Monday, January 18, 2010

GSA Monday Pop Quiz: What's missing in this "GAP" ad?

See if you can figure out what's missing:

It's sweet. It's cuddly. It's... missing something, isn't it? Figure it out yet?

Okay, scroll down and take a look at my "annotated" version.

Girl + Boy, check.

Girl + Girl, check.

Girl + Girl + Girl, check.


Girl + Girl + Girl + Girl, check.


Boy + Boy ?


Unless you wanna count the far right "starred" spot of one guy's boot hovering in the air over another guy's butt - though they're so consumed with their respective gals they're certainly not acknowledging their proximity, such as it is.

I mean, really - not even two guys touching?

How freaked out are we as a culture about gay guys, that in this "hip" message of peace and joy and buy-our-sweaters-and-jeans, we can't even get 2 guys hugging?

Pretty freaked out.

I understand that lesbians are kind of the loophole in our culture's homophobia, because straight guys think that's hot, but to have all these pairings (and trios, and quad-couplings) and not include two guys...

I mean, what's the problem? Is the Gap really where all those homophobes shop? I've kinda liked the whole Gap Holiday campaign, the catchy TV musical and gymnastic moments, and now, noticing this, I'm so disappointed.

Sigh. The Gap can do better.

We can all do better.

What do you think? Am I over-reacting, or am I right about this?

Thanks to my guy for handing me this ad and saying "look at this - really look at it!"


Jodie said...

Nope you're right, it's ridiculous that they can't even have guys touching in a friendly way. And you should see the UK's Macleans adverts running during Dancing on Ice right now - people have nice tasting teeth from using Macleans so a bunch of couples kiss, one each ad break, but only straight couples, because I dunno gay couples wouldn't like Macleans?

Anne M Leone said...

Great observation on what this says about our culture's paranoia. Thanks.

Book Dragon said...

I'm thinking they should have had legs tangled at the very minimum but I didn't see this ad and needed your notes.

girl+girl+girl+girl? sorry, that's too many!

kittens not kids said...

I don't think you're overreacting at all. The cultural or social taboo on male-on-male physical affection is absurdly strong. Even as people, especially younger people, are more comfortable with queerness, there's still a strong discomfort around *seeing* boy-on-boy contact (whether actually sexual/romantic, or simply non-erotic affectionate).

The instances of girl-on-girl contact in this ad offends me almost as much as the lack of male-on-male; it's part of that unpleasant straight-male "lesbian" fantasy that I find very distasteful.

Mama Librarian said...

No, you're not overreacting. It's not surprising, though. I would say it's damn sad.

We USAmericans are an intimacy-poor culture. Even my kindergarteners react to a picture of two animals kissing with disgust. It hurts my heart.

I think this aversion to intimacy is what drives advertisers to avoid all possible touching between two men -- for fear that it might hurt profits.

Angela said...

Oh, I so agree with you - the ad is all peace & love (& buy our stuff) is missing the big picture. I would NOT include the boot -butt contact as anything.

Such a great pose and colors and eye-catching shot. It falls short.

Also to add to what Mama Librarian said...I've been in elemenatry schools where the rule is "NO CONTACT" - kids are not allowed to hug their friends, kindergarteners can't hold hands as they run to the swings on the playground.

What is going on with that??

Jonathon Arntson said...

No, you're not overreacting, The Gap has touted it's Gay-friendly image for decades now, isn't a peace symbol the one of the best possibles venue to maintain that image. I do wonder if there's an innocence behind this campaign and an oops n Gap's part.

Anonymous said...

Nope, Lee, you're right. You're right, and it's sad that our culture is so homophobic and affection-phobic that we can't show men showing affection to men.

Angela, I've noticed the same "no touching!" trend. It's distressing. I'm not sure what there is to be done about it, other than to teach one's own children that physical contact like hugging is part of healthy, affectionate human relationships.

Daniel Teeter said...

Any excuse to keep people from shopping at The Gap works for me. (And besides, who really associates gay with the clothing industry?)

Biblio Reader said...

It's not even just homophobia, it's the fact that you can show two girls embracing and hey, maybe they're just friends, but two guys can't even be near each other before it looks like "OH NO! TEH GAYS!". I don't know what's sadder: that we can't show a gay male couple, or that we can't show two men with any sort of contact at all without it being threatening (or also that lesbians are so invisible that we can show them because, hey, it's only women, who can be threatened by women? Besides, maybe they're just really really close friends. Ah, the invisibility of lesbians). I don't think it's an over-reaction, no. Even if they just had minimal contact between two guys, it would be a lot better.

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