GoDaddy Swaps Sexualization of Women for Objectification of Men

golden puppy no daddyJan. 27, 2015 Update: Animal Abuse Now?

#NoDaddy. Horrific Ad.

Sadly, 2015 Go Daddy swaps commodification of bodies for commodification of helpless animals, with a tone deaf ‘breeders over shelters’ puppy stance using living beings as props. (Reminder, use to keep from giving them any SEO lift)

So wrong headed on so many levels, including the attempt to be ‘clever’ undermining the Bud/Buddy golden retriever award-winning emotive ad. Go Daddy continues to be so crass, damaging, manipulative and heartless it makes my blood boil. Glad I pulled all my domains from there early on and never, ever looked back. Disgusting. AGAIN!!!!

No matter how many “new marketing” teams they assign they are an epic fail.

go daddy ad credit dailymail ukJan. 28, 2014 “We got a lot of attention, we were edgy, we were funny…we were also on the edge of inappropriate,” GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving told the New York Times, as the firm tries to trot out a “we’ve changed” branding overhaul away from their racy Danica Patrick sexist objectification of women.

Their new approach? The sexist objectification of men.

Yep. That’s the big change. Sigh.

You can’t make this stuff up. The gobsmacking lunacy of their new Super Bowl positioning as “new ads that focus on how female owners can grow their business with GoDaddy,” is executed with a stampede of male Incredible Hulk look-alikes swarming a spray tan facility, and a couple token female body builders (Danica Patrick in a muscle suit of course) to complete the requisite “there’s gotta be some half-naked woman in there somewhere” ad industry Neanderthal-ism.

Pssst! Where’s The Research, Reporters?

Time’s headline, “Are Sexist Super Bowl Ads So Last Year?” manages to miss the entire public health conversation by focusing on the “less salacious” tonality of “It’s Go Time” over the very hard core fact that muscle dysmorphia has escalated at an alarming rate with the National Eating Disorders Association showing a triple-statistics leap in males being dissatisfied with their bodies over the last three decades. (More on bigorexia, buffed boy wannabes, roid ragers, manorexics, and other slang terms and tips on boys’ body image here) 

Fact is, report after report shows adolescent boys and media’s pivotal role in portrayals of unattainable body ideals and unhealthy masculinity and muscularity have increased as preteen boys gain on girls in the damaging bulimia, eating disorders and media messages impacting both their physical and socio-emotional health.

neda boys body image infographic silentepidemicIn adolescent and college samples, between 28% and 68% of normal-weight males already perceive themselves as underweight and report a desire to increase their muscle mass through dieting and strength training

…yet GoDaddy thinks they can trot out this absurd Super Bowl ad, slap a “new and improved” press blitz on it and try to make points with women?

How can mainstream media be blinded to the obvious gender swap in objectification and body image harm?

Media plays a pivotal part in being an ‘equal opportunity destroyer’ with body image messaging. (see more stats on binge eating, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder from ADAA here)

GoDaddy will probably claim, “irreverent satire,” as is usually the case with clueless brands that repeatedly place profit over public health and then backpeddle with a mea culpa and an oopsie-doodle when the media volume turns up higher and the health heat starts to singe…

The APA report on early sexualization has been out for years detailing the harm of ads like the sleazy cheesy sexploitation of Danica and last year’s  “teen treated as a prop” humiliation spun into a ‘nerd’s revenge’ context, but did anyone at GoDaddy give a rip?

No sirrreee…not until they got enough heat from social media campaigns calling on people to pull their domain names in protest of their ongoing hipster harm.

Corporate shills are used to throwing healthy bodies under the bus in the name of profit, but there’s NO excuse for mainstream media to play along with this ignorance, much less give them a +1 for abstaining from sexualizing women after doing so for a decade.

go daddy danica muscle suit daily mail ukThere are gaping “whaaa?” moments of incredulity too, like the Time writer’s critique of GoDaddy’s ad to earn the trust of women,

“…putting a talented woman like Danica Patrick in an odd muscle suit that makes her look like a body builder might not the be way to do that, but it’s a start.”

No it is NOT “a start!”

It’s a reckless, feckless, damaging media message impacting BOTH genders …

Do your public health homework people!

Where is that reporter’s research skills to completely miss the connections with body image and body building missteps that are increasing eating disorders in BOTH genders with undue influence, bracketing boys to men with the same shame game and ‘hot or not’ representations that have been soul-eroding young girls and women’s physical and mental health for ages?

Muscularity in Media Meets Public Health

adonisWhere’s the journalism professionalism pointing to Alison Field’s “Growing Up Today” (GUT study) at Harvard School of Public Health, and the epidemiology of weight gain?

Where’s the commentary about the dangers of reinforcing these depictions and feeding into the Adonis Complex as Harrison Pope et al cited in identifying, treating and preventing body obsession in men and boys?

Where are the NEDA stats on the “silent epidemic” of anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorders in males, and most of all, the strategies for prevention and early intervention in boys to men?

When tiny indie entities like yours truly at Shaping Youth are deep diving the contextual relevance for “why this all matters” and “how it’s landing on kids” while mainstream media gives GoDaddy free press for not baiting outrage in QUITE the same manner there’s a huge journalism deficit in the big leagues and makes me realize why I left the field.

body image survival guideFit vs Fiction owner Marci Warhaft-Nadler, (formerly a body builder who battled an eating disorder herself) and new author of  The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents, Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive summed,

“ANY time you use body image in media as a vehicle for reaction, it implies what bodies should or shouldn’t be…

Whether it’s Danica’s muscle suit or the guys portraying the body builders, when it’s played for laughs you’re making a statement.

Is seeing Danica like that supposed to be funny because it’s outrageous for a woman to look like that? What would an Olympic weightlifter say about that?

Think back about all the bullying young women in that sport endure…It becomes judgment…A perception of gender perfection, body ideals, and how women and men measure up to societal expectations of body imagery…When we have a given image of what people ‘should’ look like…any departure from that norm becomes a “less than” statement…”

Patrick Super Bowl Ad FootballShe’s sure right about the bullying, just ask teen Olympic record breaker Zoe Smith…

AND…also about the imagery and distortions.

The first image I had in my head seeing the massive bodies swarming onto the screen in CGI mode and banging on the window of the spray tanning salon was “zombie apocalypse,” which reduced those men to ‘things’ not human beings, which is one of the very first definitions of objectification.

Not okay. Other reaction were equally cartoonish and mythological… He-Man, Hercules, Hulk…again, dehumanizing…single-dimensional…comic book caricatures…

Marci added, “Sadly, most of the Super Bowl ads are geared to whether it will make a 13 year old boy or someone on their fourth beer laugh…” So I figured I’d try it out, and played the ad for a few young boys…Though some laughed, others said things like, “whoa, look at the guns on that dude!” with aspirational glee.

Achilles effectShaping Youth ally and author Rosalind Wiseman addresses the stress to obtain big biceps in her new book on guys “Masterminds and Wingmen” which has a great chapter on media’s impact on body image with testosterone laden gaming avatars that look similar to these body builders in the ad…

Likewise, Crystal Smith, author of The Achilles Effect, also a partner org in the Brave Girls Alliance with Shaping Youth hosts a media literacy site addressing boys, masculinity and gender stereotypes that will no doubt speak to this phenom in a post soon…If not, I’ll interview her for a follow up…

Super Bowl or not, GoDaddy needs to ‘think macro, not micro’ if they’re trying to shift gears away from damaging media messages and attempt a Hippocratic “do no harm” oath. Right now it’s an ‘epic fail’ on earning the trust of girls and women, OR being respectful to boys and men.

Not Buying It

representation project screenshotAs Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film Miss Representation(portrayal of women in media) and The Mask You Live In(upcoming film on media messages about masculinity) callout in their documentaries and ongoing campaign on sexism and stereotypes…We’re “Not Buying It.”

The Representation Project has just launched their brand new FREE #NotBuyingIt app available to download now, just in time for the Super Bowl…

With ads like GoDaddy, looks like it’ll come in handy. There’s nothing new and improved in this heavily hailed GoDaddy shift away from gratuitous sexualization…Didn’t move me a muscle.

What Can You DO?

A Few More Resources to Debrief/Inform About Boys’ Body Image

National Eating Disorders Assn (NEDA) Tips For Kids on Feeling Good About Yourself

Boys and Body Image Tips (Common Sense Media)

Help Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image (WebMD)

BodiMojo: A Health Community for Teens (new/worthy site that I love!) (also new/worthy w/NEDA ties to impt female convos; needs a male forum offshoot!)

The Development of Ideal Body Image Perceptions in the U.S. (Nursing Center: great overview of then/now)

Reflections on Body Image/U.K. (newly released 80pp Parliamentary report)

How to Help Kids Like Their Looks: (Family Anatomy-Body Image Series)

A Few Other Boys/Gender Articles by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

Boys, Body Image and Sexualization: An Equal Opportunity Destroyer

The Bro Code: Media, Masculinity and Misogynistic Misfires

Buffed Boy, Body Image and Tween Scene, the  ‘Hottie’ Factor

Gender, Race & Sexism: Shaping Youth Through Pop Culture Cues

Packaging Boyhood Authors/Interview: What ABOUT the Boys?

Packaging Boyhood: Corporate Pirates Raid Boys’ Souls

Predatory Practices As Sport? Boys to Men & Swaggerfests

Dear Media, Please Change Your Channel of Influence

Get Boys to Participate in GirlCaught to Dial Down Disrespect

Man Down? Girl Up, Rihanna. Own Your Influence.

Turning Boys Into Monsters: Energy Drink/A Foul Taste

Attention KMart Shoppers, Dating Violence on Aisle 3

Depravity Gone Viral: A Thin Line For Humanity

What Does A 13-Year Old Boy Know About Dating Violence? Plenty.

Backdraft: DV=Differing Views on Dating/Domestic Violence

Girls As Boy Toys Takes an Even More Toxic Turn

GirlCaught! New Moon Girls Slams Sexualization!

Using Media With Mindfulness: Tell SnoopDogg NO to Alcopops!

Visual credits: Pacific Coast News/lead photo, Daily Mail, U.K. inset, Go Daddy website and screenshots



  1. It is the “Hippocratic” oath you are referring to. Socrates has no particular oath associated with him, to ‘my recollection.

    Also, I would stress that the allies that you mention approach boys and men’s issues from a perspective almost as problematic as the media conglomerates that they are fighting. Marci Warhaft-Nadler’s comment, “Sadly, most of the Super Bowl ads are geared to whether it will make a 13 year old boy or someone on their fourth beer laugh…” is a telling example. The Super Bowl advertising spots are as much entertainment for wives and daughters watching the game with husbands and sons, who are watching primarily for, y’know, the game. This is not something that marketers have failed to note and it does inform these commercials.

  2. You are absolutely correct–flying fingers typo (Socratic PROBLEM, Hippocratic OATH) fixed, TY very much!

    As for Marci’s comment, I almost didn’t print it out of concern that it could be construed out of her intended context, which as you can see by her other commentary is MOCKING the stereotypes/demographics of what advertisers position as Super Bowl appeal.

    We’re all acutely aware women make up a HUGE Super Bowl audience and that is in fact the whole point of this piece…To simply ‘switch gears’ to target the female demographic watching the Super Bowl by positioning a ‘new/improved’ formula of Go Daddy’s decade of ‘eye candy’ objectification by simply switching genders to ‘meat market’ the males is a misguided body image mess.

    To be crystal clear, I am using that loaded term of ‘men as meat’ to further ‘connect the dots’ of why this is an equally abhorrent media message.

    Using male OR female bodies as oggle fests to sell freakin domain registrars is intentional. Even Go Daddy’s landing page uses “Beef up your business” to reinforce this misfire…

    How is this ‘improved’ in any way, shape or form? Sexualization is sexualization!

    With male body image issues escalating at a disturbing rate it’s reckless and irresponsible.

    Here are a few ‘meaty’ articles in recent media environs that bear this point out, including the new movie 300 which Time profiled w/the rise of body image pressure on boys and men:
    This background piece on Teen, Health and the Media:

    “Manorexic” surges in hospitalization, etc.

    Do no harm. Yes. Hippocratic oath…that’s all I’m asking here.

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