Reebok NFL Commercial

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Has anyone else seen this commercial for NFL apparel directed solely at women?

Now, I’m not a sports fan. I can’t even remember the last time I sat down and watched any sport on television. I enjoy hockey, but prefer it live. That said, I really enjoy the Reebok commercial. I like that they’ve managed to show women as sports (specifically football, but hopefully that’ll broaden) fans . I like that they show the women with a similar kind of machismo male fans exhibit (the ones I’m familiar with, anyway) regarding their team of choice.

I’m not entirely convinced women’s sports clothing has to be so “cutesy,” and would have liked to have seen mixed company in the ad. I know it’s targeted to women, but I’d wager that most gatherings around the TV for sporting events involve both genders. But those are just minor quibbles. Overall I just really enjoy that someone’s finally out-and-out acknowledging that guys are not the only ones who enjoy professional sports.

ETA: Thanks to wright, it’s been brought to my attention that at the very end of the commercial, when the Jets fan and the Giants fan glare at each other, there’s a “catfight” sound effect. I had never noticed this before, it’s that subtle. And now that I have noticed it, the commercial has a much less posititive impact on me. It went from showing women fans behaving just like men fans to promoting a pretty lame stereotype. Up until the catfight sound, you could have essentially substituted gender.

Amazing how one little thing can change so much.

Comments

  1. thecomedychick says

    Loved the ad, especially the Giants/Jets thing as I am from Clifton, NJ the backyard of the meadowlands. I want to learn the handshake!

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I wonder if they avoided including men to avoid the implication that women only get into sports and action/sci-fi movies because their menfolks introduce ‘em to it.

  3. sbg says

    I wonder if they avoided including men to avoid the implication that women only get into sports and action/sci-fi movies because their menfolks introduce ‘em to it.

    Good point, hadn’t thought of that. Good on them if they had that much forethought! ;)

  4. says

    a similar kind of machismo male fans exhibit

    I loved the ad, and specifically this vibe. I am a sports fan, and I totally relate to the way I am about sports in this dynamic. While I don’t know how much credit for forethought to give them, I’d ad that male presence might also make it too ‘male gaze’ focused–women act like this around sports not because it’s the way they are, but because it’s sexy. Sometimes I want to start a women only Hockey Night in Canada gathering to avoid that.

  5. wright says

    I loved the commercial too. Right until I heard the cat fight sound at the very end of the commercial, right after the words “Be A Fan” show up. People just can not pass up an opportunity to be sexist.

  6. sbg says

    *runs to watch/listen again*

    Holy shit, you’re right. I’ve never actually heard it before! It does lessen my enjoyment considerably. :(

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Wow. I thought that was just a fluke noise at first, but wright is right. Damn.

    (SBG, if it changed your perception of the commercial, you could amend your post with an “Update” or “ETA”.)

    Now the message I get is, “Sure, women can like sports! It’s just that when they deal with fans of rival teams, they’d sort it out by catfighting instead of like men. Right, girls? What? What’d I say?”

  8. Melissa says

    Just found your site looking for other people who noticed the cat noise. I love the commercial until the noise. I wish I knew who to complain to about it.

  9. Shadowen says

    Up until the catfight sound, you could have essentially substituted gender.

    Actually, you could still switch genders, but that changes the joke significantly.

  10. sbg says

    Actually, you could still switch genders, but that changes the joke significantly.

    True enough, but do you think it would even occur to someone to insert that catfight noise if the commercial had been marketing male sports attire “as a joke”?

    Doubtful.

  11. says

    With men, it would be a “pissing contest” so the sound would be a growl or bark – dogs pissing around territory. So even if it made fun of them, there’d be a sense they’re to be taken more seriously because dogs are more dangerous predators (from a human perspective) than cats.

    Which thread was it where Maggie explained quite wonderfully how the “men = dogs” and “women = cat” stereotype reflects men seeing themselves as pack animals and team players, and seeing women as solitary creatures who don’t get along with each other?

  12. Gategrrl says

    Even if women are seen as members of the pack (ie, dogs) they’d be called “bitches”. Can’t win for losing, there.

  13. MaggieCat says

    The cat discussion was on my Prison Break post, starting around comment #10.

    With men, it would be a “pissing contest” so the sound would be a growl or bark – dogs pissing around territory. So even if it made fun of them, there’d be a sense they’re to be taken more seriously because dogs are more dangerous predators (from a human perspective) than cats.

    Probably. Because dogs and humans are by nature pack animals and get and maintain authority by working inside a hierarchy, and we love to delude ourselves that we are the best animals on the planet and that any other system is obviously inferior. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence when that same “inferior” system is historically associated with a group that’s also been considered inferior the way that women have been.

  14. Gategrrl says

    Lions: the females in the pride make most of the kills and stay together when the male lions lose their positions to younger lions. They are cats that coordinate as a pack (“pride”) and yet, have been prized as symbols of nobility and courage throughout the ages.

    Or are we just talking housecats, here?

    In which case, cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt (as were other animals).

    Large cats are deadly hunters – witness the rash of mountain lion killings of humans in Western Canada (Vacouver Island) recently.

  15. says

    I meant just housecats in the sense of what women are being compared to when people call us “feline” and talk about our “catfighting”. (Nothing against housecats, who really don’t deserve the put-downs anymore than women do.)

  16. MaggieCat says

    I was mostly referencing housecats, because that’s what most people think of when you sat ‘cat’, and it’s usually what’s being referenced when people used the dreaded ‘cat-fight’ or ‘catty’ labels.

    Lions are the most social type of cat and they do work in groups, similar to wolves and dogs that work in packs which makes it quite interesting that they’re the ones most frequently held up as symbols of nobility and bravery in western culture. And just how often does pop culture make the mistake of having the important lions be male? Almost all of the mythical representations– heraldry and what have you– use lions with manes: male. (With the exception of the Sphinx, who’s generally seen as vicious and mysterious, there are the qualities we more commonly see associated.) I remember nearly falling over in shock when The Lion King got it right about the lionesses being the hunters.

    I’m not trying to argue that it’s a cause, just that there is a lot that suggests it’s an effect- women were barred from seeking power in groups the way that men did, and domesticated cats who act in similar manners were vilified and accused of being the familiars of witches. The one species of cat that does work in prides and has a male leader (even if the females are doing the actual hunting, they’re still second class when it comes to eating) are the ones held up by human royalty and leaders.

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