Tuesday, 24 June 2008

In Which It's Apparently The Nineteeth Century Again

Heinz has had to pull its latest TV ad after getting a couple hundred complaints about it. The offending advert is shown below in all its society-corrupting glory.



Surely that's just too damn funny to object to, right? How are we still at this point? I note that, of course, it's all about protecting the children. Apparently the ad
raised the difficult problem of parents having to discuss the issue of same-sex
relationships with younger viewers.

I've been hearing this argument a lot lately (most often in conjunction with Doctor Who's disgraceful ongoing practice of admitting gay people exist, one particularly egregious coming from Guardian writer Zoe Williams whose child had met John Barrowman but was still judged too young by his mother to see Barrowman kiss James Marsters), and I still don't get it. How is homosexuality a concept that we have to shield our children from? I mean, I understand there genuinely are concepts that can't be handled by a child until they reach a given level of intellectual development, but since a young child's view of sexuality is frequently tremendously abstract anyway, what harm is it liable to do? I remember once asking my parents why my best mate didn't have a sister, because I just assumed everyone did. It didn't take any effort to explain that away, why would "Why does Jimmy have two dads?" be any more tricky? It's only because of the sexual element that there's a difference between the two questions, which is something a parent is projecting onto their explanation, not something that inherently needs to be part of it.

Then of course once a kid is old enough to be able to cope with sex education one would hope the issue would be raised [1], or if it isn't, then that's a bigger problem by several orders of magnitude than dudes kissing in kitchens. Christ, there isn't even any tongue.

I'm too young to remember, did we have to go through this shit with mixed race couples, too? I mean, maybe all bigotry eventually gets hidden within the claim that it would be hard to explain to kiddies. [2]

[1] I genuinely can't remember whether or not it was when I started my sex ed way back at the start of the Nineties, but I do remember knowing what it meant to be gay, and not finding it remotely confusing. Or at least no more confusing than why anyone would want to, say, go kayaking.

[2] This isn't really the point, since I refute the "it's hard to explain" argument in its entirety anyway, but given that a child can get their head very easily around, say, a bunch of people in trucks fighting alien cars made out of plants, or watch robots that turn into animals beat the crap out of each other on prehistoric Earth, the idea that they couldn't possibly get their head around some couples not automatically being one woman and one man should take seconds to process.

1 comment:

Pause said...

As I mentioned elsewhere, the sheer number of people complaining about this by starting with "I wouldn't consider myself a homophobe, but" is truly frightening. But the idea that so many would rather use children as an excuse than admitting (whether it's to themselves or to anyone else) what the problem is beggars belief.