I am not a huge fan of commercials. While some can be entertaining, more often than not I find myself annoyed by the way companies advertise products. Such was the case when I viewed a commercial for NFL women’s apparel. I could feel my annoyance growing as the commercial flashed between several tall, skinny women. One walks two Great Danes while a second spits fire. Another woman drives a sports car while yet another walks into a club full of paparazzi. Everything happens in slow motion, of course, as the women flaunt their NFL apparel.
As the commercial concludes I look to my friend, another female football fan, and we both roll our eyes.
“Yeah, that’s exactly how women football fans look,” she said sarcastically.
We happen to be watching the game wearing T-shirts and jeans, sitting in our dorm and working on homework. No hair blowing in the wind, no three-inch heels and definitely no fire.
It irritates me that the media feels the need to represent female football fans as rebellious, sexy supermodels. Reality check: Most football-loving women do not look like that. And this commercial is definitely not the first or only advertising that represents women this way. Beer commercials, car advertisements and plenty of other products primarily positioned toward men often portray women as sexy, edgy and adventurous.
Women’s bodies are a “cheap trick” marketers use to grab the attention of their viewers and “simulate desire,” which they hope will be “transferred to the product,” stated Michael F. Jacobson in his article, “Sexism and Sexuality in Advertising.”
In regards to the aforementioned commercial, I think the idea of a woman wearing NFL apparel with a miniskirt while she dances in the club is just plain silly. When I wear a team’s apparel, it is usually because I am sitting on the couch watching the game or at the sporting event. Otherwise, I wear apparel casually with sweatpants or jeans. I definitely would never wear my Russell Wilson jersey to the club.
I understand the reasoning behind using supermodels for these products. I personally find myself more interested in a commercial if it has an attractive male advertising the product. The commercials catch our attention and therefore make us pay attention to the item being sold.
However, I do not appreciate the sexist representation of women who are fans of football. I am not saying there cannot be female football fans who are sexy, but it is not a requirement to be a supermodel as a football fan nor does wearing NFL apparel make a woman sexier.
The advertisements for NFL men’s apparel does not have them going to clubs, driving motorcycles or juggling flaming sticks. In fact, most ads have men doing what football fans do: watching the game, whether at home or at the event, and supporting his team. Their NFL apparel does not make them sexy; it makes them fans of the game.
These opposing representations frustrate me. Women have to live up to this unrealistic portrayal of an erotic, rebellious female who happens to wear football jerseys while men who adorn NFL apparel are simply expected to be loyal fans.
Do I think my jersey is cute? Sure, but that is not the reason I bought it. I do not wear it as a fashion statement, but as a message that I enjoy watching football and as a loyalty symbol to my favorite team.
Rebekah Breese Columnist
Contact Rebekah Breese at firstname.lastname@example.org