Worried about Superbowl sexism this Sunday? There’s an app for that.

Super-Bowl-2014You guys… you probably don’t know this about me but I like football. When I say like, I mean love. When I say love, I mean looovvvee.

I’m a Cheesehead by birth. I make no apologies for loving the Green Bay Packers and my Twitter TL most Sundays can attest to the fact that I allow these incongruent truths to live in my body. Feminists like football, yo! Watching a well executed 2-point conversion play is kinda my shit. I know.

I say this only to add another face to the well-documented fact that women make up 55% of the football viewing audience, and nearly 50% of the Super Bowl watching audience. I have no dog in this fight this year; my season ended a month ago with a loss to the 49ers. But I do plan to watch to see how well a certain Seahawk cornerback will best the passing game of the Bronco Quarterback along with an estimated 110 million viewers (with projections indicating that it will exceed 2012′s record breaking 111.3 million viewers) expected to watch Super Bowl 48 this Sunday.

But let’s get really real for a moment; we’re also really just watching the Game for the commercials. They’re sort of unavoidable. The most expensive ad buy day of the television year is Super Bowl Sunday. And if we’re honest, the  sideshow can sometimes be way more entertaining than the halftime show.

Unfortuntely, despite their entertainment value, these commercals have a tendency to feature extremely sexist depictions of women and bolster toxic and dated tropes of masculinity.

Luckily, we can fight back. There won’t be another Beyonce halftime show this year, but there is something that is (almost) as awesome: an app to track sexism in advertising! Miss Representation has launched the #NotBuyingIt app, now available for download for free on iTunes that allows you to join in tracking and documenting sexist imagery in advertising and “directly send messages to companies producing damaging media” as well as share content directly to Facebook or Twitter. In addition, you can campaigns for positive media globally, as well as track which brands are the worst offenders. With such handy tool at your fingertips, not only can you build and connect with other communities harmed by sexist advertising, you can cross check while you shop.

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If you recall back in 2012, the Representation Project’s #NotBuyingIt Hashtag went viral during Super Bowl in direct response to particularly egregious collection of sexism in commercials. Whether it’s GoDaddy featuring scantily dressed models wetting themselves while washing cars or promoting domestic violence to sell yogurt. That pushback from our collective outrage has compelled companies, like GoDaddy (which presumes women didn’t buy domain and hosting packages…), to be responsible and address the blatant sexism and misrepresentation in their commercials.

Some companies have released their Super Bowl commercials early, to generate a mix of buzz and pre-emptive PR. So far nothing too headsmack worthy, save the already problematic Soda Stream ad that is available online and will not air during the game because it names big time sponsors of the game –Coca Cola and Pepsi– directly. It is most decidedly a sexist ad, featuring a Scarlett Johanson in the unique sex bombshell trope with an ambiguous porn soundtrack.

This year’s Dannon Oikos with John Stamos is Full House reunion of sorts.

If only Newcastle had the cash money to let this Anna Kendrick ad run. Because it’s kinda hilarious. I LOL’d.

Some folks are playing it safe with a lot of adorable puppies. Others are waiting till Sunday for the big reveal. So the verdict remains out on whether companies and their advertisers recognize that women are people and not objects, I won’t hold my breath. I’ll be ready tho. Fingertips queued up on the #NotBuyingIt app with my game face on.

sm-bio Syreeta McFadden contains multitudes, rocks green and yellow without irony, and is in fact, a Cheesehead.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    “the well-documented fact that women make up 55% of the football viewing audience”

    You read that stat wrong. The link says that 55% of women watch football, not that they are 55% of the audience.

  2. Posted February 1, 2014 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Another way to help combat sexism in ads: hire more women directors, copy writers, and creative directors.

    There is a movement to change the creative forces behind film and television, but the advertising industry remains relatively unscrutinized for its lack of women in creative decision making roles. Change this, and you’ll see the content change.

  3. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    0.4297% of NFL viewers are female (I worked it out from the stats given on the link). That’s still a big chuck of your viewing audience, so it’s not unreasonable to demand non-sexist ads from an economic perspective, if not from an ethical one.

    I really liked your article, Syreeta. That Anna Kendrick also made me LOL.

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