Well the Super Bowl is over and Baltimore came out on top. The game was a delightful ride with twists and turns that made it a nail-biter but in the end we won. I’m happy for my city.
I enjoyed coming out with revelers on 36th street as fire engines blew their sirens and tasty cake trucks honked their horns.
We cheered, we chanted. We were united in one joyous feeling.
The next day everyone was posting and tweeting about the game and how great it feels to be proud of our city.
Then some uptight buzz kill had to start talking about the degradation of women during the commercials and the half time show.
Seriously, can’t we just enjoy watching Beyonce licking her fingers in a sexually suggestive way while she shakes her ass for the camera?
Why do we have to concern ourselves with the impressions of young girls who are still figuring out what their role and value in this crazy world should be?
Now, I will admit that I had a few questions myself while I was watching the spectacle.
What if the part of brains was played by an unattractive, geeky woman and the part of beauty was played by an incredibly hot guy. Would anyone buy it if they made out noisily for three minutes?
Does owning that particular car really make a person feel able to barge into a party and maul a women he finds attractive? Is being a dick really evidence of success?
I also wondered about the farmers. Most of the farmers I know couldn’t afford the truck that the marketers were pimping them out for.
Then there was the Calvin Klein ad that showed a few very, very hot guys flexing and posing. One of the women watching shouted, “At last- an ad for us!”
This was followed up by the raucous laughter of the crowd.
The only ads geared toward women were ads designed to make them feel inadequate. Any, and I do mean any, sex that’s put out there is put out there to appeal to men.
The good news here is that gay men have finally arrived enough to be counted among commodities to exploit in the same way that women are exploited. They have also become a market viable enough to have their basest instincts pandered to.
You’ve come a long way, baby!
I am not going to say that all the ads were offensive. Old spice delivered comically and Hundai Sonata had some family fun in their ads. I have to respect any advertisers who bring out the Flaming Lips to represent.
But the overall tone was a bit depressing with regard to the advancement of the perception of women.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with women being sexual and men enjoying that. I have a lot of friends who perform in burlesque so I am fully familiar with the delightful fun of being sexually expressive in public.
I also understand that Beyonce makes a living at it so I got exactly what I expected there.
It’s just that I really do want it to be a choice women make rather than a societal pressure they have to live up to in order to sell themselves.
I want to select that energy instead of having it constantly imposed on me.
Corporations have spent millions of our dollars studying our psychology in depth so they will know what hypnotic buttons to push to make us better consumers.
And we drink the Kool Aid.
I know it’s not fun to talk about this. It’s better to just accept it because it’s just the way it is.
But I don’t think it’s the way it has to be. I think women who really want to exercise their power should make their presence known to the companies who demean them. And I think men who do respect the other qualities and strengths of women should let the advertisers know that they don’t like it either.
I think women should just say no to products that have been scientifically proven to be bad for their physical health even if it means that men who look at them will no longer immediately think of them sexually.
Or maybe BECAUSE it will mean they no longer immediately think of sex.
I mean let’s face it. It’s not difficult to make men think of sex.
It disappoints me to see women who know better willingly agreeing to pole dance, tongue talk and tear off their blouses while walking on heals that will only permanently and dangerously curve their spines.
“So why do we do it?” asks the woman in the ad for Two Broke Girls (feature photo above).
Because when it comes to making money at the expense of women everywhere, “This is the Super Bowl.”
Nancy Murray is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and the Publishing Arts at University of Baltimore. She is a playwright who as enjoyed full productions of her work at Fells Point Corner Theater, Silver Spring Stage and the Montgomery County One Act Festival where it was selected as The Best of Festival. Most recently she has been enjoying participating in the Submit 10 Series as both a playwright and as a performer.