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Super Bowl 2014 Will Serve Up New Crop of Sexist Ads, But This Year You Can Tweet Back

The people making commercials seem to have confused sexy with sexist. Let 'em know what you think at #NotBuyingIt.

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Pop Culture Pushback

One of the great things about pop culture in the digital age is that we don’t have to resort to helpless bystanding. Social media and smartphone apps are now routinely harnessed to push back against stereotypes, misogyny and sexism. While plans for the Super Bowl rev up, so do the plans for collective action.

A newly launched smartphone app has rolled out just in time for the Super Bowl. The Representation Project (formerly MissRepresentation.org) describes #NotBuyingIt as the world’s first app dedicated to fighting media sexism. For those without an iPhone, the Representation Project invites people to join them by using #NotBuyingIt on Twitter during the Super Bowl to call out sexist commercials in real time. The plan is to spark a national conversation around gender stereotypes.

This project is already underway. In 2013, the Twitter hashtag by the same name harnessed social media in calling out offensive ads. After last year’s outpour of critique against GoDaddy’s regressively sexist advertising, the domain sales company has changed its tune. In GoDaddy’s effort to change its image, Ad Age reports that auto racing champion Danica Patrick appears this year in a muscle suit, surrounded by gigantic men racing to a tanning salon.

So while we might lament the tired tropes that will air during this year’s Super Bowl, we are not helpless. We can download and speak up. In other words, technology and social media give us a chance to rebel.

Shira Tarrant is an associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at California State University, Long Beach, and the author of several books, including Men and Feminism (Seal Press). She is currently writing The Sex Wars: Pole Dancing, Porn and Other Things That Freak People Out. Read more at ShiraTarrant.com.