Super Bowl Ads and Valuing Women

By MeLissa LeFleur

Value women. That seemed to be the theme for many of this year's Super Bowl ads. The most overt was Procter & Gamble's advertisement of Always products that tacked the stereotype of the phrase "Like a girl." The ad turned the negative phrase into a positive! Yes, I want to throw like a girl! I want to run like a girl! It's awesome to be a girl!

Later, the NFL donated 30 seconds of time, equaling $4.5 million, to address a topic that has been in the limelight all season — domestic violence and sex assault. During the ad, a scared woman pretends to order pizza, but is in fact, secretly signaling her location to the authorities.

The commercial for McDonald's kicked off a promo that encourages customers to call their moms or hug a friend in order to "pay with lovin" rather than cash or credit. It presents the message of valuing others.

Dove Men asked the question, "What makes a man stronger?" The answer came in a powerful way — "Showing that he cares!" The dad throws his child in the air, comes running to a child sitting on the toilet, comforts a screaming child, rescues one caught on the monkey bars, and shows compassion to his daughters.

Many of the ads seemed to stand together in unison and say, "Let's show others we care! Let's treat women and girls better! Hold them in honor. We're in this together."

Then the message changed drastically. The trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey came booming through our TV and punched me in the face. The book and movie paint an image that being devalued and used is desirable. It presents true masculinity as synonymous with violence. Rather than "Let's treat women better," it presents love and passion as "Let's tie a women down, blindfold her, and hit her."

Women have flocked to read this book. It has topped best seller lists around the world. Over 100 million copies have sold and it has been translated into 52 languages. Sexual violence has been glorified and women have rallied in support of a story where a girl is manipulated and abused by a man.

Many say, "But sexual violence was consensual in Fifty Shades of Grey." So, as long as I agree to it, my partner can beat and devalue me? Is that a sign of a healthy relationship? As a woman, you are not an object to be dominated. You are not prey. You are valued and loved by God!

As I watched the ad, I glanced over to the teenage girl sitting next to me. She was absorbing the images and the message. I was reminded of my responsibility to teach her that she is more than a sex object, more than someone to be manipulated. I silently prayed for God to give me opportunities to share with our next generation of women that they are valuable and loved by an amazing God. Will you join me in passing on that important message?

As I think about the ads we watched during the big game, I ask you, "Fellow women, which do we want? Do we want to be held in honor or devalued?"

We can't have it both ways.

Image: From Dove's "Always Like a Girl" ad

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Current-Issues  | Personal-Relationships  | Womens-Issues

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Published 2-5-15