Ah, the Super Bowl. For one night a year, commercials stop being the intermittent annoyances that interrupt the latest episode of American Idol and take center stage as the main event. The Super Bowl is all about the Commercials. You know it, I know it, and corporate America obviously knows it considering the money they spend on the ad space. Super Bowl commercials have become so popular, many refer to the biggest night of sports television as the Brand Bowl.
But there were quite a few people this year that didn’t cheer for the commercials. They were simply #notbuyingit.
Our Naked Truth Award this week goes to Miss Representation, who began a twitter campaign to correct the advertising world’s use of sexist images and limiting gender roles in commercials. As the organization explains:
“This Sunday, if you’re watching the game, look for differences in the representations of women and men. Point out sexism as it happens and educate those around you by asking questions: who was that commercial directed at? What was the message it sent about gender? If you’re on Twitter, use #NotBuyingIt with #Superbowl to call out the offensive and sexist ads in real-time.”
This initiative caught our attention because it used the Internet to spread a positive message, and correct the oversimplification and misrepresentation of women in television. We particularly liked their mission statement: “Together we can help an entire country move closer to healthy representations of gender.” This statement is particularly poignant because it focuses on both genders: over-sexed, brainless men are almost as insulting as over-sexualized, brainless women.
Also, it should be noted that this campaign attacks sexism, but not sex. It may seem like a thin line between the two, but we all know that sexuality, when used correctly, can do some powerful things. To understand the distinction between commercials with sex and commercials with sexism just compare the “After Glow” ad from 2011 with any Go Daddy commercial from the last few years. There’s a big difference there, no? Mainly, the first shows healthy gender interaction with positive implications and the other shows something, well, entirely different.
So next year, businesses best remember that sex may sell, but sexism does not.
The Naked Truth Award is given to a person or organization that has somehow shown awesome bravery in standing up for truth, justice, health, freedom and/or coolness in our world.