The five reasons I will not participate in Super Bowl Sunday


If you didn’t know it already, it is Super Bowl Sunday. One would have to live under a rock to not know this, as marketing teams have constantly reminded us of this all-American tradition as soon they finished hyping-up the after Christmas sales.

I will be honest and disclose that I never really “got” football. Even though my husband and sons played the sport. Even though my daughters cheered and pom-pommed. Even though I have leaned on my gal-pals to explain the game in chick-terms. The whole “downs” thing confuses me. As a writer, I think they need to change the term for clarification (and so it isn’t repeated more than once in the same sentence), but, that is just my editorial opinion.

Last year, I helped my youngest daughter host a Super Bowl party here at our house. We had pizza, snacks and make-your-own super bowl sundaes – cool play on words, right? Everything was going along well, until the game started. Well, not the game as much as the commercials, where I had to explain to the young ladies about marketing and sex and advertising. Then half-time came along, where I had to explain that true talent doesn’t need to be sexed-up; for this next generation to not fall into the trap of using their bodies and not their minds and talents. I was horrified that a few blocks away, my son and his pals were watching the same crap – and hoping a parent was there to be a buffer. And then more sleazy commercials aired, so many that the girls felt “awkward” watching – among themselves and me. The girls turned the game off, and watched a movie. I went into my office and wrote a blog about our adventures.

This year, I am blogging ahead of the game, but not so that I can watch the game. My post is explaining why, after all these years, I will no longer participate by watching the Super Bowl games.

Reason number one that I won’t watch the game: the commercials.

As a college student back in the day, I watched the Super Bowl to see the commercials. As a journalism, advertising and marketing student, I studied intently – looking at the psychology, color, placement, music – the whole package. Now, as a parent in the midlife phase, I watch commercials and get disgusted. It is the same old business model. The pharmaceuticals say how wonderful a drug is, then list a boatload of side effects to the point my mind shuts down. Occasionally, there will be a cutesy, clever or funny ad.

But most of the time, we have the classic bare-it-all ads. Apparently, sex sells, because it is used to sell everything from cars, chips, beer, food, clothing, shampoo, websites and anything and everything else. Last year’s Hardees/Carl’s Jr. ads were beyond seductive – they were outright pornographic – using an airbrushed model having an orgasm eating fast food. Seriously – is the food that good or was she just faking it?

I digress. Back to my rant. I find all these sexually provocative commercials boring. Done and done. Madison Avenue, put on your creative thinking caps and come up with something new, something creative, something innovative.

Reason number two that I won’t be watching the Super Bowl: the media hype.

My top will blow if I see one more recipe, one more commercial about the game, one more special interview, one more headline, one more Facebook or Twitter reminder.

Reason number three that I won’t be watching the Super Bowl: the money.

I read a blog post by financial guru Dave Ramsey. The money spent on this game, between tickets, travel, commercials and snack food is beyond obscene. Read about it here. Though I am happy the local economy hosting the game will get a boost, I shudder thinking about the little ones here in our own country who will go to bed hungry tonight.

Reason number four I won’t be watching the Super Bowl: exploiting women.

Yes, I said it. Probably not popular, either. But, with the young ladies selling themselves in the commercials – and on the streets – my mind goes to how are women supposed to be taken seriously when we still have those who confirm we are nothing more than a set of body parts. Not to mention the kids stuck in the human sex-trafficking rings here in our own country – and abroad. For an eye-opener on sex-trafficking, read this article.

Reason number five I won’t be watching the Super Bowl: values.

The values of the promoters and participants of the Super Bowl are not in line with mine. I will continue to support football on the high school and college levels – for the moment – because at the time, there is just a love of sport with the players. There is passion in the game.

I am sure I will be declared an odd-ball in this rebellion, and my not participating won’t change a thing. But for me, I will at least feel that I didn’t give my stamp of approval for what this game has become to me – a bore.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

What are your thoughts? Have you grown bored with it as well?

Sex, Super Bowl and Sundaes


“Everyone in society should be a role model, not only for their own self-respect, but for respect from others.” – Barry Bonds

Like so many other Americans, I spent last night watching the Super Bowl. My teen-aged daughter had a couple of her gal pals over, and we feasted on pizza, chips and make-your-own sundaes.

I admit that I don’t know a whole lot about football, and the game itself doesn’t interest me much. As a writer with a background in journalism, advertising and public relations, I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.

This year, I was pretty disappointed.

My daughter and her pals use the word “awkward” for most any situation. So when the Calvin Klein, scantily clad male-model underwear commercial aired, in a room with impressionable young ladies, let’s say I felt, um, awkward.

Dismissing the commercial as inappropriate, I reminded the girls that, like female models, this guy didn’t represent real guys. And most men don’t do interpretive dance in their skivvies (I think!). I mean, they may slide across the floor like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business,” but not like in this commercial. And Tom did have a shirt on, too, didn’t he?

Of course, these types of commercials are prevalent. Airbrushed men and women grace our big-screen TVs and magazine pages, and make us average Joes look like the Stay-Puf Marshmallow Man. I think I am dating myself.

When Beyoncé took to center stage for the half-time show, let’s say at that point “awkward” was an understatement. I thought that I should run and stand in front of the TV, blocking the girls’ view, not caring about being labeled the old-fashioned, non-cool mom. But I didn’t. Instead, I took the opportunity as a teaching moment; to say that the attire these gals were wearing for the entire world to see was, in my opinion, entirely inappropriate. And because of what they wore, they sold themselves short. Basically, their talent came in second to their costumes, and that is sad.

Oh, I am a fuddy-dud. But please, hear me out.

Sex sells. That has been proven over and over again. But in our culture, we are selling ourselves out. We are getting to the point that we are being de-sensitized. Does that matter? In a word, yes! Well, why?

Just as with violence, we keep pushing sexual images on everyone. Young, impressionable kids are told by our attitudes that “sex is bad; sex is dirty,” and then they see images on TV and in magazines showing big boobs, tight butts, trim bellies and more. They are so used to seeing these images, that there is a need to show more and more skin to make  messages and shows more effective and enticing. And shocking.

Sadly, the more skin they see, the less they find it shocking. Our young ladies are basically encouraged to dress provocatively to get attention, because that is the message they are sent. So, any talents or skills they have are second in line to how much skin they bare. And it is spilling over to the guy’s side now, too.

When we, as a culture, de-sensitize sex, at what point do those lines blur into increased incidents of sexual harassment, assault, rape and other crimes?

I remember back when I was about 18 or 19 years-old, and I was heading out the door to meet my friends. I had on a brand-new, tight-fitting skirt, with a very long slit. It showed plenty of thigh.

My dad stopped me at the door.

“You’re not wearing that out of this house,” he hollered.

“What?” I responded, shocked and stunned. I mean, come on, Dad, I’m a legal adult!

“That sends the wrong message,” he yelled.

“What are you talking about?” I yelled back.

“That slit will be sewn up. You are not walking out the door in that thing. End of discussion.”

And he walked away.

Stunned, I went back into my room, changed, and muttered about getting my own place and wearing what I wanted. A few days later, when cooler heads prevailed, my mom sewed the slit to an approved length.

I am really sorry I never thanked my dad for that valuable lesson. Though he didn’t use these exact words, by his actions, he was showing his concern; that he wanted me to respect myself enough to not sell myself short. If some young man wanted me, then he should want me for who I was; the whole package – not just the thighs.

I bet if I post a racy photo on my blog today, it will generate a whole lot more hits than by just posting my words. But that’s okay. I am not going to cheapen myself. No Dad, I am glad I listened. I wish you were here for me to say thanks. Whatever I do in the world will be done to God’s glory, via the talent He’s given me, not by selling myself short.

So there it is – my a-ha moment. After all these years, it hit me last night while giggling with the gals and eating ice cream smothered in chocolate, caramel and whipping cream: If a product or a person needs to be sexualized in order to sell, then you know what? It isn’t worth my money or time.

An a-ha moment I plan to share with my kids. And their friends.

What do you think? Am I old-fashioned or onto something here? Let me know in the comments section.

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb