Do The New Ads By Hanes Make You Feel Good All Over? genre: Gaylingual & Just Jihad & Six Degrees of Speculation

Hanes used to tell us they would make us feel good all over. With the following ad campaign, one might question whether the underwear company has had a change of heart. The tagline states, "Because the world gives you enough tags" and it's intended to highlight Hanes' new line of tagless products. While the ads were produced in India and aren't scheduled to run in the U.S., they are certainly drawing the attention the ire...of a number of Americans. I certainly understand the reactions, though I'm not sure I fully concur with all of the criticisms.

Let me attempt an explanation by first asking a question. If acceptance emanates from understanding, can the former be achieved if the latter is ignored? Here's the point. Labels are a form of understanding...or in the case of prejudice...misunderstanding. Changing those misunderstandings...and therefore the beliefs (prejudices) that underlie the labels we apply...requires two things. First, there must be an open discussion of all that is incorporated into the conceptions (both good and bad) of those we seek to enlighten. Second, there must be an honest disclosure of the identity (both good and bad) we seek to substitute for the faulty, or more likely, incomplete perceptions.

In looking at the "Faggot" image, my first inclination was to apply my own version of a truth test. Hence, I wanted to know if the image represented any, all, or none of my understandings of being gay. Yes, the first thing I noticed was the word "Faggot"...and it would have been easy to allow this word...frequently used as a halt my thought process.

I didn't do that because I'm convinced that the word itself has no power or meaning. That can only be determined contextually. With that said, an understanding of the ads intent soon emerged as did an appreciation for the journey others (on the outside) must travel in order to comprehend the true essence of those who "wear" this label. The transformative process cannot otherwise begin.

The journey, by those who don't wear these labels, to achieve an acute awareness of those who do, requires an effort that must exceed the obtuse understandings of those who have made known their negative intentions when applying the label. While many complete this journey in spite of the dissonance, real community can only be achieved when the words and the intentions of all the parties becomes harmonious. Reaching that point of stasis can only be achieved when full understanding is realized. Unfortunately, that can only happen when and if it is sought.

Hence, the power or meaning behind these labels cannot be stripped away unless and until the motivations and misconceptions that bolster them can be removed or repaired. Therefore, efforts to forbid the labels circumvent the process necessary to alter the intentions and misunderstandings that corrupt or color them. Their absence from the vernacular has little, if any, correlation with extinguishing the hatred that remains virulent, though hidden and harbored...but perhaps no longer vocalized (at least in public).

We may think silence is solace but that is akin to believing the lamb can safely lie down with the lion without ever having reached the understandings that are required to enable it. Such an act must be predicated upon a mutual respect for the worth of the other...and therefore an acceptance of the right of the exist. Absent that, peril will always persist and quiet must not be misconstrued to mean that cunning has suddenly been quelled.

Faggot, nigger, and paki are labels that appropriately perpetuate corresponding tags like homophobe, racist, bigot, and many more. The incendiary fuel that hides behind all of these words...ready to erupt...will only abate when both sides entertain and pursue transcendent understandings. While logic may tell the lamb it would be foolish to even imagine a direct discussion with the nonetheless instructs both parties that the primordial change is otherwise precluded.

In the end, the change we seek must be an action, not an admonition. The former moves us forward; the latter moves us apart. The faggot will lie down with the homophobe when the humanity that undoubtedly joins them is allowed to undo the doubts that divide them. In allowing that miraculous moment of awareness, one man can and will choose to lie with another...not as faggot and homophobe...but as nothing more than all we are...human beings. Only then will we all feel good all over.

The three images follow. If you click on the two smaller images, they will be opened as full size images comparable to the larger one that precedes them.

If you would like to see even larger images (far more readable detail is revealed), visit the following link and click on the images:

Ads Of The World




Tagged as: Bigotry, Gay, Hanes Underwear. LGBT, Homophobia, India, Labels, Prejudice, Racism

Daniel DiRito | April 12, 2008 | 3:17 PM
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