Five Great Super Bowl 2016 Moments

We sat through an array of diarrhea-related pharmaceutical spots, “aww”ed over wiener dogs in bun costumes and questioned that “Super Bowl babies” claim—and we can say confidently that this year’s selection of Super Bowl ads was decidedly less sexist than in years past.

What’s more, the whole event featured a number of feminist fancies—from Queen Bey running the halftime show (and announcing another world tour!) to a powerful domestic violence PSA. Read on for our favorite game-day moments.

1. Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Beyoncé.

Where to begin? Queen Bey not only brought her brand new, black-powered anthem, “Formation,” to the nation’s biggest stage, but she did it alongside dozens of black women dancers donning Black Panthers-inspired attire, backed up by an all-woman band and clad in an ensemble that paid homage to one-time Super Bowl performer Michael Jackson. (Want to know more about the significance of her newest track and its accompanying video? Click here to read Ms. writer Janell Hobson’s analysis.)

2. The No More campaign spoke the truth about relationship violence.

Using a text conversation between two friends as a poignant starting point, a PSA from the No More campaign had Super Bowl viewers buzzing on Twitter. The ad urges viewers to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence and sexual abuse—and do something if you see a friend in need. No More first aired a similar spot during last year’s game, following NFL player Ray Rice’s very public abuse of his now-wife, Janay Palmer.

3. Fitbit featured badass women athletes.

While Fitbit’s “Dualities” commercial has been lauded for its racially diverse cast, we also loved its portrayal of strong women athletes. A lifter and a martial artist are shown both in their day-to-day lives and kicking ass in their athletic pursuits.

4. Mini USA called out stereotypes.

It opens with Serena Williams and Abby Wambach—two women athletes who have battled stereotypes throughout their careers—so we couldn’t not cheer for Mini USA’s “Defy Labels” commercials. Calling it a “chick car,” a “gay car,” a “short man’s cars” and plenty of other meant-to-be-demeaning labels, Williams, Wambach and the rest of the cast shut down the haters—one stereotype at a time.

5. We found out The Good Wife is going out on its own terms.

OK, OK, so we’re not exactly celebrating the end of one of the best feminist shows currently on TV, but we were glad to discover that The Good Wife would be ending its incredible seven-year run on its own terms—not pushed out or forced to fizzle to an awkward end, as too many network shows have been before it. Farewell to a series that put strong women’s wants, needs, talents, failures and triumphs front and center.

Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments!


Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.