Chris (karihan) wrote,

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Yeah. I can't go silent about this one.

One of my flisters (thank you sjwashere) made a thought-provoking post about a controversy that recently happened concerning an Australian show about advertising called The Gruen Transfer. One segment of the show, called "The Pitch", challenges two different advertising agencies to come up with an ad based on a "difficult sell" concept. Donating money to super-wealthy CEOs, keeping Cane Toads as pets, living next to a nuclear reactor ... that sort of thing. Oftentimes the results are silly; sometimes they are serious.

This week, the two agencies were asked to come up with ads selling the idea of "Fat Pride", addressing shape discrimination in Australia. The government-funded ABC network that runs The Gruen Transfer deemed one of the resulting two ads acceptable to be shown to the viewing public. The other was declared "a breach of ABC Editorial Policy" and denied a chance to be broadcast, though they did consent for it to be placed on a separate website with an explanation and content disclaimers to facilitate discussion and debate.

You can see the first ad here. It presents the concept that fat people are helping Australia's economy by consuming more goods and resources.

The second ad does contain ugly, discriminatory jokes about race, homosexuality and religion as well as body size. You can watch it here. ETA: I forgot to mention that this video also includes a debate and discussion on the reasoning behind the ad, including explanations from the ad's creator.

For any of you who do not already know, I am (as medical professionals delight in writing on my charts) "morbidly obese". After watching both ads, I left the following three comments on

Hm. One ad seeks to address bigotry against fat people by blatantly and yes, uncomfortably comparing it to other forms of prejudice and showing it to be just as ugly. The other seeks to address it ... by making yet another Fat Joke.

And yet it was the Fat Joke ad that ABC deemed acceptable to be shown to the viewing public.

Does anyone else see the problem here? Or at the very least, the incongruity?


I do have to wonder if the people who were shocked and offended at the Foundry's ad were actually thinking "how dare you show me these racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic jokes!" or were they really thinking "how dare you compare attitudes about fat people to racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism!"

Nobody enjoys having their prejudices pointed out to them. But bigoted attitudes don't change until people are yanked out of being comfortable with their old way of thinking.


You know what, folks? Let's even take a step back from the resulting ads for a moment. TGT chose to group addressing anti-fat bigotry in with such joke "causes" as donating money to super-wealthy CEOs, living next to a nuclear reactor and the merits of cosmetic surgery for the under 10s. That decision was in and of itself bigoted and offensive.

So. Obviously I've made my take on this subject fairly clear. Feel free to comment, discuss and express your opinions whether they agree with mine or not.
Tags: news, ngh!, rl

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