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The Subversive Way Special K's New Marketing Campaign Hurts Women

A homecoming queen in a football uniform with a helmet on her knee.

Special K often celebrates female athletes by putting their images on cereal boxes, but its latest marketing campaign highlighting homecoming queen football players doesn’t deserve celebration.

Some players responded with tweets of their own.

While I don’t want to take away from the athletic ability, hard work, and beauty of these young women, I simply cannot celebrate girls playing football. Not only do I refuse to celebrate it, I outright condemn it.

First of all, why in the name of “equality” do women insist on invading man spaces? There is a camaraderie among boys that is necessary for their development as men, and this is fostered in all-boy sports. It’s a kind of initiation into manhood — something that must be done by men in a male-only environment. Injecting females into the mix dilutes the experience, robbing boys of training in masculinity and male bonding that they desperately need.

Instead of tearing down the walls between boys and girls, we need to encourage boys to build more tree houses with signs like “No Girls Allowed” on the door. They need it to develop, grow, and discover what it means to be a man, but as a society we’re taking this from them. It’s not fair to them, and the girls don’t need to take over their space. They have their own tree houses (and their own sports).

Second, I find it ironic that in a time when we’re hearing a lot about domestic violence (especially by football players), sexual harassment, and sexual assault, we have no problem training and encouraging boys to plow down girls on a football field. It’s insane. If people are so concerned about “toxic masculinity,” then why are they injecting poison into masculine spheres at such a young age?

But it’s a sport, some might say. Just a game — no big deal. Such a response ignores the power of sports in developing our character and our psychology, which is something companies like Special K recognize by celebrating sports to begin with.

Sports can have a positive impact on personal development, but this is only when the sport isn’t being perverted into something it’s not meant to be. When you put a girl on a football field, you are training boys to go against their natural (and good) instincts not to hit girls. Part of growing as a man is to learn how to properly treat women, to protect, respect, honor, and cherish them. Not to beat the crap out of them in sports or anywhere else.