Superbowl Sexism: Spineless, skirtless edition

I’m sensing an anxious masculinity theme for the Superbowl commercials this year. I mean, we get it, dudes: You’re worried about being castrated by lavender scented candles and shopping with your lady friend. Go kill something, quick! And for the love of god, stop being nice to your girlfriend.

Amanda’s take on this one is dead on: “The way for a man to regain his balls/spine, suggested the ad, was to get a Flo TV so that he could passively-aggressively watch his game while pointedly ignoring his wife on their outing while technically obeying her overbearing feminine demands he’s powerless to resist openly. “

Transcript after the jump

Narrator (CBS Sportcaster Jim Nantz): Hello friends, we have an injury report on Jason Glasby [last name somewhat unclear]

As you can see, his girlfriend has removed his spine, rendering him incapable of watching the game.

Girlfriend: Come on, silly!

Nantz: Boy, that’s hard to watch.

Jason: (sniffing candle) How about lavender?

Nantz: How about not? Jason, get yourself the FloTV personal television. It’s live mobile TV so now live sports goes where you go. Change out of that skirt, Jason.

Join the Conversation

  • Gender Across Borders

    I saw that commercial and didn’t find it funny. Ironically, while over emphasizing masculinity in the commercial, the name “Flo TV” seems much like the name of the “iPad”—I wonder if women were involved in the marketing process for that name as well?

  • klompen

    All I can think about watching that ad is my best friend’s husband. He’s a sports-watching computer scientist, married to her for over 6 years, and he LOVES cross-dressing, especially in the color pink. That ad would make him want to going shopping.

  • Steph

    This ad really drove me nuts last night. UGH.
    “Change out of that skirt”: Get it? Because only GIRLS wear skirts and who would want to be a girl?!
    hahahahaha. Good one FloTV.
    I really love the sport of football and I was really excited for the game – it turned out to be worth the excitement too! – but this commercials, and others, really ruined it for me.


    Does FloTV really think that all married guys have mean mommy/overgrown baby relationships with their wives?
    I would hope that a married guy who doesn’t like going clothes shopping with his wife would actually communicate with her and tell her he doesn’t want to go to the lingerie store with her, he’d rather watch a football game instead.
    Isn’t that what mature people in long term adult relationships do – communicate about their differences, so they can come to a mutually satisfactory compromise?
    But no, that doesn’t exist in FloTV’s universe – instead, innocent childlike men who just want to do manly fun stuff like watch football get bullied by their shrewish, harpy wives and are “forced” to go along with their wives’ feminine killjoy agenda.

  • Lilith Luffles

    All men love football and hate shopping. All women hate football and love shopping. Women only want to shop during the big game. Men don’t get the least bit excited at the thought of their girlfriend/wife picking out sexy underwear. Men should not enjoy things that smell good. Men are forced by their wives to go shopping. Women are unable to detect that standing around looking unhappy means “I don’t want to be here.”
    This list of false statements and broad generalizations this commercial makes is almost never ending, isn’t it? Here’s an idea, use your communication skills to say “no” or “not today” or look for a partner that likes doing things you do. Oops! Forgot, straight people can’t do that because men and women are the opposite of each other!

  • Comrade Kevin

    I found that tremendously offensive, and especially because I’ve been accused of the same thing.
    “So, why do you hang out in Feminist spaces, Kevin? Doesn’t that make you uncomfortable? Are you totally whipped?”
    Um, no. I’m afraid you’ve missed the point altogether.

  • Sloppy Sandwich

    FloTV can kiss my grits.

  • onlynow

    “I would hope that a married guy who doesn’t like going clothes shopping with his wife would actually communicate with her and tell her he doesn’t want to go to the lingerie store with her, he’d rather watch a football game instead.”
    Yes, that is the right answer of course. But I know many men who just can’t do that. Why exactly is an interesting question. Are they simply inhibited from articulating their opinion? Are they conditioned to defer to the demands of their female partner? At some level do they think their opinion is less valuable than hers? Is it that they can’t hold their own in a disagreement with their female partner because of inferior verbal/emotional/psychological skills, so they submit rather than subjecting themselves to another humiliating defeat? Is it an Oedipal association of the female partner with the mother, so that she inherits the maternal authority?
    Regardless of the psychology, the advertisers are clearly reaping rewards by exploiting this type of dysfunctional relationship dynamic.

  • Brittany

    This also makes fun of men that ENJOY shopping like this, alone or with their wife.
    But of course, all women love shopping and hate football, and all men love football and hate shopping.
    This is problematic on so many levels.
    Has anyone seen the Budweiser (I think it was Budweiser anyway) book club commercial? That should be posted as well.

  • supremepizza

    From my observation of married friends this type of dysfunction–on both sides of the gender line–is rampant.
    “I’d love to hang out with the girls tonight but my husband will get mad”…
    “I’d love to go watch that game tonight but my wife is mad at me so I better stay home”…
    These are real comments I get from my married friends & I get them every week. Part of being a “we” is the huge subservience of “I”. Every day of marriage is a compromise.

  • Mr M. Crockett

    If only there was something akin to Adblock Plus for the telly…

  • Destra

    1. Shopping for intimates with your partner is FUN. You get to pick some things out you like, and some things they like.
    2. Some men actually like to shop (gasp!), and further yet, some women don’t like to shop! (double gasp!!)
    3. Not all men want to watch sports 24/7
    4. Fuck the tired skirt=woman=spineless. Fuck that.

  • jayjay323

    The one thing I don’t quite understand is that there seems to be no understanding here that all those ads are indicative of a real problem that is not being addressed. Courtney tentatively mentioned the problem last week when she looked at Sam Bees dailyshow feature. No one knows what masculinity means these days so all that bollocks seems like a life boat. Confused about your life? About women? About what it means to be a man? Enroll at Burger King, get yourself a Dodge, etc… The real problem is that, for men, even adressing such an issue openly, will make them “vagina men” in the eyes of many women (and men). So they don’t. And such advertisements are the only form of social communication about an important social issue… sucks. But that’s the way it is.

  • childfree_feminist

    You guys should read some of the comments on YouTube following this vid….grrrr

  • Pantheon

    So the premise of the ad seems to be that this guy is so downtrodden and controlled by his wife that he’s afraid to even say that he doesn’t want to go shopping. Sounds like he’s the victim of an emotionally abusive relationship to me. Setting aside whether or not this is actually a common problem in real life, can you imagine an ad featuring an emotionally abusive relationship going the other way? (Which actually are common in real life).
    Can you picture an ad like this? “Hey, women, are you in a relationship with a controlling and emotionally abusive man? Are you afraid to stand up to him? Does he try to control every aspect of your life? Well, if you buy our nifty new phone with pre-paid minutes, you can call your parents and friends without him noticing!”
    I bet the backlash against that ad would be even stronger. (I can’t claim there’s been no backlash against these superbowl ads, since I’ve already read far more about the insulting ads than about the game. Someone won, right? ;-) )

  • Libbierator

    You’re right, jayjay. But I don’t think there’s no understanding here; rather, I think sometimes it’s easier to deal with this kind of thing with humor than to talk about it seriously. But that’s not true for everyone; it seems like you would rather talk about it seriously. And that’s also okay. (And, I would hope, welcome here.)
    Also, I completely agree with you. We *do* live in a confusing world, where to someone who is not well versed in feminist anything OR conservative anything, I can definitely see getting confused, with a whole bunch of people saying “Revise gender! Gender is stupid and outdated!” (though obviously it’s more complicated than that) and a whole bunch of other people saying, “We need a return to traditional gender roles! We’ve lost our way! Look at how fucked up the world is!” (which i assume is also more complex than I just stated.) Which do you choose? Who do you listen to and how much and how much do you incorporate it into your own life and what do *you* actually want and what is a man and what is a woman, anyway? And why does it matter? Should it?

  • a.k.a.wandergrrl

    I find this very sad. My husband & I encourage and support each other in pursuing our interests whether or not they are mutual. I do agree, though, that there are lots of people out there who fall into these roles and don’t realize that they could be much happier if they stopped to think about it for a moment. A marriage is made up of two individuals, not one uni-human. Hee hee, funny image.

  • Tia

    Compromise is one thing, subservience is another. I have ended several relationships because my partner refused to be just that – my partner. Not my slave, but a partner who will voice their wants, needs, and opinions, even if they don’t immediately mesh well with my own. Subservience breeds resentment and diminishes respect.

  • jayjay323

    Hey Libbierator,
    thanks for the reply. Well, I’m not sure how much it *should* matter, but I know it does matter. And it will probably matter as long as humanity comes in two main forms that heavily influence each other through mutual sexual attraction.
    I don’t think it’s a matter of two simple alternatives either, but people will take what they’re given. And as long as men who state their uncertainty are being laughed at by both women and men, they won’t do it, and this debate – which I think is one particularly pertinent to feminism – will not really happen.
    If anything, it’s really a disply of how much your two camps analysis is right. But without people winning the middle ground this debate will never get anywhere.