Ground Hog Day: Super Bowl Sexism Keeps Popping Up

Feb 2, 2013 It’s Ground Hog Day and as reliable as Punxsutawney Phil, parents and pundits await to see what shadows will be cast on kids from the Super Bowl media hype blaring at surround sound decibel levels, even among those not remotely interested in ‘the big game.’

KJ Dell’Antonia, lead author of the NYTimes parenting blog the Motherlode does some hilarious pop culture spin spotting while nailing the societal screentime dynamics of this gathering of ‘family fun’ with unmitigated wit and journalistic aplomb.

“Sex! Beer! Blood! It’s Time for Super Bowl Ad Bingo” the headline implores while she reminds it’s been a loooong time since co-viewing with wee ones has been remotely G versus PG-13 in the ad realm. (especially with network CSI promos adding an extra dose of violence and mayhem) 

KJ Dell’Antonia has a hashtag surfacing for real time dialog, #SuperBowlBingo “how many times will you cover your kids’ eyes?” which will no doubt house some parent/child awkward doozies, but her segue is about how to USE these all important teaching moments:

“For older children, the Super Ad Bowl offers a perfect media literacy opportunity… Adults often enjoy the ads as much as the game (and when my children aren’t watching, I do, too). Those ads are designed to make an impression. Make sure your children know exactly what that impression is, who is trying to make it and why.”

Yes. Yes. And abso-freakinglutely yes. These are the media literacy basics we champion repeatedly, whether it’s Common Sense Media’s tips for avoiding age-inappropriate ads or educator Frank Baker’s annual updates in his excellent resource, Using Superbowl Ads in the Classroom. (two more excellent medialit roundups: using SB47 for social media literacy and School Library Journal’s Teaching with the “Text of Life” both mentioning Frank Baker’s work)

In fact, I’ll add a preventive first strike on “how to watch/react/co-view” sexist ads particularly if you’re a male in the room with kids present, as it’s an all important element in screen time deconstructing of this often volatile media mix. (boyfriends, uncles, dads…you can help flip this message by “not buying it” big time)

My prior post 10 “dads and daughters” Super Bowl tips  with Joe Kelly (who now gives his popular presentations as “The Dad Man” on the media and parenting circuit) can be like a Harry Potter invisible cape to bounce-back sexism like a shield, deflecting for daughters in real time against lasting damage to self-worth in the battle for hearts and minds.

Media literacy co-viewing is crucial to ‘show and tell’ the influence of advertising messages, and in a classic spin of ‘poison being medicinal’ we can use the most sexist ads negating women’s worth to open up conversations about who made the ad, why they think it would ‘sell,’ and use social media for a shout out for change, since it’s readily apparent how far off-base some of these companies are in reaching 50% of the population.

We can also help teens channel their frustration productively, using the Miss free TOOLKIT created with Girls For A Change, complete with whys/hows for newbie participants.

Rather than tolerate the wince-worthy squirm factor and shame, being devalued into a vessel for the male gaze or the rampant sexist stereotypes reinforcing archaic roles for boys AND girls, youth can join together and use social media activism to call out the unfairness.

As I wrote in Miss Representation Sparks Change As A Film and As a Movement, here’s the new list of 2013 Twitter handles for advertisers, just use the #NotBuyingIt hashtag on Twitter to call-out sexism.

We can also help teens understand the ‘whys’ of the disconnect by reminding that only 3% of advertising creative directors are women, and ignite logical business thinking to fuel the moment and flip the script from ‘victims of patriarchy’ to proactive empowerment warning advertisers they’re headed for a fiscal cliff if they don’t start paying attention to the power of the purse! (women in the ad industry will be giving thumbs up/down via the 3PercentConference ‘cheat sheet’ streaming on Twitter with the hashtag #AdWomenSB2013)

Like Punxsutawney Phil, I’m hoping Miss will continue their annual clarion call to knock off this absurd gender messaging, tossing red flags and penalty plays until the advertisers finally ‘get it’ and own the damage they’re creating as these disrespectful media messages of objectification and sexualization trickle down to our youngest girls AND boys sending life lessons of what’s ‘valued’ in our ‘hottie culture.’

The end goal? For change to transpire so that the Super Bowl “Not Buying It” event could vanish altogether…

THAT would be the ultimate score of a touchdown, with winners all around.

Help Miss tell advertisers sexism doesn’t sell. Their “Not Buying It” campaign had over 2 million impressions last year. Tomorrow? Join Shaping Youth and other organizations like Adios Barbie, Bodi Mojo, Spark Summit and more to use the power of media for positive change…

The Best Defense is a Great Offense:

Put Dads, Male Role Models in Your Starting Line Up to Co-View the Game

Tips for Dads & Daughters Watching the Super Bowl Together

from Joe Kelly, aka “The Dad Man” 

Originally posted on my prior piece about Dove Ditches the Super Bowl and dedicated to all the “Dove Men” blogger dads currently attending the Dad 2.0 Summit 2013…just for fun. (having a FOMO ‘fear of missing out’ moment, as those dads are tweeting their socks off with heartfelt parenting insights from their conference and this just seems like it might add to those convos in absentia…) 

Dads & Daughters watching TV sports together–one of life’s pleasures. But what about those moments (like during some commercials) when you want to cover her eyes with your hands?

Here are a few simple tips for fathers, stepfathers, and significant men in the lives of girls, watching the Super Bowl (and other TV sporting events.)

1. First, spend part of the pre-game afternoon tossing a football around with her! A Dad who plays sports with his Daughter increases the odds that she’ll grow up healthy and strong!

2. If she doesn’t like to play catch, take a walk or bike ride together. Let her know that you enjoy being with her. The time together may give her an opportunity to share what is going on in her life. Daughters may see our enthusiasm for sports and think we’re more interested in our favorite team than in her. Making time for her on Super Bowl Sunday (and every other day) can counter that perception .

3. When watching the game, be aware that what your daughter or stepdaughter sees and what you see may be entirely different. She may be struck by the cheerleaders, whose partially clothed bodies look so “perfect.” Instead of enjoying the game, your daughter may be comparing her body to theirs and feeling inadequate.

4. Try to watch the broadcast through her eyes. Would any images, commercials, or events look or feel different if it was your daughter on the screen? You might share these perceptions with her and ask her what she thinks.

5. Use the remote! If you see an ad or image that disrespects or objectifies females, change the channel so you, your daughter, and your family don’t have those images in your home. Let her know why you decided to flip and ask for her feedback.

6. Compare the number of female sports announcers (usually fewer) and their roles (usually on the sidelines) to the number and role of male announcers. Talk with your daughter about what you think those numbers mean. Do they mean that your daughter “can’t” be a big football fan? Could she be taken seriously as a sports announcer someday or should she eliminate this from her career aspirations?

7. Ask her which players and coaches she admires or sees as heroes. Tell her which ones you admire, and then share your reasons with each other.

8. After the game, debate what each of you thought were the crucial plays and most exciting moments. Then invite her to do something special together next Sunday to keep these conversations rolling and to convince her that the most important man in her life takes her seriously–and enjoys being with her!

9. Use the Super Bowl to become more media-literate and sensitive to your daughter’s experience. Decide to pay more attention to how media portray women and girls.

When you see an ad, ask “What if it was my daughter?”, and then reassess your reaction to it.

More Resources to Help People Connect the Dots Between Harm and Health with Sexist Ad Portrayals

APA Task Force on the Early Sexualization of Children (full 72pp pdf)

Miss Representation Education Curriculum

Miss Representation Resources and Stats/Facts

Resource List from So Sexy So Soon

Fact Sheet on Sexualizing Childhood

Stats & resources on sexualization “Sex on TV4″ Program for the study of media & health

Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media’s Influence on Adolescent Sexuality Jane Brown et al (Eds)

Girls Shape the Future: Study/Girls Inc: Early Predictors of Girls’ Adolescent Sexual Activity (summary: 8 pp pdf)

Packaging Girlhood, Hardy Girls, Healthy Women etc.

So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne

Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes (Also see Packaging Boyhood; S.Y. Board Advisers:
Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown)

Related Reading on Sexism and Sexualization of Children by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

Public Health: Domestic Violence at the Grammys, Too Short of a Memory

The Bro Code: Media, Masculinity and Misogynistic Misfires

Bratzillaz, Novi Stars and Monster High, Same Sexualized Snorefest

Girl Caught: New Moon Girls Slams Sexualization of Kids, Calls Out Harm

Kids, Media, and Intimacy/Relationships: The Hottie Factor

Vogue Cadeaux: Children ARE Gifts, Not To Be Bought or Sold

Bottom Feeders Like American Apparel Need Whacked in The Assets

Vamp Tramp Toys: A Monster Problem (Mattel)

Tips From the Trenches: Re-Imagining Youth Activism

Body Blitz: APA Shows Harm of Early Sexualization

Steamed About Sexualization? Healthy Media for Youth Act: Pt1

Healthy Youth Media Act: Can Change Be Legislated? Pt2

Teen Girls: Ready for a Rebel Yell to Spark Change?

Toxic Messaging: K-Mart/Alloy Episodic Back to School

Girls Are Not Candies, Tweens Are Not Teens, Thongs Are Not Undies

Baiting Outrage: Using Hooks With Media Mindfulness

Sexualization Summit to Spark Change!

Spark Ignites a Summit of Powerhouses, Geena Davis & More

The Girl Revolution: Empowering Girls Vs. Consuming Them

New Moon Girl Media Community Online

Girls Prescription for Self-Worth: Respect Rx

Raising Girls Amidst Meat Marketing: Carl’s Jr, Burger King Raunch

Taking Aim at Target: Think That V is a Coinkydink?

When It’s Not Hip to Be Square, Sexist Spongebob & Burger Shots

Sexed Up M&Ms Sell Fashionably Decadent Premium Sleaze

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag…Er…Face. Nose. Belly.

Body Image: Tips for Teens (Both Genders!) To Survive the Media Morass

What Sells: Infants As Fashion Statements & Joke Props?

So Sexy So Soon, Shaping Youth Talks to Jean Kilbourne

Beyonce’s Dereon Divas: PopTarts and Sesame Streetwalkers?

Sexist Undies: Slimy Santa Innuendo Gets the Heave Ho-Ho-Ho!

Bratz Movie Seeps Bratitude Into Kid Culture

Where My Dogs At? A Misogynistic Misfire-MTV2

Pussycat Dolls Vamp for Lame TV-the ‘F’ Word is Feminist? Hardly.

Celeb Pop Culture and Media’s Tipping Point of Toxicity

Hollywood Walk of Lame—Victoria’s Secret Models ‘Earn’ Star? For WHAT?

Mommy, Why Are Her Legs Spread Like That?

Shaping Youth Is In the L.A. Times (Miley Mess

Kids Are A Captive Audience With Ambient Advertising

Race, Gender, Sexism: Pop Culture Cues & Kids (3-part series)

Commodification of Kids: The Backlash Has Begun

Shaping Youth Through Ambient Advertising

Manga Makeovers And Other Body Image Cartoon Capers

Facelifts for Kiddie Characters?

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

Girls As Boy Toys Takes an Even More Toxic Turn

Preteen Tips/How to Say it To Girls

America the Beautiful: See it. Support it.

Childhood Matters Radio Show: Raising Strong, Healthy Girls Today

Visual Credits: Lead Photo: NYTimes parenting blog the Motherlode bingo card based on blogger Christina Zani’s original bingo card screen shots from Miss Representation materials and former Dads and Daughters org.



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