Dylan Mulvaney’s March Madness video for Bud Light wasn’t my favorite. In fact, I kinda hated it.
A Dylan Mulvaney Super Bowl ad? I’m in.
That’s the idea Mulvaney floated in a recent interview with The Cut.
“Maybe it’d be epic,” she said, “if in like 10 years I got to do a beer commercial for a Super Bowl.”
As long as it isn’t anything like that Bud Light ad that has damaged a once-beloved company, “epic” would certainly be one word for it.
This isn’t to pile on Mulvaney. I can only imagine how difficult the last six months have been for her, both emotionally and mentally. I truly wish her nothing but the best, and I hope she sees the community that loves and supports her on a daily basis.
Still, my issue with that video has nothing to do with Mulvaney being trans.
I absolutely hated the whole “sportsball” angle of the video. While promoting March Madness — the pinnacle of men’s college basketball — she mocked sports and played into a tired stereotype that LGBTQ people (other than the women represented by the “L”) not only hate sports, they don’t have any idea what they are.
“I kept hearing about this thing called March Madness,” Mulvaney said in the video, “and I thought we were all just having a hectic month. But it turns out it has something to do with sports, and I’m not sure exactly which sport, but either way it’s a cause to celebrate.”
The premise alone was absurd. She’s recording a promo for March Madness and doesn’t know it’s basketball?
Then, for fans of March Madness who are all cheering on their team (whether it's their alma mater or their pool pick for a title), Mulvaney added this gem: “Go team. Whatever team you love, I love too.”
Bud Light and Mulvaney missed the mark from a sports point of view. They trotted out yet another LGBTQ person to play into a stereotype and, frankly, demean sports, which are loved by so many people in our community.
The act was tired in 2010. In 2023? You have to assume it was intentionally stupid.
This dynamic came up in a recent interview I did with Al Ferguson for Queer News Tonight, the fact that about a third of the LGBTQ community considers themselves passionate sports fans.
Mulvaney’s play on the old, tired “I’m LGBTQ so I have no idea what a sports is” schtick didn’t land with me at all.
Of course, for some the Bud Light collaboration with Dylan Mulvaney for March Madness held other, more sinister issues. To be sure, there will always be people who have a problem with the promotion of Mulvaney — and other trans people — simply because they are trans.
I oppose that take 100%.
And I think an opportunity was missed.
Yes, I do think the reaction would have been different if she had lamented her alma mater, Cincinnati, being relegated to the NIT earlier this year, and how she’s cheering for Houston because they’re the best AAC team in the tournament.
I would have loved it. And frankly, a lot of other people — including some who may not be the biggest fans of trans people — would have at worst rolled their eyes.
No, Matthew Knowles and Tim Pool would not suddenly have a change of heart and buy cases of Bud Light.
I’m an optimist, not an idiot.
Having an LGBTQ person mock sports in a video promoting sports plays to stereotypes that no one in and around sports likes.
The Super Bowl? That’s a different beast.
Super Bowl ads don’t generally promote the Super Bowl. They often don’t have anything to do with sports. They are funded by companies trying to tap into the largest TV audience of the year, all of whom are looking to be entertained by top-notch football, legendary music performers, and yes, commercials that are fun, engaging and make us laugh.
Apple’s famous “1984” ad had a hammer thrower, but it really had nothing to do with sports (and wasn’t even funny).
On the flip side, Betty White’s incredible Snickers commercial in 2010 had tons of fun with sports.
The point is, a Super Bowl ad is tailor-made for Mulvaney. The ads can be iconic, thought-provoking, powerful, campy, fun... whatever is actually entertaining to the largest TV audience of the year.
Are there other trans people I’d much prefer to see in a Super Bowl ad? Absolutely.
Outsports’ own Karleigh Webb is a lifelong sports fan and currently plays in a women’s tackle football league. Her story is made for the Super Bowl.
Chris Mosier has represented Team USA on numerous occasions and is the most decorated trans man in the history of male sports.
Christina Kahrl is the sports editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a legend in sports journalism, particularly baseball.
Yes, there are other trans people whose voices I think are so deserving of the stage the Super Bowl provides.
Still, watching Mulvaney chug Sapporo or stuff her face with Doritos? Complete with that full Audrey Hepburn lewk?
The internet might actually explode.
Short of that, I would love to see more trans people elevated by these companies in their campaign ads. Frankly, you don’t have to go full-camp “sportsball” nonsense to have a great spot highlighting their voice.
And if someone taps Mulvaney for a 30-second spot in the middle of the big game? If it’s well-done and doesn’t mock sports fans or athletes? I’m so there for it.