Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Superbowl Ads Are So

Sexist, Racist, and Homophobic


Why is the Superbowl commercial line-up, hailed as an achievement in advertising industry creativity, often so casually sexist, racist, and homophobic? Credit the ..watchful eye of the CBS Standards and Practices department, which ensures that Superbowl ads bring in millions of viewers looking to be shocked—without offending ..the delicate sensibilities of the American people.

In order to achieve this difficult balance, ad-makers are forced to play within a very small range of acceptably "outrageous" topics. Since casual sexism, racism, and ..homophobia are main sources of shock-jock humor—and since these attitudes are too pervasive to inspire true outrage in the average American—companies compete to ..put the most creative twist on the lazy stereotyping without going too far off the deep end. And so: CBS bans an ad that shows two gay men kissing, but greenlights ..several commercials that play off "gay" stuff for laughs. It bans an ad that shows a guy's head up his own ass, but lets fly a commercial that makes fun of those silly, ..backwards South Asians who answer your tech support calls (racism: officially less controversial than asses). Even the advertisement decried as the most "controversial" ..of the evening—college football superstar Tim Tebow's anti-abortion ad—concluded not with a politically controversial rallying call to life, but with Tebow totally ..sacking his own mother. That's gotta sting!

Some advertisers choose to side-step this paradigm, of course, with varying success (See: Cute farm animals in love; everyone has T-Pain's voice; coffin filled with ..Doritos). The ones that don't end up being mildly but reliably offensive, and extremely boring.


This was one of the only Superbowl ads I noticed that featured people of color. The other was a Doritos ad where a black man walked into his date's house, checked out ..her ass at length, and then received a firm slap in the face from his date's small child. In Superbowl ads, people of color are never employed to, say, return an Orca to ..the ocean after a wild bachelor party; they're just here to get some laughs out of racial stereotypes.


Welcome female sports superhero Danica Patrick, who stars in the most Meta Controversial ad of the night. In this series of commercials for, Patrick is ..going around living her normal life—receiving massages, appearing on television news programs—when she unwittingly finds herself at the center of a "controversial" ..Superbowl ad. Wherever she goes, blonde ladies are just itching to take down their hair, rip off their shirts, and become the next scandalously hot Superbowl GoDaddy ..girl. This ad could have been a clever subversion of standard Superbowl bodice-ripping if Patrick's character had been allowed to point out how totally fucking weird this Instead, viewers are asked to head online to check out the even sexier action. Just a reminder that even women who excel in traditionally male fields (a girl who's ..really good at driving!) are still forced into traditionally female representation (boobs!).

Ah yes: the "men have turned into demoralized, overly feminine wusses who can only be saved by big machines that go RRRRARRRR" category. This ad, for the Dodge ..Charger, really opened my eyes, you guys: It really sucks to be a man, especially one in a serious relationship with a woman! (Seriously, guys, if it's this bad, just break ..up with us. We're not worth it). I have one question, though: Why are you carrying my lip-balm? As a member of the gender generally expected to carry an expansive ..purse instead of utilizing her limited pant pockets to store items, I have often carried this proverbial lipbalm for my significant other. And it has never been so ..traumatizing that I've been forced to shell out $30k for a Dodge Charger to heal the pain. But then again, I don't know what it's like to be forced to carry lipbalm as a I'm sure it's very tough.

This ad subscribes to the same theory of gender as the Dodge Charger ad, but this time men can only be saved from their spineless, overly feminine lifestyles if they buy ..a hand-held television. Bonus: this ad is even clearer in its assertion that men who do anything attributed to the mysterious realm of "female shit" aren't true men. ..Change out of that skirt, Jason.

I believe that this Megan Fox ad contains the Superbowl's sole same-sex couple: Two guys who slap each other with dramatically limp wrists when they discover that one ..of them has been checking out Megan's sexy pix on the Internet. Apparently, gay men can only be represented in Superbowl ads in the pursuit of hilarity. We are truly in a post-sexual-orientation America, people.

At first, this ad was is headed firmly down the casual homophobia route: Naked dudes! Around other dudes! Touching their own nipples! But then a ..couple of underwear-clad female co-workers show up, and the ad refuses to go the aggressively heterosexual route with them. actually reveals ..itself to be the rare Superbowl advertiser that doesn't exploit boobs for faux "sexy" controversy. Ah, the complexity of Superbowl ad politics.

Posted by Amanda Hess


  1. stann: God forbid any commercial should be geared towards men, reflect the feelings of men or (worst yet) poke fun at women a little ..instead of making men look like idiots. The "Spine", "Dodge Charger" and "You're a man" commercials were some of my favorites and reflect ..what so many women don't (or refuse) know about men. This may be why so many of them are divorced or can't get a man.
  2. gdmt: stann, as a fellow heterosexual man, I think these commercials make men look totally pathetic. how can you relate to a commercial ..that makes men look resigned to spending miserable lives doing shit that they dont want to do all the time just so they can fuck a woman and a shitty dodge? maybe your life just sucks. sorry, stann.

  3. Anonymous: Something being humour doesn't give it a free pass. Sexist, racist, homophobic or heteronormative "comedy" is still sexist, racist .. homophobic or heteronormative. If you're white and walk around on Halloween wearing black face and a Jamaican flag as a "humourous" .."costume" that doesn't make you any less of a privileged, racist fuck.

    @Danny: The commercial with the black person is racist because it plays up the "black men are voracious sexual animals" stereotype.

    Likewise, things like the car commercial play into two sexist stereotypes:
    1) The screeching, domineering harpy of a woman who DARES to expect her man to act in a NON-MANLY WAY. Such as carrying incredibly light items for her. Oh ....noes.
    2) Masculinity as hyper-individualistic and domineering. The guy does whatever the fuck he wants. Compromising or doing what women want is being a pussy ..(correlation is that women are weak and obnoxious). He's a MAN'S MAN and answers to no one other than his desires, regardless of the effect they have. The fact ..that the last shred of manliness he clings to is an enormous car is very telling. It has a lot to do with ideas of traditional masculinity; taking up an inordinate ..amount of space (men often sit in a moral sprawled out way than women), big, strong, wasteful, threatening.

    It's sexist because it's tied into a culture that dominates women. It's also bad for men, because it makes them cling to a kind of masculinity which prevents ..equality and truly interconnected intersubjectivity. By calling it a mere joke you're doing a disservice to women AND men. This kind of shit needs to be kicked to ..the curb for everyone's benefit.

    Every feminist blog I've been to today (feministing, Shakesville, Pandagon, etc), has had an article about the ridiculous commercials from the Super Bowl, so ..don't patronize Amanda by acting as if she's some poor bitter feminist who can't get a man. By the way, the "can't get a man" schtick plays into the ..heteronormative idea that there are no women outside of porn. So yeah, nice job bro.

  4. Jake: As a man, I don't I've ever been more patently insulted by a raft of a commercials than the ones at the Superbowl. Holy shit, really, guys? Who are these ..guys that think that being in a relationship means doing whatever your girlfriend tells you and then responding with idiotic, passive-aggressive electronics ..purchases?

    Stann, are there really men that feel like that? I don't know any--I'm starting to worry that my pool of friends is uncommonly skewed towards the bespined.

    Seriously, though, isn't buying a huge car as a way of coping with your emasculation just treating the symptom (i.e., that you feel like a sissy) without treating ..the actual problem (i.e., that you are a sissy)?

  5. Just a simple man: Hey,Hess. There are plenty of other programs to watch. You didn't need to subject yourself to the Super Bowl and all its hoopla. Aren't you ..glad you live in a country that allows people to pay you to spew?

Sexism, homophobia, and anti-marijuana propaganda

It is amazing to think the ads below are what my parents grew up on. Even though there are quite a few sexist and homophobic ads out in today's marketplace they are not the norm. It is pretty remarkable these ads were commonplace in the 1950's, 60's, and even 70's. Back in the day commercials even ran warning boys against homosexuals and marijuana. There were toys and boardgames which reinforced gender roles. Pushing conformity and injecting anxiety was/is big business. In many aspects times have changed quite a bit, there is a dispensary for weed on almost every other corner here in Denver, The Wall Street Journal Online reports that women took on slightly more than half of U.S. jobs created in the first part of the decade and made gains in securing the most lucrative openings. Women posted a net increase of 1.7 million jobs paying above the median salary, while men gained a net increase of just over 220,000 of such positions, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, women outnumber men among people applying to U.S. medical schools. Gays can adopt children in the majority of states, can marry in a handful of states, and homophobia is way on the decline. Smoking weed has been de-criminalized in many states and medical marijuana is big business in a few states like Colorado and California. Overall in terms of social justice things are getting better, with that said, the adage, The more things change, the more they remain the same does hold true a bit seeing the amount of current homophobic and sexist ads.

If you are a confident self assured individual some lame corporate marketer's attempt at defining your view of the opposite gender, the hybrid gender (gays) or yourself simply will not work. The truly lame part is that company's market their brand or a product/service not on its quality or benefit it will bring the customer rather pushing ignorance, self doubt, fear, and anxiety. It is sooo old school and so lame for those who buy into it. I mean how many times have I seen a confident cute guy in jeans and a hanes t shirt driving an average car and another guy with ed hurly bedazzled 100 dollar tshirt in some luxury ride who looks no where near as interesting or attractive as the other guy- same goes for girls. If you have style you can look good in target brand clothes and thrift center finds and if you have no style you can look like shit spending a ton of dough. Do not get my wrong I know a Mercedes is a much better car then a KIA rio and if you have the means the Mercedes is preferable but having the Mercedes does not change anything intrinsically about yourself.

I like the new type of marketing and advertising which some have labeled as third way It is marketing that adds value to spread brand recognition. For example, Charmin put toilets in Times Square, which is useful and memorable. Other companies have installed free wireless zones in their name. Red Bull sponsors extreme sports and interesting remarkable adventures. Scion car company sponsors a lot of artsy stuff.

'Space diver' to attempt first supersonic freefall ... he will make the attempt, with help from Kittinger and sponsorship from the energy drink company Red Bull to ..break sound barrier in stratosphere free fall. (If they had not stolen the idea and tried to rip the guy off and ended up with a 375 million dollar law suit this would of ..been AMAZING marketing!!!)

Now, I like Axe commercials even though they overly sexualize women it makes sense because their only real target audience is young men who are sexual and usually favor women to have sex with. There is a time and place for sex in advertising, like shower washes and hygiene products. Conversely, stripping to promote sales of website domain names and hosting platforms is where I feel it becomes lame. Having sexy women strip in axe bath wash commercials doesn't alienate any of their customers- even gay guys who use their product get to see the hot dudes. What is really douchy of go daddy is the fact they make a huge amount of money off female business owners then the disconnect is they push women as sexual objects, not in a mix of various portrayals but rather the only portrayal- it is a breach of trust really. I definitely understand how ads have to resonate with their target audience and overly pc ads are dull- really anything overly pc is dull. But there are plenty of ways an ad could resonate with men by boosting their ego's or capturing their attention other than the boring cliched gender role bs. I feel guys would be just as interested in watching Danica Patrick perform an amazing race, even if she was dressed very sexy, it still would be showing her excelling at her professional field of car racing. Women and men alike would be more interested in her doing some amazing car stunt or a one time only super bowl race than some lame cleavage commercial. Beyond the social ethical issues the go daddy branding campaign is just not creative or good business.

So back to godaddy's FAIL...I feel they have missed the fact that women now out number men in owning small businesses, and I would imagine small business owners are the ones buying web domains and hosting accounts. So yeah, this is for super bowl which is mainly for straight men but ALL OF their ads are with sexy girls. The reason I use go daddy for my business site is not for their ads which I think are cheesy at best and sexist at worst. I mean with the amount of porn accessible now, even a 14yo's fingertips, there is nothing titillating or provocative that they really can show on TV. So why not focus on what they are good at being their amazing customer service. I can say unequivocally their customer service is amazing! Their hold times are short, their staff are knowledgeable and very helpful- there has to be some creative way to highlight those features without alienating women or gays. And lastly, if you are going to push sex, gender roles, then do so evenly and equally. Then everyone gets turned on and all is fair ;-) In the old days women were made out to be dumb mindless drones in most ads now I would argue the commercials are really more insulting to straight men.

If I was go daddy I would do a ten second intro with something like, we could go on and on about our award winning customer service, than cite some examples, but you would rather see Danica Patrick race this course created just for tonight blah blah blah... She could be super sexy and do some bad ass race or stunt and it would not be sexist or offensive and much more interesting and memorable. I mean women do not find Angelina Jolie offensive in Tomb Raider, even though she has amazing cleavage and a sexy body, because she is doing something empowering. I think most modern men prefer sexy talented women over sexy talentless women.

Shocking vintage ads from the 1950's, 60's, and 70's

This ad reads Men are better than women! Women are useful-even pleasant indoors on a mountain they are something of a drag. So don't go dragging them off a cliff just to show off your Drummond climbing sweaters. No need to. These pullovers look great anywhere. Pictured with a woman holding on for dear life as her husband ignores her carrying on conversation with his pal.

"Get that DOMINATING FEELING in a fashion FORWARD SUIT!" (Even though this is sexist, the copy is pretty damn good.)

The most ironic sexist stereotype common even today are how poor drivers women are. Ok, maybe Asians ;) jk but women? Insurance companies charge men more right off the bat just because they pack heat below- which sucks if you are a guy. Insurance companies have the data and statistics and know the fact that men are worst drivers and get in more accidents, costing them more in pay-outs. Disproving a stereotype doesn't get more clear cut than that.

Thankfully this misogynistic video is just a parody making fun of the past...


Boys Beware! Boys Beware!

Homosexuals on the prowl!

Sexism & homophobia in my opinion are directly related. This expose was done only forty-three years ago. The ignorance and stupidity is so prolific it’s stunning!





..The video above is so much more honest and inclusive and way more American. The kid made a parody video mocking homophobia which has almost a million views on

How far things have come...

...And how much things have remained the same

It is pretty obvious the "speedwalker" is a "fag" and the danger with the ad is that it continues the stereotype that gay= that type of guy. Secondly, even if someone is that flaming there is no need to come after him with a tank and bust a round of "snicker bars" aka bullets at the flamer.

1950's Thought Control...



Marijuana fuels the new rush to the Rockies

One hundred and fifty years after the last rush to the Rockies, when gold was discovered back in 1859, a new rush is on. Rocky Mountain High taking on all new meaning with ski-town medical marijuana boom.

Huge progress has been made in regards to diminishing thought control in the spheres of sexism, homophobia, and anti-marijuana p
ropaganda but there are still plenty of current sexist and homophobic ads vying for your headspace...

Homophobic ad by nike.

I like how their slogan is Raise a Champ at the bottom- Yes, we NEED Nike for parenting advice.

BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER just tastes better-oh my why not a 9er?! That will really blow her away haha Ok, this one is kind of funny but still overly sexual for slinging cheap fast food- well maybe not.

Tom Ford Men's wear.

Tom Ford

Terry Richardson has the model above looking coked out while applying lipstick using the man's belt buckled as a mirror. Yes, Luxury has been reborn I guess.

Definitely creepy

Not as creepy but still degrading.

A VERY disturbing ad in 2008 it should read something like, Suits for men who hate women.

Even though the PETA ads are well intentioned, trying to shock us by showing common treatment of animals with a human body we can closely identify with the ads still objectify women a lot more than they do men. Women are often naked, caged, and photographed in weak positions but notice how the guy's ad has him positioned in a powerful stance with his pants still on. The ads with females in them are much different in nature; well I do not really have to explain- the ads are pretty self explanatory.

My old roommate was obsessed with Peta and she was a vegetarian and would not let me have this sheep skin throw and cowhide rug in the apartment but she had countless Chanel and designer leather handbags and boots and shoes made out of leather. But again another tangent.

In all fairness to PETA I did find this ad with male nudes but the boys are gay. Jason Gaston Miley Cyrus' boyfriend and his pal bared all to lend their "celebrity" to help Peta but it he is assumed by most blogs to be gay. I mean the ads are hot and I personally like them but where are the str8 men exposing themselves for the poor little animals?

I feel bad hating on PETA because I every few months try to be a vegetarian and I think what they do is important but their ads are sexist nonetheless.

I Mean, Come On People! This hottie is definitely on my team. Give me a break...

bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbThe Guy in the purple is Lovin Life!!!

Ok not to get side tracked with Miley's new super smoking hot (gay) boyfriend. I added the pics because one of my female friends recently told me I think everyone is gay. Which is not true. But Come On! This kid is definitely gay. But anyway back to my original observation that only the girls and gay boys are stripping for the poor little animals. Now I have gone off on another tangent, like Arnold and weed, but it is all related in my head lol

OH SHIT, I think I just hit a new personal low- speculating on tween celebrity's sexual preference...Now I am the one being sexist- who cares really. But damn he is hot!

With a title like Tidy up for your girlfriend I thought this may be sexist towards men but no lol

Less common but similarly themed sexist ads towards men...

Beyond sexism, racism or homophobia there is something bigger and creepier about all the ads. The bigger picture is thought control. In my opinion it is more about turning humans into corporate mindless nervous insecure shallow consumers. And marketers just work with the tools they are given. Really in the end of the day it is all about who has the dough and the power. Do not get me wrong, I know there has always been commerce and sales since our origins but post ww2 it seems to have taken on a new larger more significant role in all of our lives. I am a major consumer myself and love nice things but I feel it should be the wall paper in the background not so in our faces and so far reaching that shopping affects how we have sex and behave towards one another. We are bombarded with messages non-stop and sometimes they are uplifting soul fulfilling messages more far more often ads play to the lowest common denominators- fear and anxiety. Hopefully you tube, viveo, blogging and the information sharing age in general will bring more enlightenment creativity and inclusiveness...I have a feeling it will.

On a side note writing that last paragraph made me feel like Jerry Springer when he would wrap up the shit show with a sentimental little ditty about life. LOL Oh God. Time to walk the dog.

This video expresses what I am talking about...

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