Justice

The Best Way To Call Out Sexism On Super Bowl Sunday

The Super Bowl isn't just a football game, it's also a showcase for the best TV commercials that the advertising industry can devise. This year, one activist group is on a mission to call out any sexism that shows up in the ads broadcast during Super Bowl 50.

The Representation Project, an organization dedicated to fighting gender stereotypes, will continue its 5-year-old social media campaign #NotBuyingIt and #MediaWeLike to encourage people to speak out if they feel any Super Bowl advertisements are sexist or unfair to women. (It's no secret that sexism and objectification of women are pervasive in many ads, not just during games.)

The Representation Project is partnering with 3 Percent Conference and Instant Census on the project. During the game, viewers can take part in a survey about the commercials they see by texting “SB50” to 217-731-4368.

"[We’ll] report your feedback to media and advertisers – telling them in a few quick seconds which ads resonate with us, which are alienating, and what we plan to do about it," the group said on its site.

“Media is the message and the messenger, and the content of advertisements matter,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and chief executive officer of the Representation Project, said in a statement. “It is because of conscientious consumers speaking up over the past few years that we have actually seen a shift in advertising during the Super Bowl and beyond," Newsom said. "By being able to track and record feedback in real-time, we can continue to advocate for ads that depict men and women as more than extreme and harmful gender stereotypes.”

Ad creators have shamelessly used the "sex sells" approach to their work for a long time, but some critics inside and outside the ad business are now calling it out. New York advertising agency Badger & Winters recently vowed to stop objectifying women in its productions as a part of its #WomenNotObjects campaign. The group released a video about the initiative a few weeks ago.

#WomenNotObjects

The video, which has more than 1.6 million views, includes extremely sexual ads created for a broad range of brands. In one part of the clips, a woman says, "I love giving blow jobs to sandwiches," while holding up an ad of a female opening her mouth wide next to a burger. Another woman says, "I love sacrificing my dignity for a drink," while showing a sexualized alcohol ad.

“Our goal was to now come forward and say, ‘This is from an advertising agency. This is from the people who have been guilty quite frankly in the past of objectifying women and men in a way that was not acceptable,'" agency founder Madonna Badger told Women's Wear Daily. "We’re coming forward and saying, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore. We know that it does harm, and our job is to do no harm.'"

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