FOMOF Commercials Include Women, But Still Force Blame on Them

It’s nothing like the Super Bowl, but with a new football season comes fresh, hopefully funny, commercials. Axe is making its usual splash. Every time the camera pans out to show Wes Welker in the snow globe my dad laughs his way off the couch.

Then there are the FOMOF commercials — Fear of Missing Out on Football (Should probably be FOMOOF, but we’ll skim by that). The first I saw was a father forgoing football for princess shows with his daughter, to which he’ll probably be given a father of the year award by someone. Verizon also has one of a husband who’s dragged out to pick apples.

They’re kind of funny, don’t get me wrong. As a huge sports fan, I would hate to miss a good game because my kid wanted to watch a pre-recorded princess show in a tutu. Or miss out because my boyfriend wanted to go apple picking and probably insist we bake a pie afterward.

The issue I have with these commercials ties into that last sentence. They focus on men watching football and women taking them away from that. The daughter wants to “act girly.” The wife pulls her husband away from the couch and is the reason he’s not watching football. As usual, let’s as a society push the blame onto the women for taking men away from what they would rather be doing.

A few nights ago I saw a third FOMOF commercial:

It’s funny for sure and boy, do I want that cupcake right now. At first I was out-of-this-world enthused Verizon included this particular 15-second spot. When I searched Twitter, I found a few fellow happy souls as well.

And proof it’s a real problem for women, since they also care about their football games:

It’s a step in the right direction. Studies show more and more women are watching football than ever before. Nielson reported in 2011 more women watched the NFL than the NBA or MLB. Some women watch for fantasy football purposes, as a Charlotte (N.C.) station wrote about a few weeks ago. One of my good friends started watching after we begged her into our league, and she’s a huge football fan now.

I don’t want to take anything away from Verizon. For once a company is diversifying and attempting to squash gender stereotypes. I give them all the kudos in the world for that.

While this commercial is good in that aspect, there’s still the root problem: Who is it that’s pulling her away from the game? The answer is a double-whammy. Not only is it women pulling her away from her comfy couch and six-pack, it’s a stereotypical women’s event. A baby shower. You can’t push the blame onto women better than that.

I’ve been guilty of this exact issue. Not the “pulling him away” part, but the “blaming the girl” part. In everyone’s defense, this usually seems to be the case. A friend’s girlfriend won’t let him go see a late movie because she wants to go to bed early or she won’t let him hit the bars because she wants them to drive forever away to pick apples at the crack of dawn. If the problem is real, the blame is real.

But I’ve had men do the exact same to me. I’ve had boyfriends who hated me going out on a Friday night instead of staying in with them. They become upset that I’d rather watch the Mets lose again than pay them any attention. And forget about sneaking a peak at sports highlights during a serious moment. I’ve been deep in the doghouse for that one, and unfortunately cooking doesn’t get me out of it.

It’s a scenario that goes both ways. It’s about time we stop pushing all the blame on women for taking their men away. While it is sometimes the case, pop culture doesn’t have to keep pointing this out to us. All it does is proliferate the problem. It’s a cop out to make a funny.

It’d be nice if Verizon came out with a fourth commercial. How about a man — a macho, manly man to fight the stereotype — insisting his football-loving girlfriend go shopping with him instead of watching the games. I know plenty of straight men who shop. And plenty who don’t need to be glued to every game.

How about we start pointing them out so we’re not all pigeonholed into a certain way we’re told to act. Thankfully, we’re getting closer.

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15 comments

  1. Well, 99.999999999999% of the time it is the women. Stereotypes don’t exist because they’re false. They’re just not ALWAYS true. “Cooking doesn’t get me out of it.” Tapping any stereotypes there? Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with men and women being different. If you need a signature for a petition to make it #FOMOOF, I’m at your service.

  2. Manowar · · Reply

    There are more important things to worry about.

  3. […] Verizon’s #FOMOF advertisements. I read a great blogpost recently on Negley’s Nook called, “FOMOF Commercials Include Women, But Still Force Blame on Them”, which discuss the Verizon ads that run frequently on Sundays about “Fear of Missing out on […]

  4. LadyDuck106 · · Reply

    As a woman who loves football I really appreciated your commentary until the end. You made an indirect stereotypical assessment of gay men (referencing straight men who also like to shop). I know gay guys who could care less about a trip to the mall and some who would actually enjoy watching a football game instead! Maybe gay men are seen as typically enthusiastic shoppers, but it seems this could be a promoted stereotype as well. Just sayin’. 😊

    1. It is a stereotype, unfortunately. I do see your point. I suggest using a “manly man” because of this stereotype. In my opinion, if a guy who would be thought of as gay on first glance were used (we do all judge people quickly), viewers would write him off as such. Essentially, they would be saying “well, she’s in for a surprise when he finally tells her he’s gay.” I don’t condone that one bit, but I could see it happening. It wouldn’t help validate the point. But if we use the stereotype in our advantage, meaning use a guy who people would quickly judge as straight, I think it would help break all of those stereotypes (that men have to like sports, that women don’t, that women pull their men away from sports).

  5. Would you like some french cries to go with that wahmburger?

  6. I have to agree that stereotypes really do have a basis in reality. Reality is what they’re born from. It’s interesting that, at some point, some sort of behavior becomes a stereotype, and once it is considered a stereotype on a large scale, it is (essentially) instantly evil. I’m not a stereotypical male. I love NFL football (Go Bears!), but the scantily-clad women singing a pointless song before the game (NBC, ESPN and NFL Network) piss me off. What does that have to do with football? The “analysts” who seem to scream at the camera? Not for me. Can I miss watching a Bears game live on TV? Sure – I can DVR it. Or I can listen to it on the radio (the local call is usually better anyway).

  7. While I do see where you’re coming from with this assessment, the root of your blame is flawed. Not every commercial or thing on television is a microcosm. A little girl wants to watch a princess show on the only tv in the house. The man is sad that he’s missing out on a game. This is a situation showed to us in humorous fashion. Just because we can tell that he is a man and she is a little girl does not automatically mean this company is trying to reinforce stereotypes. You are putting that meaning behind the message all on your own. You are choosing to infer this without real evidence that it’s implied in the first place. If people like you continue to make these assumptions, ironically generalizing the thing that you believe is generalizing, then it’ll get to a point where every single thing on tv is criticized in this way. If we are to believe your analysis is correct, then I suppose every single situation shown on television is explicitly biased. Are they really not allowed to show a woman taking a man apple picking because that seems like a stereotype? Do they have to make a commercial where a man forces a woman to go to a cooking class to make it all right? No, because it’s not up to them to represent society nor could they if they tried. They are selling a product. You are selling a message.

    1. If I’m not trying to drive drunk, but my blood alcohol level is above the limit and i am behind the wheel of a moving car with my hands on the wheel, am I still driving drunk? Intent and effect are two entirely different things. it seems to me the writer just wants the effect acknowledged.

  8. Because there are no commercials that blame men for anything and everything? How about every single on except for the ones mentioned here.

  9. R.Razz · · Reply

    Stfu. Nobody gives a crap that you are offended of these commercials. They were funny and I’m glad you like football. I will be sending your congratulatory trophy in the mail soon.

  10. Rips Nordic · · Reply

    As a father of a daughter, I can completely relate to how he feels and I thought it was funny, been there done that. I never thought for a second that a female was causing him to miss out on football like your stereotype implies. I got tired of watching Dora the Explorer all day so instead of telling my daughter no all the time, I hung a tv on the wall and sitting on a stand right below it is the second tv. There, problem solved, everyone is happy

  11. […] early October I wrote a blog post about the “Fear of Missing Out on Football” commercials Verizon Wireless had out for […]

  12. Sparky · · Reply

    News flash: Verizon doesn’t care if you don’t approve of their commercial. They are trying to sell a product to a specific target demographic which does not include you, or anyone else that would take offense with these commercials. As someone who DOES fall into their target audience, I can say that I find these commercials to be SPOT-ON. Their marketing/advertising team was GENIUS on this one. Stop sippin’ the Hater-ade.

  13. […] lost track of game time, but I interrupt this game log for a quick mini-rant. I’ve said this before, but commercials should really be stepping their game up. You have a national stage and millions […]

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