An Inclusive Litany


From a report by the National Organization for Women Foundation on its first annual "Feminist Super Bowl AdWatch," in a section titled, "What We Found: Few Surprises," January 24, 2003:
Men were again the big winners in the Super Bowl ad extravaganza—many more men than women were employed to act in the commercials, and much of the content of the ads was directed at the male viewer.

The humor was clearly aimed at young men, with women being the butt of many jokes. A number of ads featured exclusively male casts, while others had only one or two female characters. The large majority of movies advertised were violent, male-oriented action flicks. The ads did not feature or appeal to a wide age range, starring mostly young, thin and able-bodied actors.

No female sports stars appeared in any of the ads, compared with at least six male athletes. And male celebrity spokespeople outnumbered females as well, though by a smaller margin. Exploitative promos for ABC programs came under fire from viewers, as did several of the "message" ads, which our feminist monitors felt were manipulative and misleading.

On the positive side, monitors noted that a significant number of people of color appeared in the commercials this year, and that racial diversity was prominent in several ads.

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