May 14, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII: Life Lessons

Did you watch Super Bowl XLVII? Silly question for most, I know. I watched it. In the comfort of my own living room, with my husband and two sons. We’re not a football loving kind of family, but we like to put on the big game every once in a while, so we can know what everyone around us is raving about, and because we like to see all the new creative commercials and the half-time spectacle.

In the past, my boys never showed interest, but this year curiosity got the better of them, and they asked to watch the game. Of course, that meant an endless slew of questions. “What’s a kick-off?” “What’s a down?” “What’s a quarter?” “Do they have to get a certain amount of points to win?” Growing up, I learned enough about the game to be able to answer their questions, because my father never missed a game all season long, and I had no choice but to watch.

However, their curious little minds quickly switched gears, and instead of asking, “How do they get those ‘4th and 10’ signs to pop up on the field all the time”, they began to ask different questions. Questions that no 8- or 10-year-old should have to ask. Questions like, “Why are they kissing like that?” “How come she’s half naked?” “Why is that guy trying to take that girl’s shirt off?” “What kind of dancing is that?” “Mom! That guy only has on his underwear!”

After the game ended, and even the day after the event, comments and opinions run rampant. Most people thought the game was entertaining. San Francisco could have won it in the last 2 minutes, if only they’d pushed past the Ravens defensive line into the end zone. It was so close! The opinions of the half-time show were pretty split between loving it and hating it. Some thought Beyonce’ blew it up. Some thought she bombed. Many people felt the commercials were subpar this year. Not quite as funny or creative as previous years. Except maybe for the Doritos goat. And the car commercial where the robot woman beat up the guy who kicked the car’s tires.

What I can’t believe, though, is the lack of comments regarding the over-sexualized content of some of the commercials, and the half-time showing of Beyonce’ wearing one quarter of an outfit that nearly showed her hoochiechoochie and a neckline that plummeted down to her belly button, coupled with her blatantly sexual pelvic gyrations and hand gestures.

What Cro-Magnon man thinks the only people who watch the Super Bowl are single men with nothing better to think about than football, beer, and sex? Families watch the Super Bowl. Families with young, impressionable children…. boys, especially. MY boys watched the Super Bowl. My boys, who never knew anything about the game of football, and have never watched a game before. Do you know what my boys learned about football while watching the Super Bowl? They learned how to make out. They learned that it’s normal to wake up in bed with some girl who’s wearing your shirt (“but why is she wearing his shirt, mom? And why is he trying to take it off of her?”) They learned that it’s okay to look at pictures and videos of people who are in their underwear but are not your husband or wife. And, last but not least, they learned how to dance, complete with a succession of pelvic thrusts, a hand to the crotch, and a throaty moan.

What baffles me is not many people are talking about that. There are plenty of “What a great game!”s and “Beyonce’ rocked it!”s and “I can’t believe the lights went out”s. But no outcry against what our children, who so looked forward to watching the biggest football game of the year, were subjected to, without warning to and without consent from us parents. Even friends of mine, both past and present, who I know to be people of good moral character, and many of whom are Christians, proclaimed the awesomeness of the battle between the Niners and the Ravens, but seemed to pay no heed to the not-so-subtle introduction of hyper-sexualized “entertainment”. As if it was a non-issue. As if it was perfectly normal and acceptable. As if they no longer notice the lack of morality permeating mainstream media that we’re not only allowing but also inviting into our homes and into our minds.

My boys and I learned a lot during Super Bowl XLVII. None of us know much more about football now than we did before watching the game. But my boys’ innocent little 8- and 10-year-old minds learned how the world views physical relationships, and they learned how to bump and grind. And I learned that my family won’t be watching the Super Bowl again anytime soon.

Did you watch the Super Bowl?  What did you think of the half-time show and commercials this year?

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