I rarely watch televised sports but I did see part of the recent Superbowl. For a while, I watched the ads in silent horror. Finally I asked my spouse if it was just me or were the ads a systematic mix of portraying women as bimbos and men as stupid slobs? Your wife or your tires? And the tires win? Luckily for the future – he agreed.
The next day I anticipated a firestorm of criticism from womens groups and non-profits interested in advocating for women’s social and professional advancement. To be completely honest I anticipated a firestorm from anyone with more than 2 teeth and a handful of neurons. And mainly what I heard about was the Tebow ad (which I didn’t see but probably would not have had much reaction to considering the onslaught of what were to me less subtly offending images).
What a relief to read Joe Queenan’s piece in the Feb 10 WSJ. I do not necessarily mean his comments on the Tebow ad. I do not want to get into defending an ad I didn’t see — but I am in complete agreement with his overall assessment. I am shocked that few people seem to be talking about the sum total of the ads and the sad portrayal of men and women and how they relate to one another. The ads were NOT amusing or clever – but they do re-inforce gender sterotypes that continue to hurt women’s role in society. As many foundations and charities pour money into programs aimed at improving the lives of women and girls – I would say the insidious drumbeat of ads like the ones I saw during the superbowl do serious damage – and we should be more vocal about what really matters. Otherwise we are just wasting resources we can not afford to waste.