After more than a year of bitter rivalry over the presidential election, Americans are looking forward to a more friendly competition this Sunday as the New England Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Even if you hate football, you can still enjoy the food and the commercials. But one ad might just get everyone arguing all over again, because Audi's gender equality themed game day commercial highlights an issue many consider central to the election.
The ad, titled "Daughter," features a young girl engaged in a soap box derby race against boys. As she speeds down the track, her father watches her and muses on how to explain inequality to her. "Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?" Spoiler alert: she wins, which causes Dad to think, "Maybe I'll be able to tell her something different." At this point, Hillary Clinton voters will likely excuse themselves to go get more dip and scream into a pillow. You've got to wonder, was this ad created before the October surprise? At the end of the commercial, viewers are told that "Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work," and "Progress is for everyone."
This isn't Audi's first foray into gender issues; a recent Christmas ad for Audi Spain featured a princess doll escaping to "boys' side" of the toy store after hours to drive a toy car — an Audi, of course — and shatter gender stereotypes (it's very rad and there's a lot more to it, so do check it out). And the car company apparently puts its money where its mouth is; according to a statement about "Daughter," Audi's internship program requires that 50 percent of those enrolled are female, and it recently partnered with AFI FEST to create the Audi Fellowship scholarship program.
These are good things, right? Nobody could argue with that! But far too many people mistakenly think that women already have equal rights, some wrongly believe that the pay gap is a myth, and most Americans still think that "feminism" is a dirty word, so the ad might get a few eye rolls from dudebros and women who have internalized misogyny. But these are exactly the people who need to hear the message. While it's regrettable that some men will only sympathize with women's issues when it's framed as "what if it was your daughter?," sometimes that's the only way to get through to them. If you're the outlier feminist planning to attend a Super Bowl party this Sunday, come prepared with facts and save a few links on your phone. Once Audi opens the door in the third quarter, if you're patient, you might be able to educate your friends on what equality really means.