Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LI at NGR Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 5, 2017.
Photograph by Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images
By Valentina Zarya
February 6, 2017

This year’s Super Bowl was chock-full of political commentary, including more than a few nods to feminism.

Millions of Americans were glued to their television screens on Sunday night, watching what turned out to be a history-making game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Yet football wasn’t the only thing on the minds of those who made appearances in Houston. From the moments leading up to the game, to steering the conversation afterward, here are five ways women made themselves heard during Super Bowl LI:

1. Changing the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.”

Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Jasmine Cephas Jones—perhaps best known for playing the Schuyler sisters in original cast version of the Broadway musical Hamilton—gave “America the Beautiful” a feminist twist by adding “…and sisterhood” to the line “Crown thy good with brotherhood,” a move that was applauded by social media users.

2. Lady Gaga’s halftime performance.

While Lady Gaga’s performance wasn’t as overtly political as some expected, it did include a subtle reference to the feminist movement, and in particular to the Women’s March on Washington. The pop diva switched from singing “America the Beautiful” to “This Land is Your Land,” a song sung by demonstrators last month. The song was originally written by folk singer Woody Guthrie as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which Guthrie felt ignored the uneven distribution of wealth in the U.S.

3. Audi’s gender pay equality ad.

Though the luxury car brand’s Super Bowl ad has faced its fair share of backlash and criticism, it remains a powerful reminder of the pay gap between men and women in the U.S.

“Do I tell her that her grampa is worth more than her grandma?” asks the father in the ad, referring to his daughter. “That her dad is worth more than her mom?….That despite her education, her skills, her drive, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?”

4. Melissa McCarthy’s Kia ad.

A Kia ad featuring Melissa McCarthy as a committed—if ill-fated—eco-warrior won USA Today‘s annual Ad Meter competition, marking it as the fan favorite of more than 15,000 voters. While the spot doesn’t have any overtly feminist themes, the simple fact that McCarthy dominated conversations and social media chatter this weekend (thanks in large part to her show-stealing turn as White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live) is a reminder of much we need more women in comedy.

5. Chrissy Teigen’s response to a wardrobe malfunction.

When a Twitter user posted a revealing shot of model Chrissy Teigen’s breast, Teigen responded by retweeting the post with the tongue-in-cheek caption, “boom goes the dynamite.” The tweet was a reference to Janet Jackson’s notorious wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show (you may remember it as “Nipplegate”), an incident that is still very much present in the collective consciousness. Jackson didn’t make any comment at the time and her spokesperson said only that the reveal was “not intentional.” While that story snowballed into a major scandal, this time Teigen seems in firm control of the narrative.

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