Culture Jam Assignment

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The ad I have chosen is of Marisa Miller, a supermodel, who is modelling and promoting the National Football League’s (NFL) line of women’s clothing. Her role as being hired as a spokesperson or “superfan” for the NFL includes promoting the league’s products and special events and to help gain new fans, especially women. The issue I want to address with this ad is the controversial nature that lies within its message and purpose. By manufacturing women’s and children’s clothes and accessories, the NFL is promoting the inclusion of women in football, but this is controversial because the league has a history of poorly punishing domestic abuse cases against women. As a women, no amount of advertising of women’s clothing or accessories would make me want to support a corporation that does not punish domestic abuse against women sufficiently. The problem I want to showcase with the ad is not so much depicted on the cover for the naked eye to see, but rather with the ad’s purpose and how this paired with the NFL’s response to domestic abuses cases against women is controversial.

To provide some background information, in 2014 a player was caught on tape knocking out his fiancé and dragging her out of an elevator. This player received a mere punishment of a two-game suspension by the NFL. Following a public uproar of his initial punishment, he was suspended indefinitely and the NFL commissioner instituted a policy of a six-game suspension for a player found to have committed abusive acts against their partner or spouse. Despite this, in 2016 another player admitted to his team that he had abused his wife, yet he was allowed to remain on the roster and later received only a one-game suspension. Evidently, the six-game suspension rule was not implemented as promised and rarely is; only three out of ten players who were potentially affected by it have received a suspension of that length. Furthermore, a women’s advocacy group called UltraViolet claims they uncovered 55 additional cases of abuse in the NFL that have gone unanswered (Belson & Pennington, 2016). All of these findings and the NFL’s unsteady steps of punishing domestic abuse is not known to most people and comes as a shock. I want to address not only the NFL’s inability to properly punish a potentially life-threatening issue against women, but also how this paired with the ad’s purpose of enhancing women’s participation in football is controversial.

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My Jamming Philosophy

My jamming philosophy is well described in the reading provided in that my jammed ad prompts a double-take as viewers realize what they’re seeing is the very opposite of what they expected (Warner, 2007). When most people think of the NFL they think of fun and excitement; rarely, if at all, do they think of domestic abuse. I aspire to reveal that this incredibly profitable organization is flawed in their punishments of domestic abuse. By altering Miller to be a victim of abuse in the ad, I am subjecting every viewer to a harsh reality. Domestic abuse is not a new issue within the NFL, yet progressive change to combat it remains to be seen. We are so rarely exposed to unpleasant and uncomfortable images in the media for the mere fact that they are unpleasant but they are realities that need to be addressed. Further adding to the viewer’s emotions is the caption I have included. This shocking finding cannot be ignored and with a few words, a dire problem within the NFL is revealed. By exposing people to findings such as this, I hope to encourage them to look further into the issue and pass on their newfound knowledge, thus having a ripple effect. I hope this ad would motivate people to boycott the NFL by not purchasing their products or attending their games until the league changes how it punishes domestic abuse. I hope it would prompt consumers to look further into corporations they support, like the NFL, and decide if it is an organization worthy of their support. Revealing the NFL’s inability to properly punish domestic abuse to the public can help stimulate change and force the corporation to adopt an end violence against women approach instead of its currently flawed crisis management approach. I hope my culture jammed ad would foster progressive change and disrupt people’s current view of the NFL.

 

References
Belson, K., & Pennington, B. (2016, October 21). After Unsteady Steps to Punish Domestic Violence, N.F.L.     Faces Scrutiny Again. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/sports/football/giants-josh-brown-abuse-nfl.html?_r=1
Warner, J. (2007). Political culture jamming: The dissident humor of “the daily show with jon stewart”. Popular Communication, 5(1), 17-36. doi:10.1080/15405700709336783

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