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.