LIII: The Sexless Super Bowl

I️ can’t really call myself a football fan per se, but I️ definitely watch the Super Bowl every year with friends and family. It’s a social tradition and annual celebration of America, good food and fun.

Of course, I️ also watch the Super Bowl for… the commercials. I’m in it for the humor, the heart string tugs and the cute puppies. I️ also find these 30-second pitches so interesting because they are a reflection of America’s culture and climate at that moment in history. This year, women were on center stage for one of the biggest, if not the biggest, masculine performances ever created. AND I️ LOVED IT!

Gone are the days of bikini-clad super models strutting out of the ocean to sell any and everything. Gone are the days of hyper sexualized and unrealistic expectations of women created exclusively for male audiences. Let’s all remember the Carl’s Jr. Kate Upton Super Bowl commercial of 2012.

This year, women were celebrated and empowered like never before: from Serena Williams encouraging women to take command of their place and their power in life in an ad for Bumble, to Antoinette “Toni” Harris as the leading lady in Toyota’s new RAV4 Hybrid commercial, challenging norms and breaking barriers as one of the first women to receive a college football scholarship and who hopes to be the first woman to play in the NFL.

toni
photo from ESPN.com

With the #MeToo movement gaining tremendous traction in 2019, advertisers and brands are finally starting to change the script, catering to and empowering the other 50% of the population. (Not to mention, riding a social movement and creating a conversation around your brand by choosing a side – hopefully the “right” side – is big PR.)

I️t excites me to think about the young girls who will gather around the TV on Super Bowl Sunday in this new era and see themselves represented as more than tools for men’s entertainment or viewing pleasure. I️ am excited for the young girls who don’t see unrealistic, unhealthy body expectations portrayed on the world’s largest stage and have to look in the mirror and wonder what’s wrong with them that they have a stomach roll or thighs that brush together when they walk.

Allowing a new generation of girls to see themselves in positions of power is a step in the right direction for us as a society in bringing new voices, new perspectives and a new equality to our conversation leaders, decision makers and social influencers.

It’s a new era in advertising and I️, for one, am thrilled to become a part of the change.