Super Bowl XLIV : Anti-Choice Ads, Homophobic Decisions, and Sexism

by Katie Oldaker

The Super Bowl is, historically, one of the most-watched events in American television each year. Folks gather far and wide to watch the AFC and the NFC champs duke it out. Although really, the Super Bowl is more about two very very important things: one being food (just writing this so far has made me crave queso dip and pigs in a blanket…) and the other being good old American capitalism via commercial-watching. We’ve all seen the entertaining ads with cat herders and Mean Joe Greene, but this year, CBS is making us here at BUST scratch our heads with their choices on what to accept/not accept in commercials.


Firstly, the Tim Tebow/Focus on the Family (anyone else get a stomach-turning reaction at that name?) spot that’s had the internet a’buzz. Tim Tebow is a former college football star from the University of Florida (my friends from Florida assure me he is a big deal, but I only follow the Steelers, so I have no idea) and, at some point, his mom chose not to have an abortion. Focus on the Family sees an opportunity!

According to an article from the Associated Press via the New York Times’ The Quad blog: “The group isn’t releasing details, but the commercial is likely to be an anti-abortion message chronicling Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim.”

I get the sneaking suspicion that the spot will go something like this: “Hey everybody! Think twice about that trip to Planned Parenthood! All aborted babies would have grown up to be football stars!” Vomit.


Secondly,, a gay dating site, went ahead and submitted a spot, a cute little ditty wherein two male football fans are watching a game. They reach for a potato chip and their hands brush. They kiss. Pretty simple, light-hearted stuff.

[video: 425×344]

Cute, right?

But wait, there’s more. CBS, citing ManCrunch’s “lack of credit”, has decided that the spot won’t be shown. (ManCrunch offered to pay for the ad, which would cost $3 million, with cash.) What? So Danica Patrick can get nearly naked for but two dudes can’t kiss? Would this ad be enough for everyone in the country to seriously stop watching the Super Bowl? (I am, of course, assuming that that’s the criteria all ads are judged by: Will the viewer change the channel?) I somehow doubt this. Even if this is the case, rejecting this ad shows CBS’s true feelings, which appear to be something along the lines of: “Hey, we don’t care if we’re catering to intolerance. Why would anyone other than homophobes watch the Super Bowl anyway?”


And, a last tidbit to chew on (that has been given little attention, especially in light of all these other shenanigans): there hasn’t been a female Super Bowl Halftime performer since Janet Jackson in 2004. Given, I love me some Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and this year’s performers, the Who, but really? All in a row? Not a single lady to speak of? Heck, in the Super Bowl last year, Springsteen slid into a camera, giving the millions of Super Bowl viewers a lovely view of his crotch. So, basically, a stray boob causes a stop of female performers, but, hey, a closeup of a clothed dick is acceptable!


To recap: All aborted babies would have grown up to be Heisman Trophy winners, men shouldn’t be kissing, and ladies shouldn’t be performing on the big stage at the Super Bowl.


To add your name to NARAL’s petition to CBS to stop the Tebow ad, click here.

To write to NFL Corporate, click here.


And, just in case you want to lower your blood pressure a bit (it is Friday!), here’s my favorite Super Bowl ad of all time, the herding cats spot from EDS:

[video: 425×344] ad via ManCrunch on Youtube, Herding Cats ad via CBS on Youtube

Image courtesy

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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