“My Girl” and Football

This Super Bowl ad did not get as much attention as some of the other ones addressing gender roles, but I think it reveals a lot about modern girlhood in America. It shows a father and daughter watching a football game. After the other team scores a touchdown on their team, the daughter comments “They’re relying too much on the blitz.” Surprised, the father asks his Amazon Alexa to play the song “My Girl” to express his pride. While most of our novels present girlhood as a training period for womanhood, this commercial shows girlhood as time to learn about traditionally male pastimes as well. This change reflects lessening of distinctions between male and female adulthood, and thus between girlhood and boyhood as well.

Interestingly the girl in the commercial had some more traditional Western toys beside her, but instead focuses on the football game. Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s essay on Girlhood spends a lot of time discussing dolls as they relate to girlhood and preparation for the “coquetry” of womanhood. She also discusses the didactic nature of girl’s literature in preparing them for their domestic roles of adulthood.  However Reid- Walsh also writes “Changing concepts of girlhood now encompassed tomboys as a youthful identity, not simply a phase to be passed through on the way to mature womanhood (Renolds 2008)”.

Instead of learning “coquetry” or “domesticity” from her dolls and books, the girl in this commercial has chosen to engage in something with her father and glean knowledge by observing him. This learning style is very similar to the one presented in many of our books. Zitkala-Sâ learns embroidery and etiquette from observing her mother. Interestingly this girl has learned from her father, a male figure, rather than a female character. The novels we’ve read almost exclusively show learning along same-gendered lines (fathers teach sons and mothers teach daughters). The commercial’s choice reflects a continuing trend that tomboyishness is not only acceptable but encouraged in young girls in order to become more well-rounded women.

While football knowledge isn’t necessary for a girl to become a successful adult. Knowledge of anything traditionally seen as a more masculine topic gives her a unique sense of credibility (she’s a real fan). This commercial would not happen with a father and son, because it’s assumed that a boy would automatically understand and engage with something his father’s interested in.

5 thoughts on ““My Girl” and Football”

  1. I love this commercial! The first time I saw it, it made me smile, reminding me of my dad and me. I think you bring up a very interesting point about the daughter learning from her dad, rather than her mother. In the majority of our readings so far the girls have learned skills from their mothers. This makes me wonder, what if the commercial was reversed? What if, for example, it was a son and a mother, and the son made a knowledgeable comment about something usually women only know about. I wonder if this commercial would be accepted as well by society as the father/daughter commercial was.

  2. Not only was this commercial one of the cutest I have ever seen, it has to be one of the most important for our generation. Not only does this commercial go against stereotypical girlhood behavior, it emphasizes that it’s okay to be that one girl that knows about typical “boy” sports. In our generation, it’s becoming more and more normal for girls to be interested in the classical boy toys, like cars/trucks, football/soccer, and just being rougher than girls in previous decades. I can personally relate to this commercial in that I feel as if I’m the same type of girl in this ad. Usually when my favorite football team is on, my dad, brother and I bond over the player’s names and find ourselves yelling at the TV if there was a bad call. But with my mom’s generation, or the generation before her, when they were growing up, girls in the family usually didn’t know much about football and are probably more uninformed than my generation and myself.

  3. Gosh, I love this commercial. I had a similar situation growing up. I had three brothers growing up so I was around the “boy” pastimes all the time. This commercial is extremely important for the younger kids to realize that it IS okay to know about football terminology or anything else that is “meant for a boy.” When I was younger, I knew of many instances where boys like “girl” things and girls like “boy” things, but they were too afraid to speak of it because of the negative comments they may have received. Hopefully, this will open people’s mind even more into accepting anyone, no matter what he or she enjoys.

  4. I loved this commercial so much because it gave me such a sense of nostalgia for watching sports with my dad!

    I also found it interesting to relate back to jokes that people make about women not knowing anything about sports. I have seen tweets that say: Girl: “Oh I love this team and this sport!” Guy: “Oh yeah, name 3 players.” or something along that line. It is so paradoxical to think that girls don’t know anything about sports just because they are females, even if they played/play the sport. I love that Amazon challenged this notion through this commercial. Progressive advertisements always make me so happy!

  5. This commercial, like many other students, greatly reminds me of my dad and my relationship. He is still my best friend and I think it greatly stems from being so mutually interested in sports. Much of history involves young girls following in the shoes of their mother and I think it is great that some young girls follow in the shoes of their fathers instead. The young girl in the video sort of reminds me of a version of Laura from Little House on the Prairie. Similar to this little girl’s bonding moment with her father, Laura seemed to always wanting to be with her Pa.

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