Fighting with the Sky

Honey, There Are Gay References in Commercials

Posted on: August 6, 2009

I love Sarah Haskins and her Target Women videos. So I was really excited when I found this other series of videos: “That’s Gay” featuring Bryan Safi. I was tipped off to these videos via a tweet from Jessica Valenti, founder and editor of Feministing. Here is the most recent one featuring gay characters in commercials:

Living in my heteronormative privilege, I never really noticed the lack of gay people in commercials and the subtle references to gay rights in some commercials. I already knew about some of the commercials that had different “gay versions” because I would see them on Bravo. The most obvious one that I had seen was the Levi jeans ad that features a hot woman in the “hetero version” and a hot guy in the “gay version.”

But what I find really interesting are the subtle references to gay rights in some commercials. They are think that I never would have noticed without them being pointed out to me, but I guess that’s part of my heteronormative privilege. Like the Orbitz commercial that has a gay pride flag on the golf clubs and the Human Rights Coalition logo on one of the guys t-shirts.

I think it’s pretty great that these commercials work these references into commercials. But it would be even better if companies could put gay characters in commercials instead of these subtle references. I guess companies are scared of pushing potential clients away since there is obviously still a strong homophobic community in this country. And by making separate (but equal) commercials that are aired on “gay” channels, these comapnies are still attraching gay clientele.

But why can’t these commercials be one in the same? If there are not gay characters in mainstream media, whether in movies, on tv shows, or in advertising, homophobic feelings are going to continue. So while I applaud some of these companies that put subtle gay rights references in their commercials, next time try featuring a gay character that doesn’t promote the idea that gay relationships are gross and wrong.

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