In 2013 the average price of a thirty second Super Bowl Advertisement was 3.8 million dollars (Media Life.) This high price is due not only to the large viewership but also the fact that less than one percent of viewers tune away during commercials during the Super Bowl (Media Life.) This year, Audi aired a one-minute commercial on Super Bowl Sunday featuring a teenage boy who becomes courageous when given they keys to his father’s car before prom. Exhilarated by his newfound confidence, he grabs the prom queen and kisses her. Men and women across America reveled in what appeared to be the advertisement’s rebelliousness against American society. Many viewers, both men and women, believed that such a boy should be applauded for disrupting high school norms, completely missing the underlying assumption of heterosexuality, emphasis of hegemonic masculinity, and encouragement of male dominance and female submission within the commercial. By presenting a scenario that conforms to these American gendered sexual scripts Audi’s advertisement reinforces the existing gender hierarchy in order to market cars to men.
Audi’s commercial reinforces modern American gender roles by normalizing and even applauding those who enact them. Enacting these roles and behaving in a way that confines to the expectations of the hierarchical binary gender system is a form of performance which is referred to by many feminist theorists as “doing gender” (West and Zimmerman as cited by Schilt and Westbrook.) Contrary to popular belief, these notions of the ideal and appropriate masculinity and femininity are not natural results of human biology. These notions of appropriate conduct for the genders, being culturally constructed, vary historically and globally. I...
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