by Imran Siddiquee
During last year’s Super Bowl, MissRepresentation.org’s online community reached nearly 1 million people with a message of gender equality, using hashtag #NotBuyingIt to call out sexist commercials in real time. During the most watched television event of the year, this critique of the representations of women and girls in the media was briefly a trending topic on Twitter. It was an awesome display of feminist activism and our collective ability to influence the mainstream conversation.
This year we’re looking to increase our impact and show hundreds of thousands more the power they have as consumers to talk back to sexist advertising.
From our blog last year:
The big ratings for the Super Bowl translate into big money for the networks and for advertisers. The average cost of a 30-second ad during the game is $3.5 million. Which begs the question: what are they spending all this money on? What kinds of messages are being promoted here?
The most popular entertainment event in America every year is focused on men displaying athletic skill, strength and aggression. The advertisements mimic and extend these themes by promoting images of “hyper-masculinity.” Women, meanwhile, are often demeaningly sexualized or entirely absent from the screen (save the frequent cuts to cheerleaders on the sidelines during the game).
If an estimated 7 out of 10 Americans are planning on watching the Super Bowl, this means most women, children, lgbt and minority people in this country are probably watching as well. In fact, about 50% of last year’s viewers were women. Yet the programming still feels targeted overwhelmingly to a very specific male demographic.
So it’s not just about calling out the hypersexualization and objectification of women in these ads, but also realizing that there is also a very limiting ideal of manhood on display in most Super Bowl commercials. We’re #NotBuyingIt in regards to either depiction of gender extremes.
Follow @representpledge throughout the day and tweet with #NotBuyingIt whenever you see a sexist commercial. Insert the Twitter handles of the brands behind the offensive ads to make sure they hear your opinion.
Together let’s make enough noise to push this story into the mainstream once again!
A list of known Super Bowl XLVII advertisers and their Twitter handles:
Audi of America (Volkswagen)
Century 21 (Realogy)
Kia (Hyundai Motor Group)
Lincoln (Ford Motor)
M&M’s (Mars Inc.)
Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP)
Mio (Kraft Foods)
NBC (STAPLES) DUNDER MIFFLIN
Oreo (Mondelez International)
Paramount Pictures (Viacom)
Taco Bell (Yum Brands)
Tide (Procter & Gamble)
Universal Pictures (Comcast)
Walt Disney Pictures (Walt Disney Co.)
Wonderful Pistachios (Roll International)
UPDATE: @KimberlyMarvel compiled these advertiser handles into a handy Twitter list, thanks Kimberly!
For more updates and #NotBuyingIt resources, make sure you RSVP via Facebook.
Finally, watch this vlog by Melissa Fabello on why you should be participating this Sunday:
Imran is the Social Media and Communications Director at MissRepresentation.org. Follow him on Twitter @imransiddiquee