Monday, 9 May 2011

So Budweiser has done an advert

Here it is. Behold beer advert (well, it is American, so I think “beer” may be stretching it a bit. Beer-like water then. Sorta-beer.)

And people have been apparently jumping up and down yelling “look it's gay! It's gay! It's an advert with gay people in it!” And after the last litany of adverts I put up I can certainly agree that that would be a wonderful wonderful thing to have an advert with gay people in it that DIDN'T revolve around “ooh isn't it horrifying” or “haha lookit the gays!”

Except *watches again* gay? Really?

What, a phone call and a hug? One hug among many I might add – and hardly an intimate one at that. I mean, I come from a strong non-touchy culture (I'm a British man, my personal space is measured in miles and my ability to express emotion is only slightly ahead of my ability to fly a jumbo jet) and even I'd stretch to read anything beyond platonic in this.

Is it ambiguous? Well... in that it doesn't expressly say “look, straight!” but, then, in our straight dominated culture since when has anything had to expressly stamp straightness all over it in order to have that straightness assumed? Yes it shouldn't be – but let's face it. In our society where straightness permeates everything you're going to need more than these not!hints to counteract the eternal heteronormativity

Or are we at a stage where a man touching a man in anything approaching an affectionate manner simply MUST be proof of the gay? Because I'm sooo not happy with that – it's that kind of thinking that has every word and gesture from gay men seen as some kind of threat to straight masculinity. Because any contact must be sexual and from a gay man it's uber-super-mega sexual and therefore DAAAANGEROUS. And that's before we get to the whole toxic stew of how it's societally disapproved of for men to express any kind of emotion or emotional connection that doesn't revolve around lust or anger.

And if it is? If this is actually an attempt of diversity and inclusion... then, really? Really, we're supposed to be happy with this? The most subtly implied delicate possible maybe hints is supposed to be inclusion? “Ambiguity” that requires 8 inch thick slash goggles? That's inclusion? And we're supposed to be excited about that?

No, I'm not buying that. No, not even where straight advertising is omnipresent. Not even when adverts with the tamest of same-sex kisses are pulled because of protest. Not even if media is so homophobic and advertisers so damn craven that even this tiny hint is somehow “courageous.” Because I am beyond tired of being expected to do joyous jumping-jacks for things that don't even add up to a pat on the head.

Do I dislike this advert? No, not really. It's quite a nice little ad, and a welcome change from so many beer (and beer-ish) adverts. No, I have no problem with the advert.

But the hype? Yeah, not seeing it.