Thursday, August 19, 2010
Controversial Karate Ads Surface
These print ads that leaked on the Internet this week have really sparked an uproar. The ads are from a Hispanic agency I never heard of called called Zubi and apparently never actually ran. They were supposedly leaked from an employee who was just playing around. While I certainly can't bash the creativity here, I can add some dimension to this issue which has largely been framed as anti-gay. While that underlying connotation is of course present, we must not forget that there's a difference between sexual orientation and gender expression. Gender expression can sometimes indicate sexual orientation, and other times it cannot. So who knows, this kid could grow up to be the next Tiger Woods. But whether it's reinforcing the idea that being either a sissy or a queer is undesirable, it probably speaks to most parents out there who just want the best for their kids in a difficult and cruel world. But you can't always get what you want, especially when it comes to forces such as these that have such innate roots. Selling the idea that a child can change either of these through any easy mechanism is dangerous territory, as anyone who has ever worked with troubled LGBT youth knows first hand (sometimes the hardest way). But the reality for most parents with a boy like the one in these ads is that they are still going to end up with a little sissy, even after Karate lessons. Only then, he'll have more belts to add to his fabulous wardrobe.