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 »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
15 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
×