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Women, Advertising, and The Superbowl

This Sunday, Superbowl 50 took over the television screens of over 100 million Americans. Of those 100 million, women made up nearly half.

So, were the commercials this time around as woefully sexist as last year’s?

Well, it seems creative agencies have paid attention to last years outcry, and the days of women donning limited clothing, nagging, or catfighting are over. At least, during the Superbowl.

Happy lovers watching football with beer and raised hands

This year, ads from Budweiser, Mini featured Helen Mirren, Serena Williams and Abby Waumbach respectively in ads that challenged gender, sexuality and racial stereotypes. Carl Jr. thankfully abstained from assaulting viewers with misogyny in commercial form this year. Snickers bringing back Marilyn Monroe was a little weird and Doritos fetal ejection was unsavory, but Bud Light eschewed models for feminist spokesperson Amy Schumer, and Axe finally dropped the tired old chick magnet schtick and made their ad about celebrating what you have, very affirming.

The Superbowl’s gender split viewership has began to foster an atmosphere within Superbowl advertising that is devoid of stereotypes, which is an important step in the right direction to ensure all media portrayals of women lose their sexist element. I suppose when your Superbowl ad, costing upwards of $5,000,000, has the chance to reach and potentially offend 50 million women, you might want to rethink your media strategy. Of course, it is widely considered that the root of the problem lies in the lack of diversity within the top positions in advertising – but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are listening.

So all in all controversy was confined to the field, and not quite the deflating experience we endured last year.

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