The Super Bowl 2024: Football or Taylor Swift?


Until now, the Super Bowl was never really on my watchlist, but, being a Swiftie (a Fan of the singer Taylor Swift who is dating NFL player Travis Kelce), of course, I had to turn on my TV this Sunday. I did not know what exactly I was expecting, but already long before the actual game had started, I noticed that what I thought was primarily a championship showdown between the two top football teams of the season, was actually a cultural phenomenon that extended far beyond the confines of the playing field. 

The advertising, the entertainment, the social commentary. As a European Girl whose knowledge of football is limited to my dad’s occasional attempts to explain the rules to his three daughters (he fails every time), I am too stunned to speak. The multifaceted extravaganza that captures the attention of millions of humans worldwide every year has finally got to me as well. 

So, I am intrigued, what happened? Why has the Super Bowl transitioned from a straightforward sports competition to a full-blown entertainment extravaganza?

Going back to the late 20th century, halftime shows, originally featuring college marching bands, gradually incorporated popular musicians, and today there are major productions featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, like Usher this year. 

As these performances, often accompanied by elaborate light shows and pyrotechnics, draw viewers who may not even be football fans, they turned the event into a broader cultural experience for people in general, even Non-Americans. “How great!” I thought, but the internet thinks differently. People are shocked at the amount of money that is spent, as the cheapest seat starts at about 7K.e Super Bowl is also becoming a platform for social commentary. The event has not been immune to social and political issues, and in recent years, social justice and equality advertisements have been addressed more and more. This year, the war in the Middle East was the most present political topic of discussion. 

But, there was also another contradictory reason why the Internet was on fire: Taylor Swift. 

Although the Superstar Singer-Songwriter has brought the Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce’s Team) a new level of ubiquity “since the start of the 2023 N.F.L. season, around when Mr. Kelce started his high-profile relationship with Ms. Swift,” many football fans do not want her to ‘ruin football.’ But hasn’t real football been ‘ruined’ years ago, as in a world grappling with conflicts and tensions, the Super Bowl has become a symbolic arena for promoting unity and addressing global concerns, not just yesterday? “Thanks in large part to Ms. Swift’s appearances at Kansas City games, more women are watching the N.F.L. — and specifically the Chiefs”, so why is the internet hating on her so incredibly much?

In recent years, pop culture has always played an increasingly prominent role in the Super Bowl. So the fact that Taylor Swift got booed on camera during this year’s game just shows how closed-minded American sports still are, and the hate that successful women have to endure daily, even in 2024. 

No one felt threatened enough to boo Katy Perry or Jennifer Lopez during their halftime shows in recent years though, so this open hate against Taylor Swift, who has been named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine, and is the record chart-holder not only in America but worldwide, seems very insecure. In contrast, when Travis Kelce was spotted at Taylor Swift’s concerts, her fans freaked out as well, but, interestingly enough, in a positive way. No Swiftie felt the need to boo him. 

Therefore, Taylor Swift’s presence at the Super Bowl 2024 inadvertently underscored the persistent challenges of America’s patriarchy. Despite her undeniable talent and achievements, Swift had to face scrutiny and criticism again, which is mainly rooted in gender bias. Her appearance serves as a reminder that even in the grandeur of events like the Super Bowl, the echoes of a patriarchal society persist, highlighting the need for, sadly, ongoing efforts toward gender equality and dismantling ingrained stereotypes.

Featured image: Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Amelie Garnies
Amelie Garnies
I am Amelie, I am 20 years old and was born in the city of Munich in Germany. When I was 17 years old I moved to London to earn my International Baccalaureate. I am very passionate about History, Philosophy, and Politics, wherefore I am studying International Relations in Madrid right now. In the future, I wish to speak as many languages as possible, as I believe communication, whether written or oral, is the key to making the world a better place.

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