Although I’m not a football fan myself, I am married to one. My life partner, Kathleen, is a sports junkie and to show my support, I happily watched the Super Bowl with her Sunday night. We weren’t alone; according to the Washington Post, 47.8% of American households watched. 47.8% — almost half of America!
Now, we know that not all those people are watching for their love of football; the Super Bowl is as well known for its commercials as for its athletics. Companies spend millions creating and airing commercials. The New York Times had two simultaneous feeds – one for the game, the other on the commercials.
Unfortunately, a great number of the ads, as in previous years, exploited women. It saddens me to see how models, actresses and celebrities are willing to sell themselves out. It is an enormous step backwards for the women’s movement, which I am a proud member of and so contradictory to the messages of self-love and self-acceptance that OnePinky is about. How are we going to love our bodies and ourselves if we continually feature such exploited images of “perfect” women?
One of the biggest offenders in my mind (and that has been for a while) was Go Daddy. Both of their ads featured scantily clad or naked women parading around as selling points for a web-hosting site. Danica Patrick, Go Daddy’s spokesperson, is especially distressing. A groundbreaking woman in the male-dominated racecar world, Patrick is more visible now as a bikini-wearing model than as a racecar driver. One Super Bowl ad featured her as a bikini-wearing angel, enticing men to purchase domain names. What kind of message does this send to women and especially girls? Breaking gender rules in sports is ok as long as you’re willing to sell your body to advertisers, too.
On the other hand, we had Madonna and her half time show. Although it was also incredibly provocative and sexual, it was different. Unlike ad models, Madonna owns her sexuality and uses it the way she wants to. She may also wear short skirts and engage in pelvic dance moves, but she is doing so on her own terms. She is in charge.
That is to say, I am not opposed to female sexuality and the power of the female body; in fact, I celebrate it. What I object to is Madison Avenue’s taking that power away from women to use it for their own purposes of selling. It is sexploitation – and it needs to stop.
And to the person who says, “Aren’t we exploiting men, too?” Yes, we are. Using David Beckham’s body to sell anything is also sexploitation. However, as long as women are perceived as the “weaker sex” and see their bodies as a reflection of who they are, we are going to have more to overcome in the face of exploitative advertising.
Our bodies are amazing. Have you ever been given any other gift that runs 24/7, works tirelessly without being taught and will always provide a home for you? Your body will never turn you away after you’ve beaten it up, called it names, degraded it and hated it—it will just stay there, supporting you, always.
What lover would do that?
Yet when women watch these commercials, all they do is compare. So many women find their bodies so unlovable. Skinny, fat, hairy, short—we turn our differences into detriments and beat ourselves up over them.
Are our bodies truly that hideous?
Or is it just that we were taught that it is much easier to blame our bodies than to face the real issues about why we feel we are unlovable?
Loving our bodies—ourselves—doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, it can be fun. Really fun.
Are you being true to you or living by a standard that someone else decided for you?
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Weight Release & Body Image Coach Laura Fenamore is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror, one pinky at a time, so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight and start loving their lives as soon as possible.
Her popular Body Image Mastery program is celebrated by hundreds of women who have lost weight, reclaimed self-esteem, and started bold, happy lives with Laura and her proven programs as their guide.
Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released over 100 pounds 24 years ago to begin a journey to guide other women to live more joyous, balanced lives. The author of the forthcoming book Weightless: 7 Tools to Love Your Body (and Lose Weight For Good) and a frequent contributor to local and national media – including First for Women, Ladies Home Journal, the Dr. Pat Show and blog contributor on Betty Confidential, Daily Love and Positively Positive. Laura believes that self-love and self-care is where the transformation begins. Learn more about her programs, invite her to speak or contribute to your program or conference, or place pre-orders for her book today at OnePinky.com.