Super Bowl Sexism, by the Numbers

Though the New Orleans Saints' decisive victory left little room for Monday morning quarterbacking, the same cannot be said about the Super Bowl ads, where CBS showed just how low it can go.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Though the New Orleans Saints' decisive victory left little room for Monday morning quarterbacking, the same cannot be said about the Super Bowl ads. CBS and its advertisers served up enough offensive fare to give everyone with an opinion an opportunity to take a swing - and they're not holding back.

Amanda Hess at Washington City Paper took a turn explaining why Super Bowl ads are the way they are. Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has a witty play-by-play of what she's termed the Misogyny Bowl. Feministe takes Madison Avenue ad firms to task for forgetting it's no longer the era of Mad Men.

And just because there will never be too much analysis of sexism, here's the Women's Media Center's take:

$2.8 million
- How much Focus on the Family paid CBS to attempt to pull the wool over America's eyes. As expected, the benign ad featuring Tebow and his mom tried to hide Focus on the Family's intolerant and divisive agenda. That the ad was allegedly 'co-produced' by CBS should be seen as a serious referendum on the status of women in the media.

5 henpecked, long suffering husbands.
Before last night, I never really understood how horrible and unfair it must be to be a man. Having a job. Dressing oneself and taking out the recycling. Practicing basic human hygiene. A devastating existence made more trying by the presence of a demanding, overbearing woman. You might even have to carry her lip balm. The horror. Luckily for all the desperate men out there, Chrysler, Dove, and FLOTV produced spots on how to buy back your manhood. Buy a car. Buy some soap. Get a miniature TV. Never have to put down the toilet seat ever again.

$1200 - price of 4 Bridgestone hot rod tires.
The official tire company of the NFL served up a particularly disturbing version of male devotion to their automobiles. In this ad, a faceless driver tosses his wife out of the car and into the clutches of a waiting evil villain rather than surrender his tires. Simple math: if the tires are worth $1200, how much is this wet, abandoned woman to whom he's supposedly pledged his life worth? $1000? $800? Shameful.

2 older women sacked by big, bulky football players. In what kind of culture do we live when slamming an older women into the ground makes an appearance in not one but two commercials? Snickers rags on older people by comparing lagging players to Betty White and Abe Vigoda and then slamming them into the ground. The Focus on the Family ad tried a strange stab at humor when Tim Tebow sacked his own mother. Not funny, just unsettling.

20+ pasty office drones in their tighty whities. Even though it had the uncomfortable effect of forcing you to imagine your office mates naked, the ad was one of the few that managed to show skin without imposing sexual or homophobic tension. In fact, its' representation of real people with real bodies was a refreshing departure from the white, All-American boys and girls from central casting.

1 woman in a bath tub. Megan Fox referenced the sexting craze from her bubble bath, wondering aloud what would happen if she sent a nude pic flying around the web. The sexism goes both ways here, as Motorola assumes men lose all self-control and common sense in the face of a suggestive picture.

26. The number of laps Danica Patrick led the year she placed third at the Indianapolis 500, becoming the first woman to ever place in the top three. That she is such a successful sportswoman in a field dominated by men makes it even more frustrating to see her reduced to the logo across her breasts year after year. Even though sponsors her race car, she's never portrayed on the track. This year she's trying to live her normal life - getting a massage and appearing on a talk show - but perky blonde women keep insisting on ripping their clothes off for her. Whether it's some writer's idea of a primetime lesbian fantasy or just more catnip to draw men to the soft porn commercials on their site, is once again one of the worst sexist ad offenders of the year.

1 Creepy Beaver - Attention Women aren't born to be awarded as bikini-clad prizes to talented men OR semi-aquatic rodents. That is all.

30+ pantless dudes marching through a field. A continuation of the theme of the night: bemoaning existence as a male human being in a world of power hungry, castrating females. This ad brought to you by Dockers, the proud authors of the absurdly sexist and bizarre 'Wear the Pants' campaign that caused an outcry earlier this year. Add khaki pants to the list of things that will help men feel better about their penis size.

40 million - Estimated number of American women who tuned into the Super Bowl only to see themselves maligned, sexualized, objectified, and blamed for men's problems big and small.

Go To Homepage

Popular in the Community