Super Bowl LIV’s “Rainbow Wave”
By Jackie McMahon, Staff Writer
Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV was the first in its history to include an openly gay and female coach, with the San Francisco 49ers’s assistant coach Katie Sowers, but it is also being praised for its LGBTQ+ representation in more ways than one. There was also representation present in some of the Super Bowl’s iconic ads. The LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD embedded on their website eleven Super Bowl ads that they deemed as queer-inclusive. “The level of diverse LGBTQ inclusion from over ten brands during advertising’s biggest night, coupled with Katie Sowers’ trailblazing role on the field as Offensive Assistant Coach of the 49ers, marked a rainbow wave at the Super Bowl this year,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis shared with NBC News.
Some of the night’s diverse ads included a Sabra hummus commercial featuring drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, famous for their appearances in RuPaul’s Drag Raceseasons 8 and 10 respectively. Other diverse ads included a Pop Tarts commercial with non-binary Queer Eyestar Jonathan van Ness, an Amazon Alexa commercial with married couple Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, and a TurboTax ad featuring transgender actresses Isis King and Trace Lysette.
Though these commercials may not seem like a big deal to some, the Super Bowl is one of America’s most-watched television events of the year, with millions of viewers across the country. Many of these viewers “are often not exposed to…LGBTQ people in general”, says Alex Bollinger of LGBTQ Nation, and diversity and inclusion is an important step towards widespread acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
There was still, however, outrage from conservative groups. One Million Moms petitioned for Sabra’s ad to be pulled from the Super Bowl lineup. “Sabra Dipping Company LLC is choosing to push an agenda of sexual confusion instead of promoting its actual product. The PC-inclusive ad blurs the biological distinctions between male and female. Normalizing this lifestyle is contrary to what conservative, Christian parents are teaching their children about God’s design for sexuality. Thanks Sabra! Now parents have to explain to their confused children!” said Monica Cole, executive director of One Million Moms. However their petition received less than 35,000 signatures, and the ad aired as planned. GLAAD responded to One Million Moms with a statement from CEO Ellis. “Family-friendly brands today include all families, including LGBTQ ones. GLAAD has long been advocating for brands to feature LGBTQ people in Super Bowl ads and this year American families saw and cheered a diverse range of LGBTQ icons – it’s about time.”
Indeed, it is time.