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Fashionably Informed: Homosexuality in Fashion Advertising


Welcome to College Fashion’s biweekly column, Fashionably Informed. As a CF reader, it’s clear that you love fashion. But have you ever wondered about the drama that goes on behind the scenes? To keep you up to speed, this column aims to inform you about important issues and controversies in the fashion industry.

In case you missed them, see past posts on Retouching & Photoshopping, Tanning Promotion in the MediaHypocrisy in Beauty Marketing, Racism in the Modeling Industry, and “White-Washing” & Skin Lightening.

 JCPenney's Mother's Day advertisement feauturing same-sex couple
JCPenney’s Mother’s Day advertisement | Photo Credit

For today’s post, we are going to take a break from our series on racial issues in fashion. Our past two articles prompted spirited discussion in our comments section, and today, we are going to cover another topic that is just as controversial.

Homosexuality has been a hot-button issue in America for some time now, and the gay marriage debate, plus TV programs like “The New Normal” and “Modern Family,” have only intensified the discussion. The fashion industry has provided more fodder for the debate, most recently through the release of controversial retail advertisements.

The Fashion Advertisement Controversy

So what’s the controversy all about? In short, some fashion retailers have started including same-sex couples in their advertisements, which has outraged some opponents of homosexuality.

As we will explain below, some anti-gay organizations and individuals believe that the portrayal of same-sex couples and gay and lesbian individuals in magazines, catalogues, and advertisements is wrong. However, most of the companies that released the ads have not backed down, despite the threat of boycotts, and have continued to portray homosexuality in their advertisements.

Below, we’ll explore the history of the advertisement controversy and name a few of the ads at issue.

JCPenney vs. One Million Moms

Earlier this year, JCPenney announced that Ellen DeGeneres would be their newest spokesperson.

In spite of Ellen’s countless fans that watch her wildly successful talk show and support her other projects, the announcement of her new role was met with opposition. The problem? Ellen’s sexual orientation. As you may know, Ellen is openly gay. She came out as a lesbian in 1997, and recently celebrated her 4th anniversary with her wife, Portia de Rossi.

Among those opposed to Ellen’s appointment was an organization called One Million Moms (OMM), who called for JCPenney to remove Ellen as their spokeswoman. On their website, OMM describes themselves as an organization dedicated to protecting children from “the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at [them].” Their response to JCPenney implies that they believe homosexuality is among those things.

According to the Huffington Post, OMM released the following statement in an “Action Alert” after JCPenney’s and Ellen’s partnership was announced:

Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there. The small percentage of customers they are attempting to satisfy will not offset their loss in sales.

Following this statement, One Million Moms called for a boycott of JCPenney stores if Ellen continued to act as spokeswoman. However, JCPenney stood behind their choice.

OMM soon ended their push for a boycott of JCPenney stores. In a follow-up article, the Huffington Post stated,

Monica Cole, director of the “pro-family advocacy” group which threatened a JCPenney boycott after the retail chain appointed DeGeneres as its spokesperson, now tells OneNewsNow that members are backing down and have decided to move on to other issues.

How did Ellen DeGeneres respond to this controversy? Check the clip below to see:

JCPenney vs. One Million Moms: Round 2

The controversy between JCPenney and One Million Moms did not end here. After their announcement of their partnership with Ellen, JCPenney began featuring “non-traditional” families in their catalogues. These “non-traditional” families included same-sex couples and their children. These families were photographed for JCPenney’s Mother’s and Father’s Day catalogues.

The Mother’s Day advertisement (pictured top) featured two lesbian mothers, their two daughters, and the girls’ grandma. The mothers are pictured in a loving embrace with one of their daughters while grandma holds the other daughter. According to Buzzfeed, the text in the corner reads as follows:

You’ll often find Wendi, her partner, Maggie, and daughters elbow-deep in paint, clay or mosaics. “Even as babies, the girls toddled around in diapers, covered in paint,” said Wendi. They come from a long line of artists, which includes grandma Carolyn. Visiting her art studio in Granbury, Texas is a favorite outing. And like any grandma, this one loves to bake — pottery, that is.

After this advertisement was released, One Million Moms resumed their campaign against JCPenney. The Huffington Post reported that OMM released the following “call to action” on their website:

OMM has so many issues to cover we had no choice but to move on earlier in the year but have decided to revisit this issue and speak out again. It is obvious that JCP would rather take sides than remain neutral. JCP will hear from the other side so they need to hear from us as well.

One Million Moms requested that JCP remain “neutral” by not featuring same-sex couples or homosexuals in their marketing campaigns. However, JCPenney’s Father’s Day catalog made it clear that they would continue to support the LGBT community:

For their Father’s Day catalogue, JCPenney used another “non-traditional” family. This time, they featured two fathers with their two young children (pictured below). As with the Mother’s Day advertisement, there is a small caption that, according to Think Progress, reads:

First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two.

JCPenney also included a caption that reveals that the photo depicts a real family, not hired models.

JCPenney Father's Day advertisement featuring same-sex couple
JCP’s Father’s Day advertisement featuring two fathers | Photo Credit

This advertisement, of course, created greater tension between JCPenney and One Million Moms. OMM responded with this “Action Alert” on their website. Part of their message says the following:

It is obvious that JCP would rather take sides than remain neutral in the culture war. JCP will hear from the other side so they need to hear from us as well. Our persistence will pay off! One day we will answer for our actions or lack of them. We must remain diligent and stand up for Biblical values and truth. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.

At the end, OMM asks its supporters to take several steps to send JCPenney a message: return any JCPenney catalogues they receive, unsuscribe from their JCP mailer, call or go to their local store and voice their concerns, and cancel their JCP credit card.

While JCPenney’s advertisements are among the most recent controversies of this type, other companies have portrayed homosexuality in their ads. Like JCP, their marketing campaigns, too, were met with opposition.

Macy’s Wedding Cake Ad

Before JCPenney featured same-sex couples in their catalogues, Macy’s caused similar outrage when they promoted gay marriage in an advertisement for their wedding registry (pictured below). In their advertisement, Macy’s depicted a car full of wedding items including a cake. This cake featured a topper with two grooms instead of a bride and groom.

Macy's Advertisement Featuring Same Sex Couple
Macy’s advertisement featuring same-sex wedding cake topper | Photo Credit

According to The Advocate, there is evidence that Macy’s has been in support of the LBGT community for some time now. In 2008, Macy’s ran an advertisement that celebrated California’s brief legalization of same-sex marriage. The Advocate describes the Macy’s support further, saying,

As conservative groups like the Moms encourage a Macy’s boycott, LGBT buyers have encouraged support of the company, which gets a 100% HRC rating, has an active LGBT employee group, and celebrates June’s LGBT Pride month with their Pride + Joy campaign, which features everything from in-store events and gay tribute windows to ad support, gift registry booths at Pride, and thousands of employees marching in parades.

Macy’s support for homosexuality is apparent, which has upset groups like One Million Moms. As in the case of JCP, OMM posted an “Action Alert” on their website in response to the ad, which urged readers to voice their concerns to Macy’s.

Ray-Ban, Gap, and Levi’s

Department stores are not the only companies in the fashion industry portraying homosexuality. Brands like Ray-Ban, Gap, and Levi’s are using same-sex couples in their marketing campaigns, too. 

According to Gawker, Levi’s shows active support for the LGBT community in many aspects of their marketing campaigns. Levi’s even has two commercials featuring gay and lesbian couples.

Ray-Ban also showed their support with their “Never Hide” campaign. The Huffington Post reported that the campaign was “a salute to people from various eras who have flouted conventions in plain sight.”

Gap is another brand that has portrayed homosexual couples in their ads. However, Gap didn’t use the pages of a magazine to spread their message. Instead, they choose to feature a same-sex couple on their “Be One” billboard in Downtown LA. As in the case of Macy’s and JCP, One Million Moms was quick to respond to this advertisement. In another “Action Alert,” OMM said the following:

Please send your email to GAP now and let them know you are offended by their disrespect for family values and common decency.

Last Thoughts

This much is true: Companies are increasingly moving towards portraying homosexuality in their ads. And some people clearly feel that this portrayal is offensive and goes against their values.

When evaluating this issue, it may be easy to write it off as a simple matter of marketing strategy. However, we must remember that this issue affects real people, not just companies’ stocks and bottom lines. On one hand, some Americans believe homosexuality is offensive and feel uncomfortable seeing images of homosexuals. On the other hand, millions of people in the LBGT community are already fighting to gain the same rights as everyone else – now, it seems, they must also fight for the right to be seen.

What do you think?

Do you think fashion retailers and brands should “remain neutral” or openly demonstrate their support for the LGBT community? What effect do you think these ads will have on their audience? Do you think advertisements portraying homosexuality will become more common with time? Do think it is fair to ask companies to exclude people from their marketing campaigns based on their lifestyle choices? Tell us you thoughts by leaving a comment.

Posted on on September 20, 2012 / Filed Under: Fashion News / Tags: , , , , ,

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84 Responses to “Fashionably Informed: Homosexuality in Fashion Advertising”

  1. 1
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I think it is great that companies are representing more types of people in their ads to show they are not homophobic. I’m sure there was a day when companies’ ads resulted in backlash because they had featured models from a racial minority. Someone has to be the first to make a change. I commend these companies!

  2. 2
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I think it’s very sad that some people can’t simply believe what they want to believe without trying to erase any trace of the existence of people they disagree with or dislike. Everyone has the right to hold their religious beliefs and voice their opinion, and One Million Moms and those who agree with them are no exception. This doesn’t mean objecting to someone merely portraying the existence of a group of people is anything less than bigoted.

    Plenty of people found the portrayal of interracial marriage very offensive not even fifty years ago. Some still do today. Though anti-miscegenation laws were made unenforceable by Loving v. Virginia, the last one didn’t come off the books in the US until 2001–and 40% of Alabamans voted to keep that ineffective law! Certainly some of those voters are still alive and of the same opinion today. Would we consider it okay (not legally permissible, but *right*) if a large group of people expressed their deeply-held belief that a clothing catalog should not show interracial couples? Interfaith couples? Would we be discussing whether their discomfort and offense should be catered to?

    Is there really a “neutral” stance here? Can there be a neutral stance when it comes to recognizing the existence of a group of people? Can there be a neutral stance when it comes to civil rights?

  3. 3
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    That was a very well written article! I, for one, am very glad that homosexuality is being portrayed in media and advertisements. Hopefully this is one step closer for acceptance of people regardless of their orientation.

  4. 4
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Keilla this was a really interesting article! I live in Australia so while I’ve heard of the OMM and JCP controversy I haven’t really been that involved. I don’t think any brand can remain “neutral”, If any brand features a couple, they will automatically be suggesting a “side”. The only way to be “neutral” would be to feature only the product without any models. I have a problem with the term “neutral” as used in the above context because it suggests that heterosexuality is the “norm” and anything else is somehow deviant. Publicity stunt or not, I am glad these brands embraced homosexuality in their ads (the Ray-Ban ad is particularlly clever) because they are fighting the myth that there is only one way to love. Hopefully one day same-sex couples in a catalogue won’t insight such a debate but will be accepted.

  5. 5
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Coming from somewhere where gay rights don’t exist, I absolutely have to salute Ellen for speaking the way she does, she blows my mind!
    And I think it’s great that ads have started featuring gay couples. For OMM, that might seem like all the rage, but that step has to be taken for us to look back in a few years and think “what was all the fuss about?”. 50 years ago, being black meant separate buses, and no one talks about that anymore.

    Anyways, article is brilliant and greatly researched and written! I’m looking forward to the next one.

  6. 6
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I’m so glad that many companies are brave enough to stand up for what is right and equal! I really have a heart for making people feel welcome and included, and it’s awesome that ads are reaching out to diverse groups. Bigotry sucks and to anyone trying to hold LGBTs down–YOU CAN’T STOP THE BEAT! :)

  7. 7
    September 20th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    What a wonderful article!

    Whilst the JCP advertisements strike me as clever marketing I think their support for the LGBT community is wonderful. Being gay may be against some beliefs and some may be offended bybut there is no denying the fact that gay couples are increasing in numbers and this, in my opinion, should be reflected in advertising.

    There is no saying what is “normal” in today’s world because the human race is becoming wonderfully diverse. I think it completely unfair to ask companies to exclude people from their marketing campaigns based on their lifestyle choices. It should be nobody else’s business but their own. They say sex sells but controversy is just that little bit better!

    To the hate groups involved I would like to point out that there are more pressing issues in our lives rather than fighting change. Embrace it with an open mind.

  8. 8
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I was relieved to see so many supporters of gay rights. I was worried about nasty comments, but they were all positive! Love it!!!

  9. 9
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Once again, I am very disappointed in this College Fashion series. Personally, I am not among the “some Americans” made “uncomfortable” by seeing “images of homosexuals”. I do believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, but I am not against civil unions or the denial of any rights (save those, like marriage, which are fundamentally religious in nature) to people based on any characteristic other than citizenship. If you are a legitimate citizen of the United States, you deserve all the rights allotted to citizens of the greatest country on Earth by the Constitution.

    Having said that, I do have quite a big problem with openly biased journalism from any stance. Opinion pieces, by their definition, ally themselves with a distinct side, but informative articles (as I had believed this post to be) ought to present facts, not opinions. If the article had ended right before the “Last Thoughts” section, I would not post my comment; until that point, the author presents only cases of this controversy. Yet I could not believe the last two sentences of the “Last Thoughts” section.

    “On one hand, some Americans believe homosexuality is offensive and feel uncomfortable seeing images of homosexuals. On the other hand, millions of people in the LBGT community are already fighting to gain the same rights as everyone else – now, it seems, they must also fight for the right to be seen”.

    With all respect, is that a joke? No one could read the above quoted lines and still believe the article to be a legitimate piece of unbiased journalism. College Fashion, I am very disappointed. Having met many LGBT people, I can say that none whom I have met have had any problem being seen or announcing their beliefs to the whole of Facebookdom. Thank God that Americans live in a country where homosexuality is not a crime punishable by death (as it is in other nations!). These two sentences would seem to break the whole issue into two sides. Either you hate homosexuals and are actually offended to see a picture of this apparent foreign species, or you are at the barricade with the millions of LBGT and their supporters, fighting for exactly equal everything. Yet the author explicitly says that this is not a simple matter. I do not like to be placed in either of these camps, yet College Fashion would seem to relegate me to one or the other. Am I openly in favor of the LGBT lifestyle? No. Am I deeply offended by the very image of someone in this lifestyle? No.

    Advertisers are free to put in whatever models they think will best sell the clothes. Period. Oh, yes, there are some companies who pursue some higher mission with their ads, but the nature of capitalism rewards those who advertise most effectively. If LGBT people sell clothes, then advertisers are going to use plenty of ads featuring LGBT themes. If LGBT people do not sell clothes, don’t expect advertisers to jump at the chance to feature them in ads. At the end of the day, the endpoint of an ad is to get you the consumer to buy the product advertised. When you run your own business, you can make whatever legal choices you like, but for-profit businesses exist to make money for the business owner. I welcome anyone to make any “tasteful” ad (that is, nothing overtly sexual or gross); if an LGBT ad increases a company’s profits, then three cheers for capitalism.

  10. 10
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    As an active member in the LGBT community, I’m very proud of the companies that haven’t backed done under these bigoted protests.

    As Cass was saying (I think?), people ARE free to have their own thoughts and ideas. They are not free, however, to limit the freedom and lives of others, which is where OMM is crossing several lines.

    I’m super psyched that the rest of the population is open to LGBT relationships. The world is moving in a better direction! :D

  11. 11
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Homosexuality is not a matter of belief or opinion. It is a matter of the equality that our country stands for. To say that a company should remain “neutral” by not featuring same-sex couples is akin to suggesting they should not feature people of color. To exclude a group of people based on who they are is bigotry, and that fact is not disguised by hiding behing claims of protecting children.

  12. 12
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I have been watching (and loving!) your site for a few weeks now, and it both surprised and impressed me to see an article both socially aware AND tied to fashion. I, for one, was super excited to see Ellen as spokeswoman of JCP, because she’s strong, independent, and all-round inspiring. It’s also really good to see more homosexuality portrayed in the media and to see politicians showing more and more support for equal rights across all spectrums. I think these are signs that the tides are beginning to change, and for the better.

  13. 13
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I think this was a fabulous article. I think we need to take a stand for something that is right. I support ellen and all she stands for. This was a wonderful article thank you for writing it.

  14. 14
    September 20th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I think its great companies are showing support for the lgbt community. Also quick point here by showing only heterosexual couples companies are not staying neutral.

  15. 15
    September 20th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I can’t stand One Million Moms. I don’t care if you’re a “traditionalist” Christian, whatever. But the beauty of this country is that we are free to choose whatever we want to believe. Why do they care so much what other people do with their lives? And how sad is it that they are so full of hypocrisy and hate that they dedicate their lives to making other people’s lives difficult?

  16. 16
    September 20th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I personally believe homosexuality is wrong. That being said, I live in America where I have the right to boycott stores that support homosexuality and support companies that support traditional marriage (a right I often exercise).
    However, I am tired of hearing that I’m “bigoted” against homosexuals or homosexual “marriage” and that I’m “close-minded”. I am stating that the relationship between a man and a woman is different between that between two men or two women….revolutionary, I know. But by making that distinction, I a suddenly a bigot? I don’t hate homosexuals, but I do hate homosexuality. And it’s not just me; in states such as California, the majority of voters have voted in favor of traditional marriage three times, and yet each time the courts have overturned those rulings.
    Aside from the fact that homosexuality is morally wrong, I am sickened to think of the public school system forcing their agenda down children’s throats whose parents do not agree with what’s being taught. It’s one thing to mention so-and-so was a homosexual – it’s quite another to disproportionately laud homosexuals who have made achievements and try to influence young children. It homosexuals want to have a relationship, so be it – but when the government tries to force its citizens to accept gay marriage as legal and moral, I am highly offended and angered.
    It also blows my mind that many who support homosexuality often oppose incest and polygamy (both of which I also oppose, by the way). How can homosexuality be moral if some types of heterosexual behavior are immoral?
    Homosexuality is not natural and it saddens me that our culture is embracing it as such.

  17. 17
    September 20th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    When it comes to issues like this, there is no such thing as “neutral” advertising. If your franchise is claims to cater to and represent Americans, then you should be representing ALL Americans, which includes people of color, members of the LGTBQ community, the disabled, etc.

    Actually, marketing aside, there’s really no such thing as being “neutral” when it comes to something like LGBTQ rights. It’s not just a belief or a matter of opinion when it actively oppresses members of a whole community. By demanding that magazines do not show same-sex couples, or even by saying that you think marriage is man/woman only, you’re spreading the idea that same-sex couples are inferior to heterosexual couples. That helps sustain a culture in which being gay is often something that you have to hide, that you have to be ashamed of. Members of the LGBTQ people can still be fired because of their orientation in most states. They still can’t legally marry their (same-sex) partners in most states. Is that really the kind of society that you want to remain the status quo?

  18. 18
    September 20th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I’m so excited about this article! Seeing gap’s ad (with two men in 1 t shirt) on buses and billboards always brightens my day, because I know it means that equality is on the way in!

  19. 19
    September 20th, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I had no idea there was this controversy in the first place. I am extremely glad that the large companies are starting to support the LGBT community. It’s about time, in my opinion! With luck, things like this will help to “normalize” gay and lesbian relationships.

  20. 20
    September 20th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    So OMM said “Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.” Alright, so OMM thinks that it is their right to call out any company that produces sinful advertising, or advertising that goes against the Bible. Does that mean if I ever see an OMM member doing something sinful, I have a right to make a huge fuss about it to let them know how they are sinning? I thought there was a verse about noticing the branch in your eye before noticing the splinter in your neighbors. OMM should focus on trying to live their own lives according to the Bible and not dictate other people. As a Christian, whenever I see one of my friends commiting a sin I don’t go “OH MY GOSH YOU COMMITTED A SIN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, I’M BOYCOTTING OUR FRIENDSHIP.” God will judge everyone equally, so leave other people alone.

  21. 21
    September 20th, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Also, why doesn’t OMM go after companies who post advertisements with half naked models like Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch, American Apparel, daisy marc jacobs perfume ad, etc…if you ask me, these homosexual couples that are fully clothed are way less offensive than the half naked models.

  22. 22
    September 20th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I agree with Kate. I don’t agree with the LGBT lifestyle, but I believe they should get the same rights as everyone else, and articles like this do tend to break the population into one of two categories. This is America, and everyone should have the same rights.

    My issue isn’t with legalizing gay marriage, my issue is with any form of government approved marriage. I don’t agree with ANYONE obtaining legal marriages, gay, straight, christian or non-christian. I think the law should stay the hell out of the marriage business altogether and just grant everyone the same generic civil union. There’s no longer a reason the law should have a part in marriage, especially with the divorce rate being so high, the whole IDEA of marriage has changed, thus the TERM should change along with it. If a person of faith wants a “marriage” they can get it through their place of worship, the term still means the same thing in the church as it always has, even though legally it has changed. So, if the religious organizations want their word, then leave them their word. We should stop worrying about a word and start focusing on the law and what it carries. No where in the LAW does it say that a homosexual couple can’t live together with rights, there’s no reason they can’t change the law to state that everyone must obtain a civil union, rather than a marriage, to be granted said rights. Just change the word marriage to civil union and there’s no more argument. Case closed. Why is that so difficult?

  23. 23
    September 21st, 2012 at 12:31 am

    So glad to see this!!! Equality for all!!!! Love college fashion for tackling real issues!

    As for who said this article is biased? This isnt being biased this is equality and doing whats right. At least that is my opinion.

    Keep up the good work!

  24. 24
    September 21st, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I believe that homosexuality is wrong. But this article is not about whether homosexuality is right or wrong; it is about whether or not you should be able to voice the fact that it is right or wrong. I personally don’t like seeing homosexual couples in advertising because it is suggesting that homosexuality is normal and okay and should be accepted. These are things I do not believe, and sometimes I feel like that mindset is being shoved down my throat. However, as a private organization, it is these companies rights to make a political statement if they so wish. Just as it is OMM’s right to boycott that company if they so wish. According to the Constitution, neither party was at fault. I would like to point out, there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and being a biggot. If not having the same opinion as someone else is biggotry, then everyone on earth is a biggot. Sometimes I feel that certain civil rights topics, give rights to some while taking away from others. Everyone is quick to say that companies should be able to have whatever advertising they want, but what about OMM and their right to protest? As Amanda Armstrong (a homosexual character) said in the movie Mona Lisa Smile “It’s gotten to the point where you don’t know who is protecting whom, from what!” Be them right or wrong, people are entitled to their opinions.

  25. 25
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Love this article! And despite what one certain comment said, this article is not written with a bias. Never did it say who was “right” and “wrong”, it was purely factual. Read it again if you disagree. LGBT people ARE fighting for their right to marriage and the thousands of benefits that only a marriage (not a civil union or domestic partnership) legally grants them. The idea of marriage actually is not a holistic, religious ideal, otherwise atheists would not be permitted to marry, would they? And despite your “beliefs” on the subject, every time a civil right has been put to state vote, it was NEVER ended well (see: slavery, segregation, etc.)

  26. 26
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I love how homosexuality is considered something you can or can’t believe in, as if it’s the Tooth Fairy or Father Christmas. How could you feel if someone said to you that they don’t believe that you love your other half because it goes against what they think? My mum is a lesbian and I frankly find it offensive that there are those that would try and call us ‘not a family.’ I have always felt supported and as if I can rely upon both my mum and her girlfriend, who has been in my life for over six years. Reading the opinions of OMM is incredibly offensive to me and the way that I have (happily) lived my life. To try and invalidate someone else’s lifestyle is ridiculous. And these ads are brilliant. Lesbian and gay families are a fact of life just as inter racial relationships are a fact of life. The real issue is that some organisations attempt to exclude people based on their sexuality because they feel ‘uncomfortable’ with it. To them I say that your feelings should have no bearing on anyone else’s life.

  27. 27
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Wow, love the enthusiasm! I just have two quick things to clear up with one of the comments.

    1. I presume, by the context of your post, that you mean the word “beliefs” to be any thoughts which correspond with your own thoughts, at least on this particular subject. That’s fine. I would merely suggest (and this is only a suggestion) that you define any terms you redefine at the beginning of your argument, for the benefit of the reader.

    2. If you’ll read your Constiution, which I highly encourage every American to do, you’ll find that only two avenues exist for the amendment of the highest law in the land. Either a national convention of at least two thirds of the states can be called, or both houses of Congress can pass the amendment like a bill with two thirds majority and then send it to the states, two thirds of which legislatures must approve it. Now, no amendment has been passed by the former method; hence, every amendment – including the Thirteenth – has been passed via state approval. Moreover, I was under the impression that several states had outlawed slavery before the Civil War, which would seem to me a clear example of states affirming a civil right.

    Of course, none of this relates to the real issue of LGBT portrayal in advertisements, but I thought it best to add some historical background.

  28. 28
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Most of these companies are extremely liberal and try to push their “values” on middle America. If you look at the 2011 Gallup polls, it shows that only roughly 3.5% of the US population is LGBT.

    Regardless if you are for or against gay marriage, this is not the norm in America! These companies can shove their views down our throats as much as they want, but the fact is that the remaining 96.5% of America is not into same sex relationships.

    On a side note, I have found in my life that if you have to work REALLY hard to convince people something is normal, acceptable, good, etc. chances are it is not.

  29. 29
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Wait Brooke, you’re NOT a biggot? In what way are you NOT a biggot? Your huge diatribe only serves to show that you are. You are, full stop, a biggot when you refuse to extend rights to people who are different than you, whom you want to impose your personal religious beliefs on. If you think YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS supersede the rights of people you think are “immoral” because of those beliefs then YOU ARE A BIGGOT.
    There is no ‘gay agenda’ when the leading cause of death of gay teenagers is STILL suicide, and when the vast majority of people in government are straight white men who think like you do, and gay men aren’t allowed to serve their country openly, or have their partners visit them in hospital. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND how little rights and power gay people have, you attribute power to them because YOU DON’T LIKE EVEN KNOWING THEY EXIST. WHICH IS THE POINT OF THESE ADS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  30. 30
    September 21st, 2012 at 11:20 am

    CB, if you feel the “liberal media” has pushed gay people being allowed to live a normal existence enjoying the same civil liberties you enjoy, please consider what the American people and government have pushed onto the gay community and then ask yourself if you would trade. You wouldn’t. Please stop complaining.

    If you didn’t have the basic civil rights to visit your partner in the hospital, or get married, or serve your country by joining the military, or adopt a child that would otherwise end up without a stable home you would be far more upset than you are now and with good reason.

    Americans seem so ass-backward to me, you get all up in arms (literally) about your rights to carry automatic riffles but you deny basic dignity to your own citizens.

  31. 31
    September 21st, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I think that these retail brands should openly advertise their support for the LGBT community! It’s great and shows everyone that you don’t have to lie about who you really are, and take a stand for what you believe in. I think this will upset a small portion of people like the OMM but others will be happy to see some diversity in companies like this. I do believe that ads portraying homosexuality will become more popular in the future. It’s not fair to ask people to remove homosexual people from the industry and tie religious values to it because you can’t assume that everyone has the same religion or even believes in the higher power. This was a great article to read :)

  32. 32
    September 21st, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I think it’s great that these companies are doing this. People who are homosexual don’t choose to be homosexual. It’s just like the colour of your skin. You can’t choose it. I would therefore equate the Americans (and others) who “find homosexuality offensive” with people who used to say they could not tolerate being around non-white people and that having non-white people around them was “offensive” to them.

    I knew that discrimination towards homosexuals is a problem in the USA, but I really didn’t realize how much some Americans are bothered by it until I read this article.

    I don’t get the problem with homosexuality anyways. Other people’s marriage habits are none of your business. And for those who quote religion, not all religions are against homosexuality (so stop pushing your religious values on others).

    Being a member of a minority in society myself, I know what it’s like to experience invisibility in the media. I think it’s great that with these companies’ ads, one more group is gaining visibility in the media. In this way, I think that this issue is also deeply related to the absence of non-white models in the media.

    This is a great article, College Fashion! Keep up the great work!!!

  33. 33
    September 21st, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Wow just read A’s comments to Brooke. Pretty harsh. Name calling a definite no-no. Brooke is entitled to her opinion and entitled to shop or not shop where she wants. A- do you think YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS supersede the rights of Brooke have PERSONAL BELIEFS? Maybe you are the one who is “immoral”. By the way the suicide is the #3 cause of deaths for ALL teens, homosexual or not. Suicide is so tragic and your energy would be better spent in wondering why it is so prevalent among all teens, yet drops from the top ten in adults.

  34. 34
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t understand homophobic people, most of their hate is religious based. It’s like, so you believe some guy came along and created the whole universe and loves everyone but you think two men/women kissing is unnatural?

  35. 35
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Any steps that companies take to reflect real and true life in the marketing is a good thing. I cannot believe that homosexuality is still an issue in this day and age, and I hope that in 10 or 20 years time people will look back at this the same way that we look back at the apartheid.

  36. 36
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Wow! Yet another controversial article that sparked some great discussion. Just wanted to remind everyone to be respectful of the views of others, even if you disagree, and to please abide by the CF comment rules and keep hatred/slurs/explicit language out of your comments – I had to delete a few that crossed the line.

    Also, wanted to respond to those who accused us of being biased. When editing this, I made it a point to remove any opinionated statements and present only the facts. The final section does not present an opinion, but rather discussion fodder – on one hand, these ads offend people, and those people don’t want to be exposed to content they deem offensive. On the other hand, it’s arguable that though gay people don’t currently have the right to get married, they do have the right to be seen where they want to.

    Finally, to Kate, I feel you missed the point of the article. This post is not about the gay marriage debate nor is it about whether you are “in favor” of homosexuality. It’s about whether homosexual individuals and same-sex couples should be allowed to appear in advertisements that some Americans deem offensive. So in respect to THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE, like we say in the post, there are two sides – for and against.

  37. 37
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    (note i haven’t read the above comments) I think it’s great that that JCP is supporting LGBT rights. However to the people that complain and would like ‘neutral’ ads, I think it was done in a neutral way. I have seen these ads before and my first thought was not ‘oh they’re gay’. I just saw a bunch of assumed mothers and presumably their kids and they were all laughing and having fun. Same with the father’s day ads. As for the wedding cake toppers: that does not mean much (I wouldn’t call it pro-gay or pro-hetero) since most people don’t look at magazines with magnifying glasses and the car and the stuff could belong to anyone. Although, I will admit it is cheeky, subtle, and well played.

  38. 38
    September 21st, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    With all respect, I believe my first post made it pretty clear that I did understand the article. I only mentioned my stance on gay marriage because I feared (as has since happened to other posters) I would be called a bigot for taking my stance. It’s sad that a commenter cannot state his or her opinion without being called an offensive, incorrect term.

    I was responding merely to the last words of the article. The author explicitly stated that some people are offended by the very image of homosexuals, while millions of LGBT people are fighting for equal rights. That I exaggerated this language was merely for humorous effect.

    Let me restate my position on this issue. Advertisers are free to put in whatever models they think will best sell the clothes. Period. Oh, yes, there are some companies who pursue some higher mission with their ads, but the nature of capitalism rewards those who advertise most effectively. If LGBT people sell clothes, then advertisers are going to use plenty of ads featuring LGBT themes. If LGBT people do not sell clothes, don’t expect advertisers to jump at the chance to feature them in ads. At the end of the day, the endpoint of an ad is to get you the consumer to buy the product advertised. When you run your own business, you can make whatever legal choices you like, but for-profit businesses exist to make money for the business owner. I welcome anyone to make any “tasteful” ad (that is, nothing overtly sexual or gross); if an LGBT ad increases a company’s profits, then three cheers for capitalism

  39. 39
    September 21st, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    It’s not that those who are against homosexuality don’t believe a man can love a man, or a woman can love a woman, or that they can’t be a good and loving family. They can, and they are. What people have a problem with, (and I’m going to be blunt here) is the sexual aspect of it. It’s not unnatural to love someone of the same sex, it is unnatural to have sex with them, and in this society, where sex is SO prevalent in the media, it’s hard to see the word “sex” and think about anything other than the act of sex. This is where the taboo lies and morality is questioned. We’re still having issues with acceptance of heterosexual acts of sex, (out of wedlock, with strangers, teen pregnancy, incest, and polygamy) these are all deemed, by the same people in opposition of homosexuality, as immoral.

    With that being said, “homophobes” (I hate that term, people aren’t literally “afraid” of gay people) are not necessarily bigots (although those certainly do exist) they aren’t against the person, they are against the lifestyle and are against lifestyles like it (typically, those outlined in the bible) religious people are entitled to their opinions and beliefs the same as the non-religious are, no matter how wrong you may think their opinions are.

    I personally, don’t want to see ANYONE’S PDA, I think we should be free to leave our homes and not be able to determine absolutely everyone’s sexuality. Hold hands, fine. Hug, sure. But keep it PG! Kids don’t need to be introduced to any of that no matter what sexuality they may be viewing. Do we need to see men and women groping each other on billboards and in magazines? NO! Certainly not. Do we need disclaimers like those on the ads above saying “THIS IS A GAY COUPLE!” Uuuh, no. No one needs to know, just leave it up to our interpretation. (This goes for the military as well, no one should have to know what your orientation is. Although, if I were a guy and I found out I was sharing a bunker with a guy who may be fantasizing about me, I would be a little creeped out)

    When SEX stops being a point of public concern and scrutiny, and the media stops shoving it in our faces, then I think the fight for equal rights for homosexuals and the LGBT community will be a lot easier.

    Once again America, we’re focusing on the wrong issue to solve our problems.

  40. 40
    September 21st, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I went back and found Kate’s post after I saw this:

    ‘Kate, I feel you missed the point of the article. . It’s about whether homosexual individuals and same-sex couples should be allowed to appear in advertisements that some Americans deem offensive. ‘

    It is ultimately up to advertisers to choose models. I don”t even understand the the idea of being “allowed”. There is no law against modeling. If an advertiser wants to use someone they will, if they don’t they won’t. I think it is silly to equate an advertising strategy with fighting to gain the same rights as everyone else.

  41. 41
    September 21st, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Casey – “I think the law should stay the hell out of the marriage business altogether and just grant everyone the same generic civil union.” Should they grant marriage licenses to siblings, or polygamists? I think we can all agree that it’s wrong for a brother and sister to be married – how can you make a moral judgement on some issues, but not others?
    A – “You are, full stop, a biggot when you refuse to extend rights to people who are different than you, whom you want to impose your personal religious beliefs on.”
    Here, then, is the fundamental difference between us. As I stated before, I have no problem with the fact that people have opinions that are contradictory to mine – I have a huge issue with their opinions, but not the fact that they have them. It absolutely blows my mind that because I make a scientifically accurate distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couples (as in – where do babies come from?) I am a bigot. However, homosexuals should not be legally allowed the title of being “married” because they aren’t. Marriage is one of the oldest, most well understood institutions of all time, and now a minority of the population is going to force me to change that? That is being intolerant; that is forcing your opinion on someone else. And I find it highly offensive, not to mention dangerous. I believe it was in Colorado that a family bakery was sued because they refused to endorse homosexuality by making a homosexual couple’s wedding cake. A similar situation occurred with a wedding photographer who was forced by the court system to photograph a homosexual wedding even though he was morally opposed to it. And should gay marriage become legal, how many pastors will be sued or jailed for being “discriminatory”?
    A, you also mentioned suicide, gays in the military being forced to stay quiet about their homosexuality, and hospital visitation rules. Bullying is wrong, period, and it’s tragic that these confused teens feel forced to take such action because of the cruelness of their peers – but bullying someone and opposing the redefinition of marriage are totally different. In case you weren’t paying attention, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed so this is no longer an issue. As for hospitals, they are private institutions and are perfectly capable of changing their visitation policies by themselves.
    A, do you support government endorsement of incest or polygamy? If not, then you must be a bigot too.

  42. 42
    September 21st, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    A – In response to several comments you made about my comments:

    1. The media IS liberal – no quotations necessary
    2. I never said anything about gays living a normal existence – but the data shows that only 3.5% of Americans in fact live a gay/lesbian lifestyle. (Gallup Poll, May 2011)…(if you don’t like these facts take it up with Gallup, not me)
    3. You mentioned me being upset – not so, just speaking my opinion as my civil liberties allows
    4. I have no clue why you mentioned your feelings that Americans are crazy about right to bare arms – not related to issue at hand. However, here is a basic US History lesson for you (since I take it you are not American). That is part of our 2nd Amendment Rights passed back in 1791. You may not understand/appreciate these rights/laws set before us by the great men who founded this nation, but I, a very Proud America am honored to be part of such a great nation.

  43. 43
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    “On a side note, I have found in my life that if you have to work REALLY hard to convince people something is normal, acceptable, good, etc. chances are it is not.”

    All those involved in the women’s suffrage movement and the African-American civil rights movement might disagree with you on that.

  44. 44
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I think its pathetic and ridiculous that some people think that them being momentarily uncomfortable seeing homosexual people in advertisements is the equivalent of the pain and discrimination that the LGBT community has to deal with. I know a lesbian whose partner of 9 years was dying in the hospital room and they would not allow her in to see her because she was not “family” and they were not “married.” Her biggest fear in life is that her partner died not knowing how hard she was trying to get into the room to see her. I applaud this article for being unbiased and for bringing attention to the issue, it just makes me so sad to read some of the comments that reduce homosexuality to a political position. This is not about being liberal or not being liberal. This isn’t about being against it or believing in it. This about peoples lives. Real people just like you. Homosexuals are all someone’s daughter or son or mother or father or friend. And yet there are LGBT people being harassed, bullied and murdered and people still think its okay to treat us like second-class citizens. And by the way forcing someone to comply to your definition of love is being a bigot.

  45. 45
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Shannon: BOOM. Thank you.

    Casey: Also understand that the word “homophobe” does not represent a fear of gay people but rather an AVERSION to gay people. Most people who are homophobic do have an aversion to and do not want to be around gay people, and as you have already stated, do not want to think about gay couples having sex.

    And I love that you are allowed to define for me where to draw the line on PDA. Every time I give my girlfriend a kiss on the cheek or hold her hand I’m afraid that someone is going to shout something at me or give me a disapproving look. I live that every single day. I should be allowed to walk down the street without fear of harassment because religious people are uncomfortable with how I live my life.

    Also, I’m really offended by your statement about the military. Not every gay man is on a mission to sleep with every man in the world just like I’m sure that you don’t have a crush on every man you meet.

    That said, this is a great article. I’m really glad that LGBT couples are getting more representation in the media because there are plenty of people out there struggling with their sexuality and they need to know that being LGBT is normal and acceptable since they may be living in an environment that will not accept them for who they are.

  46. 46
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Im from Mexico and here this issue is nOt even beeing discussed…I was so excited to read the cOmments from people against homosexuals…Im in favor but I always want to read what the other part thiNks because I might be missing sOmething…and I actually was.

  47. 47
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Bethany: I had to comment again because that was a beautiful comment.

  48. 48
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    @ Caroline

    Thanks yours too :)

  49. 49
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Homosexuality has been observed in over 450 different species. Homophobia has been observed in only one. You want to tell me which one’s unnatural now?

    All those who believe that homosexuality is wrong or same-sex marriage is wrong – imagine that you’re a member of the LGBT community and you’ve fell madly in love with someone. Imagine that you want to marry them. Imagine being told that you can’t because it’s not traditional. Imagine being told that it’s unnatural, wrong, and immoral.

    You know what? You guys probably can’t empathise with anyone who has different lifestyle choices then you. Just imagine being told that your love is immoral. How do you feel?

  50. 50
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I don’t like the tone of this article. It tries to “remain neutral” but the thing is, if someone is against gay people in ads, then they’re homophobic. There is no neutral side. If you’re “offended” by seeing gay people, if you want them to hide and to be invisible, then you’re a homophobe. Would you try to “remain neutral” on racism? It’s the same thing. It’s just as wrong to say “I’m offended by people of colour in ads” as “I’m offended by homosexual people in ads”.

  51. 51
    September 21st, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    You know, it saddens me that people are so opinionated and wish to dictate who you should be with, who you should love, what religious beliefs you should follow! People should understand that the LGBT community exist and they will do as they please because they are happy. Why can’t they be happy? Many of them are the ones with the big bucks!

    Sure, believe what you wish. I don’t care what people do with their own lives. Seeing a same-sex couple won’t affect my choice in buying from a big company (I’m all about price and quality!)

    And being neutral???? Ha! This is America! Since when have we ever been neutral? Neutrality just doesn’t work for us! Didn’t Washington’s neutrality act failed in the 1700’s?

    Let people be and let them love who they wish! Love is blind an has no limits! And these companies are still making money so a few less customers won’t hurt them (hey, less customers, more merchandise for me to get!)

  52. 52
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I think that though it may be partially a marketing ploy, I am glad that Gap, JC Penney’s, etc. are using nontraditional relationships in their advertising because, frankly, lesbians gays transgenders and bixsexuals are Consumers and Americans too. And as for OMM, LGBT culture shouldn’t be considered vulgar, especially in an era where political correctness is so prized. Is being African-American vulgar? No? So why is LGBT? Regardless of what the bible says about homosexuality, it also said to love thy neighbor.

  53. 53
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    No one is having a civil right taken from them. To the poster who compared this to that- WOW, not really. Model all you want, with your partner, your friend or your cat. It is about advertising dollars. Businesses are already struggling, let them put their dollars where they get the most bang for their buck. Funny thing is, when you see an ad, you don’t know if that model is straight, gay, or even transgender, and that’s a good thing because it’s supposed to be about the clothes.
    Oh and for the record, I don’t like seeing any couples p.d.a., same sex or not.

  54. 54
    September 21st, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I think open support for same-sex couples is brilliant. If groups like OMM are offended by the very sight of same-sex couples on bilboards and in magazines, then they had better not go outside, because–shocker!–there are gay couples in real life, too. It doesn’t matter whether you are gay or straight, or what percentage of the population is which. Hating even the image of someone because of their predisposed sexual orientation, and speaking out to condemn them because of it, is pointless hatred and a waste of everyone’s time.

  55. 55
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Wow so many comments in just one day! Thank you all so much for reading and taking the time to comment as well. I just wanted to respond to a few of your comments.

    First of thank you to those you said that this article was great (or something along the lines of that). I still get nervous when writing my articles but hearing your compliments makes my day.

    Dina- You’re right Ellen is a great speaker. She is not mean. She gives her opinion and perspective with humor but also with sincerity.

    Kate- I’m sorry my article disappointed you! I tried to remain unbiased in this article. I meant for “Last thoughts,” to be a section where I could remind readers that this issue isn’t only about sales. It’s about people, their rights (not the right to marriage, the right to just be in a magazine), and their feelings.

    I was not saying that the LGBT community has a problem with being seen. I was saying that some people are trying to take away that right by asking that they not be shown in magazines.

    I also didn’t mean to force people into two camps. I just meant that in the case between JCP (or the other brands) and OMM, there are two sides.

    Brooke- I am not saying that OMM or anyone else doesn’t have the right to boycott the companies they want. However, it is not a fact that homosexuality is morally wrong, that is an opinion. I also disagree with the opinion that the government is trying to force gay marriage on us. It is an issue of civil rights. People are entitled to their rights, whether or not other people disagree with their decisions.

    CB- Only 3.5% of the population is LGBT; however, this doesn’t mean that they are not entitled to the right to be shown in a magazine. I also don’t think showing a picture of a family is shoving their beliefs down anyone’s throat.

    A- You also have the right to your opinion. However, please be careful about calling others names.

    Casey- I really disagree with your comment about the military. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean that he is attracted to or is fantasizing about every man he sees.

    Shannon- Thanks for the response! I couldn’t have made that point better myself.

    Caroline- Thank you for sharing your story. I know that interracial couples are different from same-sex couples but the one time someone told me that my relationship was wrong because my boyfriend is a different race, I was so hurt and upset. I can’t imagine always being scared or upset. I know that my situation doesn’t compare to your story very much. However, your story reminded me of my feelings and experience. I am sorry that you are put through that.

    Tara- Just to clarify the “remain neutral” quote isn’t from me (the author). That is quote from OMM.

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion. However, please do not be mean or hateful on this site. Express your opinion with kindness. Remember you are not just typing words into a computer, you talking to real people.

    Thank you and please continue the conversation!

  56. 56
    September 22nd, 2012 at 3:59 am

    @Keilla: I don’t like to play the “oppression olympics”, so I don’t think either of our experiences is necessarily worse than the other but I think there are definitely similarities. I’ve had some pretty nasty slurs shouted at me by grown women, and it can be pretty hard to deal with. I, too, am sorry that you had to deal with that sort of racism just because you’re in love with someone. I know people’s minds will change some day though.

  57. 57
    September 22nd, 2012 at 4:18 am

    I realize this is not a discussion about whether i support gay rights or not, but I have to make my side clear: I do not support gay marriage or any rights, but I would not judge any gay person; I would be their friend and treat them as an equal. Personally, I think featuring gay couples in ads is not appropriate at all. Kids will be brainwashed to think it is right, whithout thinking about it, and without consulting their moral beliefs. I think stores should defenitely remain neutral towards this subject; they’re there to promote their products, not their personal opinions.

  58. 58
    September 22nd, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Great article! I’m proud of you for taking the leap into a controversial issue on a website normally devoted to the lighter side of fashion and college life.

    I think it is wonderful that larger retail chains are acknowledging the changing attitude of Americans toward homosexual couples. The example ads you provided show it has been done with grace and sensitivity. OMM needs to step back and accept that love exists in many forms and can’t be silenced. Homosexuality exists. Diversity exists. Diversty is reality. It is time reality is seen in the media, and accepted.

  59. 59
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    It’s their company they can do what they want. I fully support the gay and lesbian community and it is upsetting that there are organizations like One Million Moms who are outraged by a same sex couple in an add compain. Guess what? Alexander the Great was believed to be gay, and that is mentioned in schools because it’s a fact and some teachers are accepting gay people. I don’t see how being gay is against family values? They want a healthy, happy home for their children also, and they support adoption. There are so many kids who need foster parents and they are there to help.

  60. 60
    September 22nd, 2012 at 2:47 pm


    “I do not support gay marriage or any rights, but I would not judge any gay person; I would be their friend and treat them as an equal. Personally, I think featuring gay couples in ads is not appropriate at all. Kids will be brainwashed to think it is right, whithout thinking about it, and without consulting their moral beliefs. I think stores should defenitely remain neutral towards this subject; they’re there to promote their products, not their personal opinions.”

    So you don’t support any rights period. No rights for anyone is what your sentence reads as. May want to consider editing your sentences. Being a friend and an equal to a gay person must be very hard for you while you’re out getting married (maybe), telling them how immoral they are and telling them they shouldn’t be featured in commercials.

    Companies have rights too. Why should they have to “remain neutral” when you and I can voice our opinions? So you can sleep easier at night? So your beliefs aren’t threatened? If these beliefs of yours are so fragile and threatened by a brief commercial, you may want to reexamine what them.

  61. 61
    September 22nd, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    *reexamine them

  62. 62
    September 22nd, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    To those disagreeing about my comment on the military. I knew I would get flack for that, I was in no way saying that homosexual men in the military are attracted to all the guys in their bunker, unit, etc. (or “every guy they meet”, as many of you reworded my thoughts) I said, “MAY” be fantasizing about them, not that they ARE fantasizing about them Homosexual men, by definition, like men, therefore a homosexual man being roomed/ bunked with straight men, is similar (not the same, similar) to men and women being roomed/ bunked together, it doesn’t mean that they ARE attracted to each other, it doesn’t mean they WILL have sex, it doesn’t mean that there will be any sort of attraction, connection, etc. at all, it means there is a possibility and out of respect for all parties involved, it’s not done.

    It’s unfair to board a gay man with a bunch of straight men in an area of shared living space, it’s also unfair to not allow gay men to enlist in the military because they happen to be gay. So how do we remedy this? And “straight men need to suck it up” is not an acceptable solution. No woman would want to be told she has to suck up the fact that she has to share close quarters, where nudity will be imminent, with a bunch of men.

    And Caroline, I don’t want to think about ANY couple having sex, not just the gay ones. I also didn’t define any terms of PDA, I simply stated what I don’t want to see (and for clarification, I don’t want to see ANY PDA from homo or heterosexual couples). I think most of the world would agree with me on that. No one likes to see PDA, it’s none of our business what others do and PDA makes it our business by shoving it in our faces. And yes, our freedom of speech allows me to say whatever I want. Our freedoms also allow you to ignore what I say

  63. 63
    September 22nd, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    This article was lovely! I found it very interesting that fashion and advertising can now be used to spark discussion and debate on this issue. In response to some early comments, I’d simply like to say thanks for the support and ask that we avoid complacency. Sometimes people who identify as straight see LGBTQ exposure in the media and think that there is nothing more to be done, or that the issue will resolve itself. When I explain to my friends that not only is it legal in some states to fire an employee based on their sexual orientation, but that I have NEVER lived in a state that offered protection against such discrimination, I’m always met with disbelief. One of the reasons I liked this article so much is that it deals with the fact that LGBTQ visibility isn’t a given like it is with heterosexual couples and individuals. A lot of things that aren’t included in the marriage debate (such as visibility, employment, or even necessary caution with PDA). In many cases, all it takes is a moment of consideration to affect change, so I hope that discussions like this will continue to raise awareness about other LGBTQ issues and (hopefully) encourage further activism.

  64. 64
    September 22nd, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    @Casey: “And yes, our freedom of speech allows me to say whatever I want. Our freedoms also allow you to ignore what I say” Just because you have freedom of speech doesn’t give you permission to say offensive and hateful things without consequence.

  65. 65
    September 22nd, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Keilla! Thank you so much for writing this and putting it out there. It is a wonderful way to get people up to speed on something very pervasive right now in the states. Always really happy to read something intelligent and researched on a favorite site of mine. Keep writing, lady!

  66. 66
    September 23rd, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Personally I think it was a great article!!

    From my point of view I think that gay marriage should be allowed, and if that should be allowed then why not let them model. It makes no sense to me – the people I’ve read and talked to who think homosexuality is not right often try to prove that they are, however, not a bigot. Yes, it’s totally within your rights to express your opinions too, but if you are so not-prejudiced and so prepared to exercise your freedoms and rights, why not give them to others too? To me, that would be better overall. Everyone would have the same rights and freedoms, and you could choose whether to use them or not. No LGBT person would object to straight people getting married, so why not give all people their rights – we are all humans after all.

    Also, people that object to homosexuality based on religion have never made sense to me, because you are basing your belief on your religion, which obviously not everyone else follows. So who are you to impose your beliefs on them? We have freedom of religion, therefore we should have freedom of sexual orientation. Although religion is more of a choice, and sexual orientation is not – for those people who object to homosexuality based on the idea that it is a “choice,” do you think anybody would willingly choose to be homosexual or actually anything in LGBT? Look at the way LGBT people are often still judged and badly treated.

    As for people who oppose these photos because they will be “brainwashing” their children to think being LGBT is right, these kids will still see so many more straight people in real life just because of the percentages, so I think that is not a logical argument. Besides, many kids are sort of brainwashed into a certain religion, like their parents bring them up with it, so if you are ok with that then why do you disagree with this?

    Long reply, but I feel strongly. I cannot believe such things are still under debate in a place that calls itself a “developed country.” I hope that the issue will become obsolete soon, as many have already talked about by comparing it to the issue of racism.

    Again, wonderful to see collegefashion doing more of these articles and getting these ideas out there! Thank you so much, keep up the fantastic work!

  67. 67
    September 23rd, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Great article! I agree, I would have liked it if there was an article on CF (or other places for that matter) that didn’t split this issue into just two groups. But that’s not what this article was written for, so its ok!

    That said, I was raised Christian and agree with the “traditional” view that men and women are meant to be together. But that’s my PERSONAL belief, and American laws shouldn’t force that belief (or any other belief) on anyone. I agree with doing civil unions for everyone and letting people call them “marriages” if they want. And if you’re in a civil union, you have the rights that “married” people currently enjoy – medical decisons, tax breaks, etc.

    Ideally, ads should portray all different types of people – single, married, gay or straight, disabled, etc. But the goal of ads is to sell people stuff, and if the company feels like some ads sell stuff better than others, that’s their decision. The effect their ads have is something they have to evaluate.

    To sum it up, there is a middle ground on this issue.
    Peace out!

  68. 68
    September 23rd, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Caroline, I didn’t say anything hateful or offensive. You’re reading a heck of a lot more into what I said than what I actually wrote. (my bad, I forget the more one writes the more people have to pick apart and scrutinize) I’m not against gay rights. I’m all for homo and heterosexuals being completely, 100% equal. And ideally, I’d just like to live in a far less sexualized society.

    That was my previous 3 posts summed up.

  69. 69
    September 24th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    By “remaining neutral,” fashion companies are not actually remaining neutral – they are ignoring a significant part of the population by catering to another part. To actually remain neutral, these companies should just continue what they are doing – having same-sex families in some ads, and opposite-sex couples in others.

  70. 70
    September 25th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    @leah: i agree with everything you said – very well put!!

    @H: “So you don’t support any rights period. No rights for anyone is what your sentence reads as. May want to consider editing your sentences. Being a friend and an equal to a gay person must be very hard for you while you’re out getting married (maybe), telling them how immoral they are and telling them they shouldn’t be featured in commercials.”

    correct me if i’m misunderstanding you, but i disagree with you here. i have friends who are a part of the LGBT community & they are fully aware that i disagree with their lifestyle. however, they are also aware that i still see them as people, & as such, have all of the same rights as i do.

    in regards to homosexuals appearing in ads – that’s the company’s prerogative. ideally companies would represent society as a whole in their ads (that means homosexual couples, minorities, interracial couples, people of all different sizes etc), since that’s who would be buying their products & would therefore make the most business sense.

    to sum it up, i agree with casey that i wish advertising & society was a lot less sexualized as a whole. but otherwise, i really don’t care if the models (& people in general) are homosexual, straight, bi, transgender, asexual or still deciding. as long as you are considered a human being, you have the same rights as any other human being & that includes the right to have different opinions & disagree. as me & my friends say, we agree to disagree. :)

  71. 71
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, cant believe we live in a world where two people in love is considered “disrespect for family values and common decency”… OMM, you people make me SICK!

  72. 72
    September 26th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I don’t understand what the million moms org. means when they say they want JCP to remain “neutral.” Not showing ads of homosexual couples would support one side over the other. How is that being “neutral”?

    I didn’t read all of the previous comments so I’m not sure if anyone said this already.

    Interesting article to read!

  73. 73
    September 26th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    If people really want companies to stop ‘showing a bias’ and ‘remain neutral’ then how is excluding an entire group of people doing so? If companies were to only feature heterosexual couples that is clearly showing a bias for heterosexuality…. Adding these couples to advertising isn’t pushing out the presence of heterosexual couples it is just adding to the advertising and being unbiased in showing ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES! Not just one. I understand that some people are not okay with it and I find that abhorrent but using a stance of ‘making companies remain neutral’ is bull in the simple fact that pushing out an entire group of people is not remaining neutral and it is not being unbiased. I am happy these companies are taking a stance and showing equality and actually being neutral and unbiased in their advertising.

  74. 74
    October 9th, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Interesting article. I’ll ignore the issue of getting into my personal opinions about LGBT rights because that’s not really the issue of this article. To me, what I found most interesting was CF’s take on it.

    In most of the Fashionably Informed articles CF has taken a very clear and very harsh stance – against racism and many things that they are portraying as racism that are, in many other people’s opinions, not racism – and yet in this article they do their best to remain neutral in the face of very clear discrimination. I think if you’re going to write the article, write the article – be as against discrimination based on sexual orientation as you always seem to be against discrimination based on race or culture.

  75. 75
    October 9th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Second Nicole completely. Luckily in a few decades trying to be “neutral” on this issue will be like being neutral if someone fought against multiracial couple ads on the basis of family values. CF, you do not have any duty to be neutral on this – you sure weren’t in your fashion and race articles. Take a stand for what you believe in instead of trying to please all of your readers. It’s a shame you chose to try to be silent about this when the article, as other readers noted, had a positive tone anyway. If you wrote about interracial couples in advertising so neutrally, you would be seen as racist. Why are you waiting to only say what is popular?

  76. 76
    October 11th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    As a Christian, I support homosexuality. I hate it when people try to label all homosexuals as horrible people or AntiChrist, and I hate it when people try to label all Christians as anti homosexual. I believe people should love who they wish. Even if you don’t support homosexuality, they deserve all the rights of straight people (though I don’t have an opinion on marriage).

  77. 77
    October 16th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Love the article & comments. Interesting how some people believe seeing a few homosexual ads will/ may affect the morality/ sexual orientation of kids (I heard this opinion elsewhere too). We should promote it if only to tell the truth to kids (sadly i only knew there were gays & les when I was 13…. Pretty late)

  78. 78
    October 20th, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    i know this article was posted a while ago, but i somehow missed it! anyway, i just skimmed through the whole string of comments, and i’d like to put in my two cents here.

    to whoever said that the law should not be involved with marriage (or civil unions), i completely agree. marriage isn’t exactly seen as a religious thing to everyone now. my husband and i got married in a garden instead of a church because we’re not religious. the idea is outdated. if you want to get married in your place of worship, go ahead. but that should be a personal choice. getting married to whoever you want to marry should be a personal choice, as well. separation of the church and state. it’s important. not everyone in our country practices the same religion. why would you force them to subject to it? to everyone who mentioned religious beliefs…yeah. religion should be restricted to places of worship, religious functions, your family, etc. our constitution and our country were not built on christianity, believe it or not. most of our founding fathers were deist or atheist. especially thomas jefferson.

    speaking of “beliefs,” i encourage everyone to look up the scientific research behind homosexuality. i assure you that it is not always just a lifestyle choice. you can see differences in the human brain. it’s biology. for homosexuals, telling them to have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex would be as equally unappealing to them as telling heterosexual couples to have relations with their same sex. i’m a straight woman who’s attracted to men and i wouldn’t be interested in being with a lesbian. a lesbian is attracted to women and not interested in being with a man. to whoever said that homosexuality is found in numerous species, it’s totally true.

    and the talk about homosexuality in the military? yeah, don’t ask don’t tell was repealed. however, homosexually married military members do not get the same benefits as heterosexually married ones. my husband was in the navy and his paycheck increased after we got married in order to support his “dependent.” if we were to have kids, the pay also would’ve increased to support them. homosexuals in the military do NOT get this. like i was saying before, the law just needs to recognize marriage as a union between two people. then everyone can receive benefits. it can all be equal.

    whoever said the comment about our kids being “brainwashed” and having these beliefs/morals/whatever supporting homosexuality shoved down our throats…like someone said before, black people didn’t always have rights. women didn’t always have rights. and there were many, many opponents to the ideas of giving them equality. i kind of feel like we’re going through the civil rights movement of our generation right now. if you don’t want your kids to be “brainwashed at school,” then homeschool them or send them to a christian school. there’s science behind homosexuality, just as there is science behind evolution. and global warming. if my kids went to a public school that tried to teach them creationism, i would get them out. we’re the same, we just believe in the opposite. and that’s fine.

    backlash against homosexuality is all based on religion. it needs to stop. not everyone in the world practices a religion that thinks homosexuality is wrong. believe what you want, but don’t push it on other people. homosexuals and their proponents are not trying to push themselves onto you or your kids. they’re just trying to fight for equality.

  79. 79
    October 27th, 2012 at 7:13 pm


    your comment summarized practically every thing I was thinking when I read the article and the other comments. i truly wish more people were as informed and accepting as you are on this issue!

  80. 80
    March 9th, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    @ Keilla
    You stated that “it is not a fact that homosexuality is morally wrong” and that its “just an opinion.” Well Keilla, a morals are based on cultural standards, or what is accepted in our culture. Our culture does not widely accept homosexuality, which are by the way due to moral standards in our culture. Which makes it a FACT that it is MORALLY INCORRECT.

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