that just be­fore that, toy star­tup Gol­dieBlox had an ad up en­cour­aging girls to build things. That’s the fron­ti­er of fem­in­ism right now, ap­par­ently. The com­pany was foun­ded by Stan­ford-trained en­gin­eer Debbie Ster­ling with the stated aim of “dis­rupt­ing the pink aisle” in Amer­ica, and it’s been hailed as a big fem­in­ist suc­cess.

I wrote this fall about how Amer­ica doesn’t really seem ready for a re­volu­tion around the polit­ics of chil­dren’s toys, how des­pite the rhet­or­ic, Gol­dieBlox’s toys are still mostly pink or pas­tel and the nar­rat­ives they put forth still of­ten re­volve around prin­cesses and glit­tery junk.

And yet, as any­one who stifled their own vomit dur­ing last year’s Su­per Bowl watch­ing Bar Re­faeli make out with some un­sus­pect­ing nerd to sell do­main names for GoDaddy.com can af­firm (hate link is here), we can’t help but ad­mit we’re ahead of where we were in 2013.

GoDaddy has ac­tu­ally gone to con­ser­able lengths to im­prove their pub­lic im­age, re­cently hir­ing Deutsch New York to help them move bey­ond their his­tory of sleazy mar­ket­ing. That hire didn’t pay off in 2013, as my last para­graph can at­test, but this year they did fi­nally man­age to do bet­ter; one ad, about a wo­man who quits her day job to pur­sue her dream of start­ing a pup­pet busi­ness, ac­tu­ally had a quasi-em­power­ing mes­sage for any would-be lady small-biz own­ers out there!

Maybe my stand­ards are hope­lessly high, but I don’t think that’s say­ing much.

What We're Following See More »
11 HOUSE MEMBERS NOW BEHIND HIM
Two Committee Chairs Endorse Trump
12 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.

Source:
BUT WOULD HE THROW THE CHAIR?
Bobby Knight: Trump Would Drop the Bomb Just Like Truman
12 hours ago
THE LATEST
LAST PLACE
Trump Still Struggling for Endorsements
15 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
MORE INDEPENDENTS, FEWER SUPERDELEGATES
Sanders Could Force Changes to Nominating Process
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

There are not "ongoing, direct conversations between" the Bernie Sanders camp and the Hillary Clinton camp regarding "the platform or rules changes," but Sanders "is already making his opening arguments" about those issues on the stump. Sanders is putting "complaints about closed primaries" atop his stump speeches lately, and figures to start a "conversation about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process." He said, “Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party."

Source:
‘LUCIFER IN THE FLESH’
Boehner Says He Wouldn’t Vote for Cruz
19 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Well, this is unsubtle. Former Speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz "lucifer in the flesh," adding that he "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life." Boehner has endorsed John Kasich, but he said he'd vote for Donald Trump over Cruz. He also praised Bernie Sanders, calling him the most honest politician in the race, and predicted that Joe Biden may yet have a role to play in the Democratic contest, especially if Hillary Clinton runs into legal trouble over her emails.

Source:
×