Have you seen this ad yet? It played a few times yesterday during Desperate Housewives. Check it out:
Was I the only one concerned? It appears a "fairy" is trying to give a queer eye to the tough car, and the fairy is bumped to the sidewalk for trying to do so. Even language is used, a guy points to the fairy and laughs: "You silly little fairy!" Not nice. The fairy turns him gay as a revenge I guess.
UPDATE ON APRIL 6, 2006: Towle just added his thoughts on the issue. So have a gay group, the commercial closet and The Advocate. They all agree with me more or less. I still think the ad is homophobic.
I would like to note Dodge's reaction to the stir they caused with the ad. Suraya Bliss, from Dodge, reportedly told the Detroit News: "We were pretty surprised that there are individuals that are making the conclusion that sexual orientation can be determined by the type of clothes you wear and the type of dog that you're walking (...) "Are they suggesting that men that wear colored shirts are gay … or that all gay men dress alike? What we would ask someone to do is look at the ad for what it is."
Dodge, come on! That is the whole point of using stereotypes, isn't it? Lame Lame Lame. And the added cruelty? People, especially gay people, might think the ad plays both to homophobes and gays alike. Pleasing homophobes and gays at the same time? How? I will follow Dodge's advice. I'll look at the ad for what it is, homophobic.
UPDATE ON APRIL 7, 2006: Just to be clear. I have absolutely no problem with using positive stereotypes in movies, ads, etc. I said that repeatedly here. I love queens and fairies. We need the visibility queens and fairies bring to us. My problem with the Dodge Caliber ad is threefold:
- The fairy tries to gay up everything (all phallic symbols, but I am not going there). By trying to gay up the car, she gets kicked to the curb. I don't think gays should go around trying to hit on straight people or recruit them. We don't need recruiting, I really believe nature takes care of that. But when that does happen (gays hitting on straighties), what is the problem with a simple no? Like Rob Estes did here. We don't need to get kicked to the curbed by a reflection of our own spell. Get it? I do know it's a little bit of a stretch, it's not all clearly stated in the ad, but it's a reasonable assessment to me. Oh, and fairy is a symbol for gays. Come. On.
- A butch guy makes fun of the fairy after she is down at the curb. "You silly little fairy." Now, if the butch guy were gay, his name calling would be less of a problem, but we just don't know that, do we?
- Finally, the punishment for the butch guy? Turning him gay. Turning someone gay should not be a punishment. A part of me thought that was funny, turning him gay, but in the end, I don't think the message is too nice. One of the best lights possible on this last point would be: don't make fun of gay people or they'll make you gay. As a punishment. I can kind of take it, especially if you consider that homophobes (the butch guy with the name calling could, and please, just could, be a homophobe) are probably gays with internalized homophobia. Now, if you don't think the butch guy is turned into a gay guy at the end, you have a serious problem with your gaydar. You should have your license to practice suspended, and your gaydar should be fixed at your earliest convenience, you are probably missing out on a lot.