By Sarah Purple, NCSE Intern
If you watched the Super Bowl commercials this year, you may have noticed a refreshing theme: the importance of fatherhood. While many commercials in the past have aimed for sex appeal, this year’s ads truly appealed to the heart, particularly the Dove, Nissan, and Toyota ads. At a time when the NFL has been under fire for cases of domestic abuse among its players, the focus on true manhood being a measure of how much a man cares could not have come at a better time.
In 2005, Dallas police officials took a look into what causes teenage girls to become prostituted, either of their own accord or through trafficking (often, the first leads to the second). They found that 80% of the girls they recovered ran away from dysfunctional, fatherless homes. Single parent homes were included among family risk factors, as well as high levels of physical and sexual abuse. Girls who grow up without a father also have higher risks of depression and low self-esteem.
As we see the rise of prostitution throughout society, partly as a result of porn creating the demand for it, it is vital that we view the women involved as likely victims of trafficking and coercion. Once they are involved in prostitution, many women find it very difficult to escape, often facing threats of violence.
A woman deserves real love from the men in her life, which should support, cherish, and empower her to be all that she can be. Ads featuring men objectifying women, like the soft porn of the Carl’s Jr. commercial, were still aired during this year’s Super Bowl. However, they were countered by the true exhibitions of manhood found in many other commercials.
Dove’s ad tugged on the heart strings of viewers with clips of children yelling for their daddy and fathers lovingly embracing their children. With this commercial, Dove Men+Care started the #RealStrength campaign, inviting men to send in pictures of what real strength means to them. Note: None of the pictures involve men dominating women. Instead, they show men with their children, wives, parents, and friends, showing strength in their own unique ways by caring for and protecting those around them.
While the sexualized commercials were seemingly forgotten, the ads celebrating fatherhood have been remembered by viewers, inspiring countless blog posts, op-eds, and social media posts. NCSE commends the NFL and NBC for encouraging men to be fathers to their children and hopes that more men will recognize the importance of their presence in their children’s lives, especially in loving and empowering their daughters to keep them out of prostitution and pornography.
Use the hashtag, #RealStrength, to participate in Dove Men+Care’s campaign.