Super Bowl LIII Portrays Women in a Positive Light


ABC News

Soumya Saha and Katalina Garber

Although many have declared that the 2019 Super Bowl game itself wasn’t all that exciting, the commercials shed positive light this year by portraying women as strong, rather than sexualizing them, like they have done in the past.

“It’s definitely something to recognize that women weren’t sexualized during this year’s Super Bowl. We as a society have gotten so used to using women as nothing more than marketing tools…it’s unfortunate that it took so long, but amazing nonetheless,” said Alexandrea Frazier (‘19).

In years past, women have been shown in small roles with bikinis, drinking beer, and throwing themselves against their male counterparts. However, this year, there were no commercials that depicted women in this way. All women shown were displayed as strong, independent, and intelligent.  

Specific ads featured powerful women like Serena Williams, Christina Applegate, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.  Antoinette “Toni” Harris, who wants to become the first woman to play in the NFL, was also shown.

Serena Williams was one of the celebrities featured in a commercial for Bumble.

“Right now we’ve got three women running for president, we’ve got more women graduating college than men, so advertisers have kind of figured out that we better show women in the powerful light that they’re in,” said longtime ad executive, Donny Deutsch.

GoDaddy and Carl’s Jr. have been known for their incredibly sexist commercials shown in the past. Over the years, their ads have become less and less offensive.

With so many women coming out and talking about their painful experiences with sexual assault, Super Bowl advertisers were cautious to not overstep their boundaries this Superbowl. Especially with all the controversy placed against the NFL for this game, the league had no room for any more negative attention.

“There are girls all around the country, even the world, who are diminished to just their looks or how they act, and whether or not it’s feminine to fit the standards set by everyone but them. I think it’s important for there to be something, anything, even something as small as commercials on TV empowering women as strong individuals to show that it’s okay to be empowered and bold and confident in who you are rather than to conform to the guidelines set by everyone else,” said Frazier.

The commercials were not the only thing that changed in favor of women this year. Often, halftime shows are covered with half-naked girls who are purely there for entertainment. This year, there was none of that. In fact, there was a strong female gospel singer who was completely covered and who got a chance to reveal her vocal talent to the world.

Sports Illustrated
Antoinette Harris wants to become the first women to play in the NFL.

Over the last ten years, 76% of Super Bowl ads feature men as the main character, and in the Super Bowl LI, more than 2.5 times as many leading ad roles went to men than to women. Women are often in the background as party guests or love interests.

It is important to portray and display women as positive role models, especially during large, popular events like the Superbowl. Thankfully, companies have realized that and have started to adjust their sexist past.