REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
The world of advertising is a vast and influential part of our society and we purchase our needs according to what we hear and see in our newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and television. These ads depict young people, kids and adults of all ages. We may notice a person visiting a car showroom and make us believe they bought a vehicle in a minute or two.
Our living rooms soon become a haven of goodies that impress us, including clothing, makeup, computers, televisions and holiday packages of all sorts, very impressive indeed. Beautiful women and their handsome husbands shop for new kitchen appliances, kids longing for toys and greasy hamburgers. Whatever is advertised will be bought by many folks under many circumstances.
The problem is that we do not see a gay couple purchasing items for their apartments or homes. For those who do not live in a so-called “normal” relationship apparently go where only gay people shop!
Many television shows and movies portray gay couples who seem to live in normal relationships, live in homes and apartments like all others, shop at the same stores, experience similar problems and look like people. However, something is missing.
Consider the following: “Our neighbours live in a home, drive a car and purchase groceries at the same store, but even as they look the same, act the same, have school age children and speak the same language, one thing sets them apart. Well, we discovered that there are two fathers raising a couple of children and up the street a bit farther two mothers are doing likewise. Apparently, they do all these things that we do. We turn on our TV and, lo and behold, they are not being represented in our business world. The commercials tell us so. We must be mistaken and the ads must be correct; gay folks do not shop, go to the movies, buy food items or purchase cars.”
The point is, in North America gays are excluded from commercials and the stigma remains, and that, my friends, causes a problem as we strive for equal treatment.
Come on corporate world, be fair and give us equal time and conclude that we also are part of society and we do spend monies on all the goods advertised. Your commercials should include gay couples shopping. Make us count as ordinary citizens who contribute, and just because we live in same-sex relationships is not indicative of our shopping habits. Comments and information: email@example.com
Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.