Double Standard, Double Foul
Lots of fussing in the US -- and rightly so -- over a planned ad for the upcoming Super Olympics of Commercialism and Cholestrol-loaded Snacks Bowl XLIV bought to you by James Dobson's right-wing, anti-choice, anti-same sex marriage, super Christian Focus on the Family.
But American women -- whose reproductive choices are already under attack by other religious groups, plus their own Congress -- are objecting, claiming that the ad is divisive and doesn't belong on the highest-rated show of the year.
The ad - paid for by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family - is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow's pregnancy in 1987 with a theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim, who went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy while helping his Florida team to two BCS championships.
The controversy over the ad was raised Sunday when Tebow met with reporters in Mobile, Ala., before beginning preparations for next weekend's Senior Bowl.
"I know some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe," Tebow said. "I've always been very convicted of it (his views on abortion) because that's the reason I'm here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it."
Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl are selling for $2.5 million to $2.8 million. Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, said funds for the Tebow ad were donated by a few "very generous friends" and did not come from the group's general fund.
Now, believe it or not, I have no problem with advocacy groups buying airtime on the publicly-owned airwaves, even if I don't agree with their cause. I see pitches for all sorts of issues, religions and, of course, during elections, politicians I loathe.
I just think it's fair that the sources of funding for the ads be revealed.
I also feel that the policy should apply across the board. If you can buy an ad that is against choice, then you should be able to buy an ad that promotes choice or any other idea, as long as it's legal. No?
In recent years, there's been one Super Bowl ad controversy after another -- and all of them are ''resolved'' by CBS kowtowing to the (religious) right.
In 2006, it rejected a United Church of Jesus ad promoting its open arms policy towards gays and lesbians.
At the time, CBS claimed it had a policy of refusing advertising that "touches on and/or takes a position on one side of a current controversial issue of public importance".
Last year, it was a PETA ad that didn't get by the network censors. Okay, so it was sexist but it isn't much different from much of what airs in prime time already.
Now, once again, the network appeases the right by offending those who believe that a woman 's rights trumps those of the fetus in her body. Nothing like drop-kicking women.
Before we Canadians get that smug, superior look on our mugs, know that Vancouver-based AdBusters, an anti-corporate advocacy group, has repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to get its non-commercial commercials (eg. the vodka ''ad'' above) on the networks. Not even the public broadcaster CBC will give it access. Not at any price.
And, as two readers have informed me, guess what's been airing in primetime Toronto, on the CTV-owned CP24?
You guessed it.
... such ads make no effort to appeal to women's reason. Implicit, and not very subtly so, is the narrative that a pregnant woman should prostrate herself at the feet of the Fates because of the possibility that she may give birth to A Great Man.
And let us not mince words: It is no coincidence that we are meant to "imagine" the snuffing out of a man's potential via abortion, forestalling as it does our "imagining" the protagonist's potential come to a screeching, shuddering halt in the shadow of an unwanted pregnancy that cannot be terminated.
WAY UP THERE WOMAN DATE: Wow. Luna, our favourite Feminist Christian Socialist and frequent commenter, posted this awesome commentary.
How did Pam Tebow do it? How did she have four kids, and spend the last part of her pregnancy in hospital? Did she have AWESOME health insurance? No... she was in the Philippines where her medical needs were taken care of. Focus on the Family is AGAINST the health care bill. Again, they are proving that they don't have a second thought for women, or even for the babies, once they are born.
And who looked after her other kids? Obviously, she had a support system. What would I do in her situation? I have two kids at home who need constant care. I don't have family in town. The women at my church, while awesome, are not capable of looking after Crackle, his meltdowns and his extremely restricted diet. If I'm incapacitated, we're screwed. The Tebow's had more than just luck and God's blessing. They had resources. It's amazing how that sort of thing is just brushed under the rug. How we're all lumped into the same category.