Kate Upton is featured in a 2013 commercial spot for Mercedes Benz wearing short shorts and a black tank top while blowing soap off her hand. She’s standing next to a group of men washing a car.
Lindsay Kite and Lexie Kite are twin sisters, doctoral candidates at the University of Utah and co-founders of Beauty Redefined. They study the representations of female bodies in popular media.
“If I were an alien coming to this world to see what women were like all I would see is cameras panning up and down their bodies and zooming in on their parts,” Lindsay said.
The Kite sisters said a 30 second commercial may not seem impactful, but it can lead to body image issues and unhealthy relationships.
“Girls and women watch these and they turn themselves into objects,” Lexie said. “When you see yourself like that you treat yourself like that.”
Richter 7, a public relations firm in Salt Lake City, analyzes the Super Bowl commercials each year.
Tim Brown, Partner and Executive Vice President of the company, said the sexy ads are typically shot down.
“Sex sells and it continues on,” Brown said. “But more people are against it saying, ‘Hey, I have an opinion about this’.”
A social media movement on Twitter is fighting back against the sexualization of women in commercials. The hashtag #NotBuyingIt spread like wildfire last year.
“Along with tweeting about, talk about it,” Lexie said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up.”
The Kite sisters now steamy ads are going away, but they aren’t either.
“We realize you have to speak up,” Lindsay added. “One of the ways we fight back is by speaking up in our individual lives and individual circles.”