Eugene Cho

Media, Commercials, and the Super Bowl: Women are objects to be objectified, marketed, and packaged for consumption.

I don’t want to be about censorship but at some point, some things deserve to be thrown in the garbage.  Commercials that exploit and objectify women aren’t only offensive and disgusting…but they’re dangerous.

First, some background:

Who watched the Super Bowl? Perhaps, a better question might be: “Who didn’t watch the Super Bowl?”

In 2011, the game drew the largest audience ever in history:

Last year’s Super Bowl drew the largest audience in American television history, averaging 111 million viewers. All total, 163 million people watched at least part of the game. That’s more than half of the population.

Yesterday’s game likely drew about 120 111.3 million viewers. This – in part – explains why the cost of a 30 second commercial was set at $3.5 million dollars.

Wow.

And while there were some good, funny, witty, and brilliant commercials, there were (and have been for some time) a growing number of commercials that are just downright offensive.  It’s not new but each year, they seem to be getting worse and worse – so much that the commercials are the things I least look forward to. After noticing couple of those commercials, I couldn’t help but send this tweet to Go Daddy:

Dear @GoDaddy: Your objectification and exploitation of women disgust me. #HopeAnElephantStompsAllOverYourServers

Because my wife and I were watching the game with our three young children, we had to switch channels constantly and only heard about the repulsive message of Teleflora. So repulsive that I’d rather not  link their commercials on YouTube.

But here’s my question:

How is it that there were so many companies (aka Wikipedia, Craigslist, ICanHasCheezburger, Reddit, etc) and grassroots support to stop SOPA and PIPA and yet, these companies (and others) don’t give a darn about these overt objectifying and exploitative commercials from Go Daddy and others.

What we’ve learned in recent years is that money talks. Numerous companies threatened to boycott and move their domains from Go Daddy because of their support for SOPA and after some additional threats, Go Daddy backed down.

Why? Because they were afraid to lose clients.

Translation: Money talks.

And yet…none of these companies ever speak up about the crass and disgusting objectification and exploitation of women via these Go Daddy commercials (and others).

We have to do our part:

While we can do our personal part to not support these businesses, we also need to put pressure on these companies that simply don’t believe it to be important to make a fuss about these kind of ads.  Sure, there’s fury over SOPA and PIPA but the objectification and exploitation of women? Not that much.

How about the church?

I have no idea but is it possible that many churches host their domains via Go Daddy? Can you imagine the impact that we could make together by saying and demonstrating: “Enough is enough?! We must fight and turn tables for the dignity and value of women – because it impacts all of us.”

Why is it important? Read this.

It’s becoming increasing dangerous to be a woman. And this impact everyone: boys, girls, women, and men.

I’ve contended before on my blog, the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. It’s so old and so taken for granted, that we don’t quite understand what’s at stake – not just for women, but really, for all of us. In more nuanced and simultaneously graphic ways, women are objects to be objectified and marketed and packaged for consumption. And these messages start early and often in human development and identity.

“Girls are taught at a every young age their worth is dependent on what they look like. Their body and not their mind.”

Watch this. Please watch this:

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33 Responses

  1. steve lewis says:

    I agree with what you’ve written here Eugene . . . but would add that objectification of all humans is something we should rally against. H&M seems to have done just as good a job objectifying men (via David Beckam) as the others have done at objectifying women. I understand there is a different set of implications, but it’s still problematic.

  2. Wayne Park says:

    This deserves to go viral.
    If folks are protesting the human trafficking that happens at the Super Bowl events in various cities, you think these companies would catch on.

  3. diane says:

    Excellent post, Eugene… I was horrified to see Teleflora’s ad! Both men & women need to stand together in fighting this huge battle as the enemy has been so deceptive with his tactics in this. I commit to send this post to all my peeps!

  4. EWB says:

    I really hate objectification of women but I really hope than an elephant DOESN’T stomp all over godaddy servers since about 1/2 my sight is hosted with godaddy! And they do have really good customer service so now I am going to have to write them a letter.

    • DP says:

      True, but I have seen a substantial amount of the people who have written in protest of Go Daddy’s support of the bills include their advertising as an additional reason not to support them.

      & Emily, your money speaks. It is easy to settle for what you know and already works for you, but there are so many other options in this area with just as good customer service that do not spend their money on objectifying ads and bills promoting censorship.

    • A.Y. Siu says:

      There are plenty of good web hosts that have good customer service and do not bombard their customers with sexist ads.

  5. KP says:

    Back in the day, we have our registrar seperated, and it took so many hours managing renewing and managing the domains, so we consolidated to a company that seemed to have a good service, and good tools, Godaddy, but then they started acting like that, so we took the effort to try to move them all again, because we didn’t want to be part of that.

  6. JH says:

    Interesting post. Quick question:

    Why are you watching live TV?

    You can quite easily eliminate ads with TIVO or a DVR system. You could watch select shows with Hulu, Netflix or directly on network sites.

    Although many shows objectify women in and of themselves amongst other things. So why watch TV at all?

    BTW, I know its a football game, but we always watch them on delay to skip the commercials. It’s a small price to pay for avoiding what this post is about.

    • Joshua Gritter says:

      JH,
      Understand your point. I laud your decision to use DVR/TIVO to eliminate the viewing of trivial, over-sexualized, objectifying, and overtly oppressive advertisements on Television. I also concur with your statement that “watching live TV at all” is a recipe for the partaking in androcentrism and blatant abuse of women. But the fact is, not watching a television ad does not mean that others will do the same. The fact is, that not watching a television at all will not stop others from doing so. Eugene’s post is not about an individuals choice to be a consumer of oppressive products, though that is a part of it, and your declining to not do so is wonderful. Rather, it seems Eugene’s post is in regards to a systemic oppression, one that direly needs to be addressed by direct action rather than passive dismissal. It is a significant decision for one to not view something such as pornography, grotesque violence, or demeaning humor, but it is even more to speak out “on behalf of those injustices”, to take vehement action to dismantle the greater systemic injustices of human trafficking that undergird industries such as pornography. Justice must roll down, but it needs a community to push it, and even more axiomatically, it needs a God who is pushing that community, a spirit that is enveloping them, and a Son who through resurrection has declared that these things of death shall no longer stop us from being truly human.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      JH,

      Hmm. I don’t watch too much TV. Like you, I can’t stand the commercials. While we don’t have TIVO or a DVR system, I do understand your point but I’m not quite sure how to respond to the question of wanting to watch the Super Bowl live.

      Whether I watch it or not, I think the point that I’m trying to make is that I’d rather not even have to have that debate. We need to hold media to a certain accountability of appropriateness.

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks for this post. I watched the game with our middle school youth group and had to turn off the image at various commercials. It’s amazing that still today, in our time of relative equality, and with all the strides that have been made, that we still continue to oppress each other. At my last church, we used GoDaddy b/c of it’s affordability as well as their apparent marketing TO CHURCHES. Big time bummer…

  8. Janet says:

    I watched my mother fight hard for equal pay and then for equal (accurate) medical attention and then for equal career advancement for her 2 daughters. I thought it would be a better world for my 3 daughters, but as long as women are seen only as bodies – and only the media-hyped body types will do at that – it is not a better world.

  9. Michael W says:

    Totally agree,

    don’t want to go offtrack here, but what bothers me is that the NFL/FCC has no problem airing these commercials, but goes crazy when MIA gives a middle finger, or Janets partial boobie is shown.

    I just don’t think they should freak out on MIA but allow GoDaddy to do their thing.

  10. Dan Crawford says:

    I hope these comments are also sent to the NFL – if the league can “censor” wardrobe malfunctions, it can set a standard for acceptable commercials during the presentation of its product. The Super Bowl ads on the whole were rather pathetic in addition to objectifying women. But that’s today’s American “culture” and reflects the cow patties we are assaulted with in our movies, music, television, radio and printed media.

  11. [...] I’m not alone. Good friends are saying something, people are protesting, even Justin Timberlake is in on [...]

  12. JH says:

    Thanks for your honest reply. I appreciate the tone in your response.

    Another question that comes to mind: Barring censorship (a state action), what other means of accountability besides not buying their products or expressing your disappointment is there?

  13. Patricia Hamilton says:

    Your absolutely right Eugene…the treatment of women is the oldest injustices, however, when we realize our true worth & identity is in Christ alone instead of any fickle cat & mouse attempt to use a measuring rod of external conditions, be it looks, material goods, rich vs poor, educational status quo, isms, and so on, perhaps our view of ho
    w we treat one another will shift. Exploitation can be found in all walks of life anytime we are greedy for gain, use people & dishonest in our relationships. Enjoy your post. Thank you. Blessings all! xo

  14. Melody says:

    Thanks for speaking up. Your platform, influence, voice is respected, … and hopefully heard on this one.

  15. [...] light of some recent posts I’ve written, “Media and Commercials: Women are Objects to be Objectified and Exploited for Consumption&#822… and “The Dangers of Being a Woman”, this is a relevant and compelling read and [...]

  16. [...] Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington, expressed his dismay in a post on his widely read blog. “Because my wife and I were watching the game with our three young children, we had to switch [...]

  17. Nick says:

    I completely agree with that which you have set forth regarding GoDaddy’s exploitation of women. My question to you then, is what web hosting services would you recommend the church to purchase it’s domains from? I am not very technologically inclined, thus my options seem to be somewhat limited.

  18. Jason says:

    Very well put here. I think it would go a long way also if people in position of influence like Danika Patrick stopped doing commercials for people like GoDaddy.

  19. cloakedmonk says:

    Reblogged this on Cloaked Monk's Blog and commented:
    This is very important.

  20. [...] commercials: “women are objects to be objectified and marketed and packaged for consumption&#8… (eugenecho.com) [...]

  21. [...] Eugene Cho Share this:RedditTwitterStumbleUponFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  22. Kellyn westra says:

    I’m going with Miss Representations campaign and hash tag twittering #notbuyingit on their twitter sites ;)

  23. Mary Marshall says:

    we should boycott the super bowl by not watching it. and we can also boycott any and all shows, events and so on that show and use this kind of advertising

  24. ej says:

    most of the commercials were abased…in some way …

  25. [...] Eugene Cho (there a couple posts worth checking out, and he links to 2 worthwhile videos) [...]

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