Driving in Los Angeles this past week I spotted a billboard for the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The Last Stand. The advertising tagline for the film is "Retirement Is For Sissies."
|the tag line from the movie poster|
This pissed me off.
I mean, really, can we get past this cliche of the macho man with the blazing guns being the ideal of masculinity, and the statement that anything girly - anything less than muscle-bound armed violence - is to be laughed at and ridiculed?
Let's take a moment to look at the messaging behind this. I'm sure it's meant to be funny, but it's a very anti-women and anti-gay statement. Continuing the stereotype that "sissy" is a bad thing reinforces so many cultural barriers and prejudices that we need to knock down. Like that there's only one way to be a boy. That being effeminate is the ultimate bad thing. That violence is the way to be a "real" man...
I'm sure there will be some who think I need to lighten up, but this kind of homophobia is insidious and pervasive - it's the exact thing that made it so hard for me to come out as a gay man in my 20s. And to see it continuing to be perpetuated today is so wrong that I had to speak out. This is the opposite of the It Gets Better campaign - this is making things worse.
Couldn't they have been clever and NOT homophobic? How about tag lines like:
"No one tells him when to retire"Okay, that last one was a bit Terminator-y, so maybe not that one. Point is, you can make your point without making so many other toxic points as well.
"Retire? Over your dead body"
"I'm back... from retirement."
What's your take?