In the past decade, homosexuality has become widely discussed subject in the U. S. The topic is no longer tabooed and our nation has become very familiar with the term. We often hear the topic come up in our daily life, as well as books, movies, and entertainment news that is most likely revealing that a certain celebrity is not hiding their homosexuality anymore. The issue is often presented as an issue that has already been addressed, accepted and is no longer a controversial subject. We would like to pretend that we are a nation that embraces individuality and differences among all.
Any type of offense committed against a person because of their sexual orientation is frowned upon and at times can even be classified as a hate crime. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Rather than frown, we’re suppose to laugh. In recent years, a few advertising agencies have found “humor” in ridiculing homosexuals. This doesn’t sound too abstract. It’s nothing new that any group that excludes the average heterosexual white man has ended up being the butt of jokes i e: Homosexuals, African Americans, and people of Jewish descent. General society is often not comfortable with the issue of homosexuality.
It is either ignored or maligned by the media. The 2008 Snickers “Get Some Nuts” ad campaign, featuring Mr. T, used homosexuals as the butt of their jokes. The commercial was made by ad agency AMV BBDO and Mr. T is the main character of this commercial. Mr T. was BA Baracus in the hit show “The A-team”, his character on the show is the same one portrayed in the commercial. Mr. T could very well embody every stereotypical aspect of masculinity,and is probably the last person that comes to mind when the word homosexual is mentioned.
The commercial begins with Mr.T crashing through a building on the back of a flatbed truck mounted with a Snickers-firing machine gun. Mr. T pulls alongside a man in tight yellow shorts who is speed walking and growls: “Speed walkman. Heing. I pity you fool. You’re a disgrace to the man race. It’s time to run like a real man. “He then opens fire, hitting the man with Snickers bars and forcing him to break into a run. The ad is overtly mocking the man speed walking. The speed walker seems to be more feminine than the average man which might bring the viewer to the assumption that he might be gay.
There’s nothing offensive about having a gay character in any type of commercial or movie. Where the problem lies in what is said to the man. Along with using his famous tag line (calling the man a fool), Mr. T says something that is a little more offensive in my opinion. “You’re a disgrace to the man race” this is a little harsh for a simple candy bar commercial. Anyone who watches the commercial and assumes the speed walker is gay could assume that he is calling gay men a disgrace.
Calling any one a disgrace is offensive, but because it was towards a particular group of people that have been oppressed and denied rights for many years, a word like “disgrace” carries a little more weight. Following those words are ” It’s time to run like a real man” which in a sense brings forth the idea that gay men are not real men. This statement supports the traditional views of what a “real” man should or should not do, which in this case would imply that “real” men don’t speed walk . The views of what masculinity is or isn’t have been redefined over the past 20 years.
It’s commercials like this one that reinforce the rather traditional view that a real man must be tough, muscular and violent for society to accept him. Leaving plenty of room for verbal or physical abuse for those who do not meet those standards. More offensive than verbal assault is physically assault. This what Mr. T proceeds to do. He continually throws Snickers at the man out of a machine gun forcing the man to run faster. This brings forth the idea that in order to be so called manly, you must be violent.
The use of even a silly type of gun (one that shoots Snickers) is still representative of violence. This not only promotes violence but violence toward a certain type of person. Unfortunately, there have been many crimes taken towards homosexuals because they were homosexuals in which some even lost their lives. And somehow having a commercial that reenacts this sort of behavior is suppose to be humorous. Not only is it not humorous, but to the young minds of children that haven’t yet been educated this gives the idea that it is okay to assault someone because of a particular behavior.
Besides realizing that it is a commercial that insults homosexuality, I also realize that the commercial has nothing to do with the actual product. How is a chocolate candy bar relative to Mr. T and a man speed walking? Were we told why we should buy this product over other chocolate candy bars? Absolutely not. We were told that if we wanted to be masculine and homophobic, we should try Snickers. Not in those exact words of course, but that is the message that many, think this ad is trying to deliver . Fortunately, the commercial was pulled from national television because of the complaints received. Many of them were from the U.S.
To think that this commercial would even be approved to air demonstrates that we have made very little process in accepting the differences of others. Public humiliation of a particular type of person should never be acceptable let alone humorous. Rather than waste millions of dollars on ad campaigns that breed ignorance, we should aspire to use that same money for ad campaigns that have a righteous cause. To many this sounds absurd, but if we continue to allow these type of commercials to air, our future generations will continue to have these ignorant mentalities that will bring very little progress.