The XX Factor

Thanks, Danica Patrick, for the Worst Ad of the Super Bowl So Far

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the ads that air during the Super Bowl often exploit cheap sexist stereotypes to try to get the most juice out the $4 million it costs to get a spot. And the worst offender in the past few years has been domain name and hosting company GoDaddy, which has long seemed to believe that the dumber it presents itself as, the more business it’ll rake in, as if the only people who need to run websites are salivating teenage boys and chest-bumping bros. (They do seem to stay in business …)

This year’s offering is as gross as usual, staging a tonguey kiss between super model Bar Refaeli and an archetypal, fro-haired nerd. It’s supposed to represent the union of the mutually exclusive beauty and brains. But maybe the least attractive aspect of this commercial, and GoDaddy’s ad campaign in general, is the participation of auto racing driver Danica Patrick. Why does Patrick, the most successful female driver based not on buzz but on actual skill, undermine her real chops in a male-dominated sport by working with those schmucks at GoDaddy, renting out her gender to provide the company cover for whatever foolishness is happening on screen? They do frequently sponsor her in races, but I can’t imagine there aren’t other companies eager to do the same. I guess we’re supposed to think, if Danica’s down, it must be cool. But I’ve never thought that—not once. You?