My family, like everyone else in America, sat down tonight to tune in to the Super Bowl. After watching what was a very close and tension-ridden game (just kidding, I would HATE to be the Broncos right now), as well as a fantastic halftime show, we returned home, talking about our favorite parts of the spectacle. And, as we all know, everyone’s favorite part of the Super Bowl is the commercials.
Over the course of the Super Bowl there were, as always, many commercials, but one stood out to me in particular: Scarlett Johansson’s commercial for Soda Stream.
For anyone who hasn’t had the misfortune to see the commercial yet, allow me to give you a quick rundown: following her talking about her job as a “soda scientist”, the quite beautiful and quite skimpily-dressed Scarlett Johansson picks up her soda, sticks a straw in it, and begins to suck on the aformentioned straw suggestively. Then she bats her eyelashes and says in a sultry voice something along the lines of: “I just love helping people.” (In the original “uncensored” version she says “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” but so many people have already covered that particular controversy that I won’t even bother).
The Broncos fans at the party may have screamed with rage at the top of their lungs whenever the Seahawks scored a touchdown, but I think I took the prize for loudest and angriest when that commercial came on.
Now, it’s no secret that sex sells, and it’s no secret that sex sells well. And soda stream, fully aware of this fact, decided to use their coveted 30-or-so seconds of Super Bowl commercial time to showcase…Scarlett Johannsen sucking on a straw.
Many, many people had to approve this commercial. It had to go through writers and producers and executives before it made it to my TV screen. This was not some intern’s wet dream or some far-flung fantasy discussed around the water cooler—this was a clusterfuck which was given the green light by a whole fucking team of people. And that is disgusting. That is inexcusable.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with sex or sexualization. For many people, sex and sexuality are a natural and healthy part of life. The problem comes in when we consider the fact that nothing happens in a vacuum.
You would never, ever see a male actor in Johannsen’s place. Not in today’s society, at least. Johannsen is a very rich and very famous woman. But despite her immense amount of class privelege and fame, she is still defined by her gender rather than by her accomplishments or lack thereof. She is seen as an object which only serves one purpose—sex.
The message we were meant to take away from this commercial was clear: Scarlett Johansson will suck your dick, and all you have to do is buy a Soda Stream!
I cannot stress enough how gratuitous, damaging, and vile this method of advertising is. Rather than advertise the merits of the product itself, we are taught to automatically associate a product with sex. And more often than not, a product will be advertised by a woman suggestively hinting at performing a sexual act. Women are portrayed as nothing more than an object, an advertising gimmick worth about as much as CGI or a prop.
This is the not first commercial to ever contain unnecessarily sexual and objectifying content, nor will it be the last. But this commercial in particular was seen by countless people due to it airing during the Super Bowl. The entire country was taught tonight that purchasing a soda stream will lead to blowjobs for all. And I am furious about it.