It inevitably happens every year - the rage over some aspect of the Super Bowl. The sexist, oversexed, inappropriate commercials (we're all looking at you, GoDaddy), the racy halftime show, the bad calls during the game, the snide remarks made by announcers, the commercialization of American culture - you name it, someone's bound to have a problem with something about the most-watched sporting event of the year.
I have several friends who are far more intelligent than I am, and they're all addressing the sexist/power/gender/objectification arguments.
I, however, have another bone to pick.
After the halftime show was over last night, I jumped on Facebook to see how people were reacting to the performance. Some of the statuses included:
"Wow, I'm so disappointed in the Super Bowl. Had to turn off the TV because that halftime show wasn't honoring to the Lord."
"Beyonce, seriously? Why all of the gyrating and inappropriate dancing? Not to mention the outfit."
"Wow, the Super Bowl isn't family-friendly at all."
*record scratch sound*
Honoring to the Lord?
Riddle me this, outraged moms on Facebook - since when is the Super Bowl family-friendly, let alone honoring to God? Also, what planet are you from?
Let's start with the commercials.
Some companies knocked it out of the park last night, in a good way. The Budweiser Clydesdale horses made their annual appearance and it was the most heartfelt, beautiful ad of the night. Dodge pitched a lovely tribute to farmers, using stunning photography and a Paul Harvey voice-over. Jeep teamed up with Oprah & the USO for a tribute to the troops coming home from war.
Then there were the other commercials - those alluding to one night stands, models making out (noisily) with nerds, among others.
Let's get real, you don't have to be Don Draper to understand that in advertising, sex sells and money talks. This has never been a secret and it's been the formula for selling products for decades now. From Cindy Crawford in cutoff jean shorts drinking a Pepsi in the sun, now to Bar Rafaeli sloppily making out with a red-faced geek. It's all part of the same formula. Unfortunately in our culture, the formula is pure gold. Sensational images provide sensational results.
So, back to my original issue - please stop assuming that Super Bowl commercials are family-friendly. They haven't been for years. As long as the formula keeps producing the desired result, a good chunk of the Super Bowl commercials will continue to be inappropriate for young children.
Let's move on to the halftime show.
To those who took issue with the gyrating, sexy Beyonce performance... perhaps you missed the part where it was BEYONCE. If you've ever listened to a Top 40 station in the last 10 years, you've likely heard a Beyonce song... so, her lyrics and tone should come as no surprise. She's also been gyrating her sexily-dressed, Bootylicious ass across national stages since I was in high school.
So, when the halftime show starts and they announce "Beyonce!" You should have had a good idea of what to expect. If you've never seen Beyonce perform, a quick YouTube search could have solved that problem weeks ago when it was announced that she would perform at halftime. And really? REALLY? Let's be honest. Any remaining family-friendly nature of the halftime shows were torn away from us about the same time Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's boob to the world.
Now, please, don't get me wrong, in some ways, I'm right there with you. I wish this wasn't the case. I have two little ones at home entrusted to my care and I dread the thought of having to explain something to my young son (that he's not ready to hear and I'm not ready to give), all because of some raunchy, 45-second commercial slot during a sporting event. But, as much as I wish this wasn't the case, I also have a firm understanding of reality. If I want to protect my kid from images on TV that are too mature for his young eyes, its my responsibility.
It's my responsibility to know what to expect during the Super Bowl and it's my responsibility to act accordingly. In this case, if I'm concerned about what my kid will see on TV (and I should be concerned, based on previous Super Bowl broadcasts), it's my responsibility to turn off the TV during commercial breaks & the halftime show. Period. I can blame the ad agencies and brands, I can blame the musician or the Super Bowl planning committee, I can even blame the networks for playing inappropriate images before prime time when my kids would be in bed. But, the burden of protection and preparation rests solely on my shoulders and nobody else's.
Go ahead, be upset that we have a sex-crazed culture in which inappropriate messages & images work to sell products. But do us all a favor and stop the feigned shock and awe that the Super Bowl isn't "family friendly."
That ship sailed over a decade ago and you know it.