Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Where Do Gay People Shop?

The young woman admires herself in the bathroom window.  Scantily clad in nothing but a bikini top and briefs she could be competing in the Women's Beach Volleyball if it weren't for the constant self description  as she moves from the bathroom towards the living room, announcing to the world in general how fit, tanned and generally well she is looking.

Upon throwing open the door she finds that her female flat mate is not alone as expected, but sitting having a cup of tea with her grandmother.  Grandmother gives a polite round of applause and says "you do look quite tidy dear" - cue signature tune of advert for body lotions producing company.

Now, I don't know much about women - let's face it, what man does, but I hear that they are of a type that will cheerfully show off their latest bra to a friend without any sexual overtones whatsoever.  This would never happen with blokes: we only talk about sport, beer and women and comment on clothes only if we are taking the mickey.

However, the level of description that the young lady gives as she travels does seem to go beyond a display of latest clothing and onto a call to have her for breakfast on the table next to the marmalade (or possibly with)

This then is the closest that the advertising world currently has to showing a relationship that could possibly be anything other than hetrosexual.  TV is full of promos showing couples buying beds, going shopping for food, sueing their boss after a nasty accident at work - but all of the couples/people/family being portrayed are clearly straight, only a few are of mixed or ethnic diversity and absolutely none are handicapped or gay.  Let's face it: despite the large levels of ethnic and sexual diversity that exist in the world today - the large majority of advertisers continue to show adverts largely reflecting white middle-class people, usually with families.

Which begs the question: where do advertisers think that these people shop?  Because it's clearly not at their establishment, and nor do they appear to want what could amount to 100s of people's ready-to-spend income.

The last time i saw a gay couple on TV (aside from in a drama or a sit-com, where there is always an extreme "angle" on the relationship - or stereotype) was at the Obligatory Two-Girls Kissing Protest that seems to accompany every US Presidential inauguration and I strongly suspect that despite the sponsorship of a certain supermarket chain of the Paralympics it will be a good four years before I see anyone in a wheelchair shopping for vegetables again.

Which all seems rather strange - especially after that odd period in the first decade of the 21st Century where it suddenly became massively cool and trendy to either be gay, have gay friends or have a gay following  - where were the advertisers then, milking the so-called pink pound for all it's worth?

So here's my challenge to the advertisers for the rest of the 2010s - start showing us the rest of society in a positive and non-stereotypical way, allow people from all walks of life to be shown in your adverts just as people getting on with their day to day lives.  Why not show a woman in a Hijab buying some canned peas, show a clearly gay couple buying a bed for their new home, show a disabled person in one of your interminable stop-smoking ads where only badly dubbed German executives seem to hold jobs.

In short: show the world as it is, not just fragments

6 comments:

The Bug said...

Oh DFTP you're such a dreamer...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Bug - you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...erm....

that sounded familiar somehow...

The Clandestine Samurai said...

I agree, however, financial politics come into play when making these ads. The companies invest a lot of money into those ads, so they want their message conveyed in the shortest time with the safest images possible. So, they need to be updated in what is a "safe image" in their respective society, as well as not being afraid to be inclusive to certain outcasted social groups.

And to The Bug's comment above. It has only ever been the vision of dreamers that's changed the world.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Samurai - yes indeed: safety first in advertising

tysdaddy said...

An excellent observation, and needed criticism. The holy dollar, unfortunately, screams louder than any message of acceptance or individuality. Marketers think in terms of common denominators, and there is little room for diversity when it comes to reaching the masses. Sad . . .

susan said...

You're points are excellent and well worth shipping overseas.