Watching last night’s Super Bowl, with the exception of the actual football being played, was like getting a blast from the past. And I’m not just talking about the geezers who played at halftime, though seriously, seeing Pete Townshend’s midriff multiple times was at least as traumatic as Janet Jackson’s nip slip ever was. I’m also talking about the fairly disturbing ad content.
The most disturbing was probably this one from Bridgestone: At first I thought it was some sort of ad involving the Batmobile, only to realize that it was about a guy who’d rather have his tires than his wife. There was something violent and scary about the way the woman was shoved out onto the street, in the rain, to face that creepy crowd of men with power tools alone. It seriously felt to me like he was leaving his wife to be raped, because he’d rather keep his Batmobile with his Bridgestone tires. Thanks to this ad, I’ll not be purchasing Bridgestone tires if I can help it.
Another bizarre ad was this one from Dodge: Man, it sucks that this guy has to walk a dog he most likely agreed to adopt. It sucks that he apparently shares his house and life and most likely bed with a woman who’d rather not have a bunch of hair left in the sink after he shaves. It sucks that in an economy with super high unemployment, he has a job he has to be at by 8 am. It sucks that someone loves him enough to call him, and then, Oh God, he has to TAKE that call. It sucks that he has to be civil to the parents of a woman in his life, though you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to muster up some concern for your loved one’s loved ones. It sucks that he has to do girly shit like recycle. It sucks that he has to bear the burden of a lip balm in his pocket– what a horrible, terrible weight! To carry the lip balm used to make soft the lips that like to kiss you! The horror! Clearly, as a reward for all the adult-like behavior involved in having an adult-type relationship, and presumably getting the sex that goes along with it, this poor emasculated fellow needs to be rewarded with a big shiny penis in the form of a Dodge Charger!
The entire ad really confused me. If your life is that miserable, if it’s that hard for you to bring yourself to be an adult, you’re in the wrong type of relationship. Do yourself a favor and break up/get a divorce, and please, live alone, for the sake of humanity. The fact that the voiceover was Michael C. Hall from Dexter made the ad even more creepy to me. Like, if you don’t get that Dodge Charger, you might be forced to channel your emasculated rage into cutting women up into tiny pieces instead. Dodge in particular seemed to forget that women are also watching the Super Bowl, and we like cars, also. Maybe even Dodge Chargers, if the company weren’t going out of its way to let us know that they’re just for men.
And then there’s Flo TV. Maybe they’re overcompensating because Flo TV sounds like it should come with a complimentary iPad (see what I did there?), but this ad was also quite strange: That poor man! His girlfriend removed his spine! Um, you’d think a guy would be a badass for getting to go pick out lingerie with his girlfriend, offer opinions on what he thinks is hot, and then get to see that lingerie later, during sexytimes. But apparently, in Super Bowl World, having sex with women is not nearly as fun as watching tv on a hand held device, driving a car, or drinking beer with the bros. “Change out of that skirt, Jason,” really pissed me off. Because there’s nothing worse than looking like a girl (the worst of all insults) because you have a lady in your life who wants to buy lingerie and candles and then presumably have sex with you.
Perhaps all the dudes that Dodge and Flo TV are marketing to would be happier if they lived out in a field, with other men, away from the meddling influence of ladyfolk with their lingerie and recycling and crap. Then they could all get together and “wear the pants,” instead of a skirt, like poor emasculated Jason:
And then there was the sexism that wasn’t on TV, but in the room where I was watching the game: No one in the room groaned until the lady in the granny panties ran onto the scene. Then it was all “EW!” One of the other women watching the game with me remarked that we accepted the chubby males in tighty whiteys without comment, but a heavier woman in similar attire? Disgusting! Gotta love how inculcated we are with the female beauty standard.
There were more women than men at the watch party I attended, and even my husband noticed the creepy vibes in the ads, suggestions that women are just looking to trap men in relationships, and that no man could be happy in an egalitarian relationship. Perhaps someone should tell these ad agencies that if they want to sell us on something, they should stop relying on these neanderthal premises. Want to see an ad that truly worked? Leave it to Google: This ad was simple, and to the point. Because there was no dialogue, we actually got quiet, wanting to know what was going on. It actually demonstrated how to use the product it advertised, and it was heartwarming and uplifting rather than tearing down a gender or the idea of a relationship. It didn’t portray men as stupid or emasculated, or women as horrible harpies. It made me smile, and it stood out in a sea of advertising that seemed to rely on stereotypes from the past. Just another reason for me to love Google.