February 7, 2014
For the past couple of years, I have joined hundreds of women and men who have responded to sexist SuperBowl ads. In 2012, I analyzed Danica Patrick’s participation in GoDaddy’s ad and the implications of David Beckham’s come-hither looks. Afterwards, I joined The Representation Project’s letter-writing and twitter campaign, letting advertisers know that sexism is unacceptable, and will lose them business. At first, this effort felt like an uphill battle—advertisers seemed to think we were a nuisance that would soon go away. The 2013 SuperBowl was awash in sexist ads, and I analyzed them again—and retweeted the frustrated responses of others online, using The Representation Project’s #NotBuyingIt hashtag. This year, we were ready for the SuperBowl: The Representation Project created a #NotBuyingIt app that would allow viewers to tweet directly to advertisers during the game. And while there were some notable examples of sexism and racism in the ads, they were fewer, and less blatant. Some ads actually embraced diversity and empowered women. Woah, y’all. Woah. Now that is progress.
January 31, 2014
There is a sign on my front door—a very pretty sign, with blue glass that catches the winter light—that says Let It Snow. This sign is not on my door because I love snow—though I do think it’s beautiful, though it is fun to play in, when the mood is right. No, this sign is on my door as a reminder: I bought it when I lived in a place that felt foreign, a place where it might snow from late October until early June, a place where snow doesn’t melt easily. I lived in this place—Johnstown, Pennsylvania—during a period in my life in which I felt very limited. My parameters were defined by the bodies of my children, my boundaries etched in snow and cold. Had I been from this area—or one like it—I would no doubt have taken the snow in stride. This, as a southerner, is how I take heat. But months of cold spoke to me differently. Stop, the snow and ice said. Don’t expand your boundaries. So I didn’t.