Sarah Silverman Angers Men With T-Mobile Ad on Super Bowl Sunday

Sarah Silverman Angers Men With T-Mobile Ad on Super Bowl Sunday


Men everywhere are seemingly up in arms and angered by Sarah Silverman’s appearance in a T-Mobile ad on Super Bowl Sunday. The ad, which features Silverman and Chelsea Handler trying to prove who gets the better cell reception in various subterannean levels of their mansions, was hilarious, witty and over-the-top. That is exactly what people expect of Super Bowl ads. But Silverman had the audacity to say “Sorry, it’s a boy” in her “underground delivery room” and that just will not do.

Twitter, that 24-hour spin-cycle of everyone’s outrage and grammatically imperfect quips, lit up with men expressing their dislike of Silverman’s throwaway misandry. One Twitter user wrote, “well done t-mobile for sponsoring misandry and marginalizing males.” The general feeling among men on Twitter was that they had been discriminated against unfairly because of their sex and that this was wrong and unacceptable. Cue women everywhere laughing hysterically.

Stories on places like Salon and Refinery 26 have already been posted about why Sarah Silverman’s ad was not sexist and they do a pretty good job of explaining what should be a simple concept. To boil it all down to one sentence: people who enjoy the majority of power in a society cannot be discriminated against. The fact is that men enjoy the majority of power in today’s society because of the system of patriarchy that exists. For proof that patriarchy exists, compare a man’s paycheck and a woman’s paycheck for the same job. Statistics tell us accurately that women get paid only 77 percent of what men do for the same type of work. That is a function of patriarchy, which favors men over women simply because they are men.

So, no, guys, Sarah Silverman was not being sexist. She was engaging in parody and satire, two of the most time-honored comedic traditions. The fact is, Silverman’s “Sorry, it’s a boy” joke works because women everywhere have been hearing that message for centuries. Girl children have historically been less valuable than male children. Just look at when women could own property in their own right. It has only been since the 1800s that women were allowed to own property in their own names or even to inherit various forms of property. Girls and women were not just less desirable, there were often literally less valuable from a monetary standpoint. “Sorry, it’s a girl” could often spell disaster for families if there were no male children to inherit, own the family property and take care of his female relatives.

And now men are crying because Silverman turned the joke on them. Somehow one joke poking fun at men is reason enough for Silverman to be punched in the face (as one Twitter user noted in his tweet). The response to this supposed “reverse sexism” is anger, hurt and a need for (sometimes violent) retaliation. Men are finally getting a taste of what it is like to feel the effects of being a lesser valued member of society and, surprisingly, they do not like it. Welcome to how women feel every day all over the world.

Sarah Silverman’s turn on the T-Mobile ad which has so angered men on Twitter is part of a trend of “ironic misandry,” which has taken hold of the feminist movement online. As a writer on Slate explains it, “young feminists have taken to deploying the claim of “misandry” like a parlor game, competing to push the idea of a vast, anti-man conspiracy to its most gleefully absurd limits.” Absurdity is indeed the name of the game with this trend. Sayings like “I bathe in male tears” have ended up on things like mugs and t-shirts. The point that ironic misandry makes is not that feminists hate men, but to show how that claim itself is absurd.

Silverman’s T-Mobile ad is part of the same thinking that created ironic misandry. Using absurdity and irony to show the effects of discrimination on women is not only funny, but thought provoking. Men who are angry because they were apparently insulted by that ad might do well to consider how women feel when the same is done to them in everyday, non-comedic situations. The fact that these men have not done that points the favored position they still have in the patriarchal system which governs society. Instead of learning how someone else feels, they can be angry about it and assume they will be taken seriously. Meanwhile, women who are angry about being discriminated against are told they are “misandrists,” “feminazis” and asking for “special rights” when they simply want equality with men.

Sarah Silverman’s Super Bowl Sunday ad for T-Mobile was funny and extremely smart, despite all the ridiculous outcries of male anger. In one sentence, she attacked the system of patriarchy that keeps her and countless other women in a subordinate position to men. Men’s reactions say more about their position in the patriarchy than about Silverman’s joke.

Opinion by Lydia Bradbury


Refinery 29
Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog
FEM Magazine 
Law Library of Congress
Image by 92YTribecaFlickr License


  1. “Throw like a girl,” is a taunt leveraged at boys, not girls. And it is rarely used.

    The 77 cents to the dollar is a lie and has been proved as such

    Men do not enjoy power. RICH men do. RICH men and their wives.

    Men are not crying about the ad. We are angry.

    The reason boys were once wanted was to do the work on the farm and in the wars — get your story straight. It was not just simply gender preference.

    The ad was NOT funny. It was sexist. But you just keep deluding yourself that it was not — and wonder why men do not care about feminists needs anymore. You have all become shrill and unjustifiably angry.

  2. I found a great number of negative comments about the ad actually came from women and some calling themselves feminists who also found the ad sexist. Frankly I couldn’t care less if Sarah was sexist or not….she is a feminazi in her personal life and that’s her choice. I don’t follow her or listen to her. My beef isn’t with her it’s with T-Mobile. The moment they brought her in and injected misandry into their Wifi branding it was like they got infected with a bad incurable disease. You can write all the articles you want on how “menz are silly and get hurtz by little bitty silly talk” I couldn’t care less. You may think you’re rubbing salt on a wound but in fact you’re just helping solidify the notion that feminists are man-hating (and then Emma Watson wonder why feminism is seen as such).

  3. Women desperately need to purport how in need they are of being provided for and protected. Without the ruse, they would be on the same station as men. If they can’t play the victim card they would be left with accountability and responsibility…women’s worst nightmare.

  4. Two wrongs don’t make a right, Lydia. It was a joke but so are all the other ones out there disparaging others. It was crass and thoughtless. And frankly why should today’s men suffer insults because of so-called patriarchy? Privilege is your answer?

    Then perhaps society should have women enjoy the privilege of having to fight in combat and sign up for select service. Perhaps we should have limits on the number of women enrolled in higher education as they now are outnumbering men. Perhaps we should have women pay more into Social Security due to the fact that they live longer statistically than men.

    Illustrating absurdity by being absurd is what I have for you in those aforementioned hypotheticals.

    Your apologist screed could easily have been written by a male chauvinist in 1950s America. 1950s America where Lucille Ball is the idiot has been replaced by the 1990s Tim Allen buffoon.

    Madison Avenue finds it easy to disparage a segment of the population because it does not cause much of a stir to sell their products. Males are portrayed as idiots or children often today. It is a slight here and a slight there but it is cumulative.

    Lydia you may think that men are the establishment or there is a patriarchy but I got news for you: YOU ARE THE ESTABLISHMENT! When you can get away with disparaging another without much of a repercussion it defines you as establishment.

    You may think Sarah Silverman’s jest is minor but there was time when society permitted other slights that today are demonstrably egregious.

    I say to both men and women, stop the slander of one another. Naive perhaps but an attitude one is best to practice as a first inclination when opening one’s piehole.

    But life goes on, chauvinists amongst us will continue to be jerks whether they have a penis or vagina (or both!). Sarah Silverman is a jerk and I say go f@ck yourself to you Lydia as I said to television last Sunday.

    T-Mobile’s ad went too far.

  5. ”the favored position they still have in the patriarchal system” They must be referring to how men get over 60% higher sentences for exactly the same crime than women do, or how a man can be sent to jail for life with zero evidence from a false accusation.