now you know

Originally, I was going to leave this subject alone. After all, it's already been covered by Deadspin, TrueHoop, the Sporting News, the Wall Street Journal, et al. However, my approach of non-responsiveness changed this morning when I read about the feminist uproar brewing over the upcoming Sony video game Fat Princess. The game's premise is to force-feed a previously dainty princess a high-calorie diet -- probably rich in candy, butter and delicious gravy -- in order to make it more difficult to capture her (or rescue her, depending on which team you're on). Upon rescue, princess fatty magically becomes thin again...restoring order to a video game universe in which "fat" is only okay for Italian plumbers.

One writer at the political/feminist blog Shakesville immediately freaked out over the game, sarcastically congratulating Sony with the following vitriol: "I'm positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes. It's not often I have the opportunity to congratulate a cutting-edge tech company on such splendiferous retrofuck jackholery. Way to go! The Fat Princess of Shakes Manor salutes you." This well-reasoned argument is then underscored by a photo of the author giving Sony the one-fingered salute. And this is probably going to shock the hell out of you, but the author is -- are you ready for your socks to go flying off? -- an obese woman.

The one thing her witty repartee failed to do is, you know, describe the catastrophic damage that this video game will wreak on fat princesses worldwide. I hate to break this to her, but video games -- even the really good ones -- aren't some sort of all-powerful cultural force. According to Wikipedia, the Grand Theft Auto series has produced nine stand-alone games and sold over 70 million copies worldwide. If something as lame as Fat Princess might create "a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes," then the GTA games should have already transformed most of us into solitary gangsters who play by our own rules while car-jacking and killing just for kicks. In which case -- BLAM!! -- we should all be dead right now.

But these knee-jerk reactions aren't about making the Earth a better place. Not really. It's about getting offended as quickly and completely as possible. People seem to genuinely enjoy the process of becoming angry and lashing out at any and every slight, whether real or imagined. This is the world we live in, folks. It has become literally impossible to create anything without pissing somebody off. I can't publish The Worsties or let a fan joke about the size of Kobe's laptop without receiving angry emails full of "screw you" this or "you're an assface" that. And all I do is clown on silly stuff that happens within the realm of professional basketball. It's a good thing I don't create video games or shoe ads.

Society spends way too much time telling us what we should and shouldn't do. Do not use in the shower. Do not use while sleeping or unconscious. Do not use near fire. Do not iron clothes while on body. Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand. Do not drive cars in ocean. This is not underwear; do not attempt to put in pants. And not only have we been given Life's Little Instruction Booklet, we've been given a green light to become filled with unreasonable rage any time the rules are broken.

At what point in human evolution did we lose the ability to make our own decisions? When did it become impossible to differentiate between playful, harmless fantasy and reality?

Which brings me to the subject of Nike's Hyperdunk ad campaign. As you probably already know, this campaign previously included a series of billboards that illustrate two of mankind’s most primal emotions: The fear of being defeated in fierce athletic competition, and the horror of having someone's dangling genitals forcibly rammed into our face. But Nike has pulled the ads because of their obvious homophobic undertones.


No, seriously. People think these ads are homophobic. You should read some of the comments at that Hyperdunk campaign link I posted above. Several people claimed that, in response to the perceived offensiveness of the ads, they will never buy a Nike product again. (Although, honestly, I'm willing to bet they weren't buying Nike to begin with.) One commenter said: "This toothless, comfy, hate-mongering would not have survived a relatively conscious basic design class...twenty years ago. Shame!"

You might be tempted to ask, "Are these people serious?" The answer is: Yes, they most certainly are. But the bigger question, for my money, is, "Do they even understand what they're so upset about?" I tend to believe that any person of average intelligence would be able to interpret these ads correctly and realize that they harm no one. You could argue about whether or not they're funny, sure, but whether they're offensive? How? Because a heterosexual male doesn't want to be dunked on and get teabagged at the same time? This presupposes...what exactly? That gay men actively desire for this to happen to them, and therefore portraying it as a negative thing is somehow hurtful to their pro-dunking/teabagging stance? That seems like a stretch to me.

But then again, my perceptions are colored by the fact that I'm a heterosexual male in a hetero-centric world. So I decided to poll a friend of mine who is both gay and plays basketball. My question was simple and to the point: Do you find Nike's Hyperdunk ads to be homophobic? Here is his unedited response: "They don't seem homophobic to me. I could be naïve, but all I see is the guys getting dunked on. I guess they could have included the basket in the pictures and not just the groin to the face."

I know that one gay male basketball player is a relatively small sample population, but you see my point. I have yet to read or hear of one rational argument that has made me think, "You know, these ads could be kind of homophobic if you look at it like this...."

This isn't a new thing, by the way. Back in 2000, Nike pulled an ad that showed Olympic runner Suzy Hamilton escaping a chainsaw-wielding killer. It was an obvious parody of horror movies like Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but some feminist groups actually believed that the ad was a gross display of violence against women. So then, like now, Nike gave in.

I don't believe that Nike -- or anyone else -- should blindly give in or be forced to give in to the masses of people who see it as their solemn duty to fight ignorance and injustice with ignorance and injustice. The Hyperdunk ads are not harming gay people. They are not making gay people feel badly about themselves, nor are they making heterosexual people hate gay people any more (or less) than they already did. Watching a man dunk on another man, even if that man is me, will not make me gay. And although I might resent the man who did it, it won't be because of his sexual orientation, but because I don't like getting dunked on and I don't like people I am not currently having sex with ramming their crotch in my face. And that's pretty much where this entire story should have ended.

You know what would help reduce the world's vast supply of homophobia? If people stopped looking for it so hard.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Mr. Sellout sir, are you telling me,

and yell at me angrily if I'm wrong,

that you don't want one company's right to post advertising (that the general basketball playing public can understand)

to be limited due to the anger of a small amount of morons

(and I'm not saying that gays are morons, but the people so damn offended by the ads are).

That is crazy. I love you man, but the fact that you want someone to be able to put things that aren't even inherently homophobic or all that offensive on the internet makes me hate you due to your craziness. How could you be so crazy? Why would you do that? You must be crazy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole Hyperdunk ad = homophobia thing is the biggest non-issue I've seen in a long time.

I don't blame Nike for pulling the ads. Not because there's even a twinge of truth to the idea of them being homophobic, but because they just want the idiots getting pissy about it to STFU. Frankly, I do, too.

And maybe the Fat Princess just needs a pair of Hyperdunks to help her drop those pounds out on the court?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is so true on so many levels. Additionally, this same argument applies to all forms of hate speech. When we choose to make words taboo (for example: white people saying nigga in a nonderogatory way), we perpetuate the negative connotations associated with the word (or in this case homophobia).
Those that cry foul ultimately defeat themselves. The best way to defeat homophobia, racism, et al., is to not give importance or attention to these immature idiosyncracies. You said it best: don't look for it so hard, Mr. I'm-not-a-bigot.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you just have to watch Men In Black

you know the scene where K talks to J the day before he joins MIB

perfectly paints the world we live in

Blogger Alex said...
Great post Basketbawful. The money line is at the end:

"You know what would help reduce the world's vast supply of homophobia? If people stopped looking for it so hard."

Some people need to be victims (the woman who flipped out about Fat Princess, for example) in order to feel special, or like they belong in this world. What a bunch of overly sensitive, humorless, dour, bitter, miserable people.

Again, great post. I usually come here for some yuks about basketball, but this is your best post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Damn, that ad is funny as hell! I'm in total agreement, I don't see how anyone could be offended by that. And, I'm offended that they're offended. So someone should kill them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Maybe the add is saying "Now you know what its like to have your thumb up someone else's ass for a change". Would that make it anti-proctologist? I'm surprised the AMA hasn't chimed in on the subject.

Blogger Victor said...
I wonder what people would say if the guy was dunking on a woman. Would have been sexist then, eh?

Oh, and I think I've seen a dunk like those before:

I guess all the people cheering are pro-gay?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Very good article.
BTW the same applies to the recent Lebron/Gisele Vogue-Cover.

Blogger Unknown said...
The second I saw the ad, I knew the guy was dunking. Any basketball player with an internet connection knows your dont want to be a youtube clip with "damn it feels good to be a gangster" playing in the background, unless your the dunker.

What if your not a basketball player? Then you see a guys crotch in another guys face. Maybe thats what they are thinking. If that is the case they just need to watch this: and they will understand. trust me, they will understand.

Blogger WiseGuise said...
On a basketball level, those ads are funny and fine (and that's a Broadway musical reference, by the way.) Part of that is the fact homophobia is rampant in athletics. So, yeah, it's all normal. This is how a lot of jocks talk, and they're not necessarily being simultaneously anti-gay as they say stuff like "you got punked!" And, yeah, I'll push back on the overly-offended sometimes, sure. I do it all the time with my dear, fellow, basically uber-liberal friends.

BUT. REMEMBER. It was normal to say all kinds of things 50, or whatever, years ago regarding, say, black people, and it didn't necessarily mean the person was being a hateful bigot at the time they said it.

But it was still rooted in a societal ill. Was it wrong to point it out then? Would you have defended various "harmless" step 'n' fetchit-type imagery back then. I'm actually assuming you wouldn't have, but based on this discussion, it sounds like you might have, I don't know. Would you be more righteous right now?

I've gotten into some heated comment back-and-forths on that very Shakesville site -- mostly having to do with Obama v. Clinton. I would push back on a vocal feminist's anti-Barack offense-taking, they would get offended by me, and I'd feel they were going over the top. But afterwards, I almost always acknowledged that they were at least partially right, because they usually were, and I'd always acknowledge they were on the side of the angels to be putting up a loud fight on behalf of womankind. It's important stuff. A pain in the ass for a straight guy, like me, sometimes; but I can deal.

Same here. Because anti-gay sentiment is one of the great ills of the world, in which so many other ills are rooted or, at least, share the same soil of insecurity, intolerance and angry and/or violent reaction to difference.

Some of those Hyperdunk captions were plainly, plainly, PLAINLY rooted in homophobic soil. I don't demonize the people involved, but they were committing an injury against human decency by implying that gay activity is itself against human decency. I believe that strongly. I don't want to shout it in anyone's face, because that's not my style, but it's plainly true (to me.)

It's just plainly plain to see. It doesn't make you bad if you can't quite admit it right now. It's difficult when someone else cares about an important issue a lot more than you do, and calls you out on something you didn't think was a big deal. It's OK to be hurt by what you take as overreaction and veiled implication of being an accessory to hate. Please look at the big picture.

It's not about your delicate feelings, and it's not really about basketball. It's not about "their" delicate feelings, either.

It's about gay people being treated poorly. If Nike (and, by extension, you) need to get dunked on to win that game, so be it.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...
Wow they really made Nike pull the ads!? Now that's gay.

Blogger Michael said...
First of all, just want to say that I agree with the general thrust (see what I did there? ;)) of this post. However, I also want to say that, as a small-timer with a blog (I'm talking about myself here, although I think I can fairly include you, if we discount Evil Ted) I don't really have to respond to things the same way that a multi-national, billion-dollar corporation such as Nike does. If something offends me or you, we can write about it in our blogs, and we don't have to worry about some fringe group coming after us for large sums of money. (Or at least, again, I don't. I'm sure Basketbawful's made some deep-pocketed enemies over the years.) It's really easy to stand up and say, "This is bullshit!" when we don't (necessarily) have to worry about someone calling us out. They have a lot more to think about.

That being said, they're still wrong. And you're still right.

Blogger  said...
It's hilarious that a game with a fat princess is a bad thing. People need to stop getting riled up over some pixels. You don't hear shit about all the movies where women get the crap slapped out of them, or where fat or gay people are talked about negatively.

I guess because it's "art". I don't know about you guys, but homosexual never crossed my mind, for a SECOND when I saw those commercials and photos.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love you Bawful. Great post.

Blogger Silly Bitch said...
forget the gays... why does the dunker have to be black and the dunked on white? what are we teaching the kids!!!

oh wait a second... i'm black... nevermind, dunk on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Remember when Vince Carter tea. bagged the French guy? Now that was gay.

Blogger nothingtoseehere said...
For years, feminists have decried the objectification of women in video games. Too thin, too beautiful, too perfect sex objects. And now, when a game that is the complete antithesis to 'all that is wrong' comes along, they still take issue.

You just can't write this kind of entertainment.

Blogger Alex said...
But remember, if you want to make fun of white Christians, accordingly to the politically correct police, go right ahead.

Blogger Joe said...
this whole sensitivity phenomenon is simply a result of the accessibility that everyone has on the internet now. imagine if people didn't have blogs to complain about these ads.

would there ever be a news story about it? would people start demonstrating? hell no. the only reason it became a media shit storm is cause sensationalists have the means through the internet to turn a print ad into a civil rights issue.

when everyone's voice is heard, a lot of stupid noise is gonna come out as well.

Blogger Jeremy Sexton said...
Companies need to grow a pair and just say "No, this wasn't homophobic at all, you're wrong, get over it."

The thing that continues to propagate this lunacy is the fact that it's pandered to every time it pops up. Fact is, you don't have a right to go through life unoffended.

I wish some company would come out with an ad that was just blatantly offensive on purpose and then when people complained went "Yeah, so what? What are you going to do about? First ammendment."

I can tell you one thing, regardless what they're selling, I'd buy it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So now you have a sport where according to critics, being dunked on is gay, while patting someone on the butt and embracing them after a big shot or win with gratuitous exchange of sweat, is not. Makes you wonder if there was enough outcry if you could get an ad pulled where the Boston Celtics are all hugging after their finals victory, for being heterophobic.

For example, if you look atlast season's"where amazing happens" commercial where I think Tim Duncan and Steve Nash are holding each other after the Suns playoff loss from the same gay or not filter you could easily pull from it that the NBA encourages intimacy between men on the same level that Nike shuns it. Unfortunately, its the extreme people are always the ones you hear about.

In the end though, its sad that people care more about an ad selling a product they'll never buy than about the overseas sweatshop its being made in.

Blogger stephanie g said...
"You know what would help reduce the world's vast supply of homophobia? If people stopped looking for it so hard."

Just like when white male politicians and talking heads point out that racism and sexism would go away if the victims stopped pointing it out so much.

As for these controversies, it's another case of small minorities being manufactured into some massive outcry when in reality most people don't care (or have even heard of it) and the response and coverage thereof is far larger than any actual complaint. See: Super Bowl Nipplegate.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
amen! nice post!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There's a difference between victims pointing out an injustice and people who spend their lives trying to look like victims by assuming the worst possible intent of every action committed by someone else.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is the best post I've read by you. Excellent!

Blogger Unknown said...
"Back in 2000, Nike pulled an ad that showed Olympic runner Suzy Hamilton escaping a chainsaw-wielding killer...some feminist groups actually believed that the ad was a gross display of violence against women."

But if it was a male runner, all would be OK? And these people claim they're after gender equality? Honestly, if women want to complain about violence being committed against them, they should lose the right to vote and hold a job.

Why is it that a woman's idea of gender equality is getting all the special priveliges that men get, while still getting treated in a special way because they're female?

Blogger Shiv said...
What happened to the Suzy Hamilton ad was a shame.

The Hyperdunk ad? Not so much. Has anyone even TRIED to justify the "Punks jump up" reference (as explained by TrueHoop)? If that isn't blatantly homophobic on the part of the people who came up with the ad, then it's an attempt to cash in on the homophobic sentiments of consumers. And that's the problem.

But, as "silly bitch" pointed out, maybe the fact that no furor has been kicked up about the race of the dunker and dunkee is a sign of progress.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
now that the ads are down, i can officially buy Nike products again. Maybe I'll consider becoming gay, too

Blogger Basketbawful said...
nick -- Well, you know me...I'm a mad, mad dreamer.

justins -- Yeah, you're right. For a big corporation, it's easier to give in than deal with a PR nightmare.

joe -- Agreed. Although I still think there has to be a certain amount of sensitivity and understanding regarding how certain words/phrases/actions/etc. are interpreted. I just think that the focus is far to wide right now.

shrugz -- Agreed.

alex -- Yes, I know what you mean. The thing is, the woman who got so riled over Fat Princess chose to do so (I believe) because it's a sore subject for her. yet why is she so choosy? Why not blast Super Mario Brothers for its poor treatment of Italian Americans as well as its atrocious human/mushroom relations? Why not criticize Metal Gear Solid for portraying caucasian males as merciless killing machines? Where does it stop?

cw -- Yes. Must. Kill.

victor -- An excellent point.

anonymous #2 -- Total agreement about the Lebron/Gisele Vogue cover. That uproar was stupid on so many levels.

reuben -- Sadly, I don't think the people complaining want to understand...although the Vinsanity dunk should make them thing...

shimmy -- But see, I disagree with your statement that: "Some of those Hyperdunk captions were plainly, plainly, PLAINLY rooted in homophobic soil." I polled a gay friend who plays basketball, and he forwarded it on to several of his gay friends. None of them got a homophobic vibe from the ads. Ergo, I simply can't agree that the ads were "plainly" or "obviously" rooted in homophobia. Otherwise, you would think that gay men -- who I would assume have been, at one point or another, victimized in some manner due to their sexual preference -- would have picked up on that. Right?

michael -- You're right. Big corporations have bigger worries than we do, no question.

brlblog -- Well, sometimes you do hear that. I remember that Kevin Smith took heavy hits because his "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" movie had gay jokes in it, and even more recently "Iron Man" took heat because Gweneth Paltrow's character wasn't "strong enough."

rainbow brite -- Thank you very much. Much love back.

silly bitch -- Heh. Believe it or not, I've heard that criticism about the ads too.

chone -- Yeah, but nobody complains when you teabag a French guy.

rhybread -- You can't please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. But you can piss them off.

alex -- Yeah, the white Christians have become a popular target. Just ask them.

phenomenal cosmic power -- You know, every good thing has to be balanced out by a negative thing. The Internet has given us tons and tons of free porn, but it has also greatly increased peoples' ability to become outraged. Alas.

jeremy sexton -- Unfortunately, I doubt any company is willing to take the chance of losing money.

mydougie -- Yeah, that is sad.

stephanie g -- I sincerely hope that you don't think that's what I was suggesting.

josh -- Yes.

matthew -- Funny you should mention taht. At the time, there was as similar ad featuring a white dude in Nikes getting chased by angry gladiators. Only he actually got caught...not because of his shoes, but because he slipped or something, and the inference was that the gladiators killed or injured him (there was off-camera commotion to suggest this). Oddly, nobody protested this actual, real violence against a white male.

shiv -- Regarding the "Punks jump up" line. While that line was, indeed, used in a rap song with powerful anti-gay lyrics, it also pre-dates that song and has been used in countless other instances in ways that are not anti-gay. I seriously doubt that the line was used in reference to that song. In fact, the marketers might very well have been unaware of it.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I am SO thrilled that my vocabulary has been expanded incrementally with "retrofuck jackholery!"

This was a great column, but I think you missed two things:
1) This phenomenon is the result of the current "shouting head" information culture combined with the fact that any idiot with a computer has a soapbox. Consequently, pretty much any issue gets somebody hyperbolically raging. In fact, it is a direct result of the blogging phenomenon--the best way to get attention is to be extreme, right? Nobody wants a nuanced intellectual treatise, they want "retrofuck jackholery." And, of course, the news cycle feeding frenzy just amplifies everything.

2) Corporations have yet to pick up on the fact that 10 people shouting in outrage in a country of 300 million is completely meaningless. Seriously, Nike should just make a quickie assessment: it cost X dollars to make this ad, are they likely to lose X dollars from people pissed off at Nike? Given the subtlety of the offense (if any), the answer is probably not. And, fact is, the only reason it made the news (I heard it on talk radio yesterday am) is that Nike capitulated. Had they just completely ignored it, nobody but those ten people would ever have been heard. Fact is, the corporations like Nike lend such charges credence when they cave in.

Then again, maybe Nike knows that it has an old and very real grudge against it from a lot of people who consider their use of de facto slave labor in various Asian countries repellent. So maybe stuff like this is Nike cynically trying to prove to the world how sensitive they are, and essentially getting free advertising to do so. Viewed in that light, perhaps the "OMGZ NO HOMOPHOBIC!" morons are doing Nike a huge PR favor.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can actually see some of the fuss about the chainsaw ads. Fact is, most horror movies are quite sexist. If you don't get what is sexist about the main victims of the dismemberment set being scantily clad sexy young women, you're actually fairly clueless (not you bawful, just a generic "you"). After all, in this society violence against women outweighs violence against men by several fold.

Is an ad riffing on that offensive? Meh. Poor taste, yes. Offensive, I don't know.

Blogger Cortez said...
"If something as lame as Fat Princess might create 'a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes,'"

No most of us already "hate" fat broads anyway.

"...then the GTA games should have already transformed most of us into solitary gangsters who play by our own rules while car-jacking and killing just for kicks. In which case -- BLAM!! -- we should all be dead right now."

It hasn't? I just swiped a sweet ass Trans-am this morning.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Here's my simple take on it, which should get all the whiners saying its homophobic to STFU.

The ad said "that aint right" cuz nobody wants UNINVITED genitals in their face.(Male or female) If you get beat so bad off the dribble or on a contested blocked shot that your opponent dunks in your face with their crotch directly over it, that's an insult cuz its a nasty, sweaty CROTCH that you didn't want there.

Look at it this way, all you homophobia whiners, I would be disgusted if the person dunking on me like that was a man, just as much as I would be disgusted if Rebecca Lobo or Tina Thompson or whoever did it. The humiliation factor in the ads wasn't because it was a man's crotch and the world's straight men fear penises, it was cuz they got DUNKED ON with a crotch to the face as the added injury.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, I'm a gamer, a feminist, and an NBA fan, so I'm sorta like the trifecta here. :-) My take:

Re: the feminist gamer thing. I think a lot of people don't get that women are a HUGELY increasing market for video games. Yet we aren't being catered to at all. This is like... OK imagine all they had on TV was 100 channels of Lifetime movies, and TV decided to expand to the guy market. You wouldn't feel like you had to be happy with what there was. You'd be like, WTF. Do a better job selling to me! I'm 50% of the market! And you would probably get vocal about it. Yet as a female gamer when someone disagrees with me (and there is a great example of this in this very thread!), I'm often told my opinion doesn't count because I must be fat (no), ugly (no), and need to get laid (happily cohabitating, thanks). It gets old. How often does this type of thing happen to you guys who are white, heterosexual men? Not often, I bet. That's privilege. (Male privilege checklist-- these are sorta eye opening. I've done the white privilege one.) It basically means don't have to think about this stuff, because it doesn't affect you. And then you get offended by people who are offended, because you don't understand where they're coming from.

So, to get back on topic, why was it smart to pull that Suzy Hamilton ad? 1) There's a test I like to do, in which you replace the woman with a man and see if the humor/point still works. This fails, therefore it's sexist. Yeah, yeah, but it's a parody.... it's still sexist. 2) Who are they marketing to? As a woman who runs, here's what I'm thinking. I weigh 110 pounds and working out is one of the few things in my life that makes me feel physically powerful. I would suspect many women feel the same way, and so if they're trying to market to women the ad totally backfires. Because I want to feel strong when I work out, not like a victim.

Re: this comment-- “At the time, there was as similar ad featuring a white dude in Nikes getting chased by angry gladiators. Only he actually got caught...not because of his shoes, but because he slipped or something, and the inference was that the gladiators killed or injured him. Oddly, nobody protested this actual, real violence against a white male.” I don't believe you can equate the two. And hopefully what I said above explains why I think that.

Sorry for the long-windedness-- just trying to explain the perspective of one of “those people who are always getting offended.”

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Holy cow. While I confess that I'm intrigued by the idea of Jessica Alba ramming her crotch into my face regardless of the circumstances, I still insist that my rationale for my aversion to being crotch-rammed in general stems from the nearly universal unpleasantness of being rammed in any fasion. It's not a gay thing.

More to the point, what offends me is the subtext that white men can't jump. Couldn't both of these guys been black/white/mexican/polynesian/midgets? How come nobody's whining about this?

Blogger koberulz said...
"see if the humor/point still works. This fails, therefore it's sexist. Yeah, yeah, but it's a parody.... it's still sexist"

"I don't believe you can equate the two. And hopefully what I said above explains why I think that."

But the argument was about violence being perpetrated against women. So your argument is invalid.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
ticktock6 -- You say: "Yet as a female gamer when someone disagrees with me (and there is a great example of this in this very thread!), I'm often told my opinion doesn't count because I must be fat (no), ugly (no), and need to get laid (happily cohabitating, thanks). It gets old. How often does this type of thing happen to you guys who are white, heterosexual men?"

Uh...have you read some of the things people have said about me, a white hetero male, in response to the things I've said that they've disagreed with? I've been called fat, stupid, jealous, sex-deprived...and those are some of the nicer things that have been said. Hell, I've literally gotten death threats. The fact is, when you say something that some crazy disagrees with, chances are that crazy is going to make assumptions and attack you in a stereotypical way...regardless of your race, gender, or whatever. It's just that they may use your race/gender/whatever to attack you, but they will attack you all the same.

Oh, and it happens often. Trust me.

I think your formula simplifies the subject way too much and it replaces thoughtful interpretation with a metric that doesn't take many factors into account. For instance, in what way did the Hamilton commercial "promote" or "perpetuate" violence against women? I don't think that any normal human being could have possibly seen that and thought, "Okay, I must kill women!" even on the most subconscious level possible. And for the record, the whole point of that ad was that the woman was NOT a victim...and could not be metaphorically victimized because of her fitness.

As for equating the Hamilton ad to the male/gladiator ad...why is it okay to openly promote a violent ad about a male? Why is that okay?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Just another few notes on sexism. Here's a response to the Male Privilege Checklist and a counterpart to it...The Female Privilege Checklist. I have posted these and made the above comments not to minimize the various issues and plights that women face. But one thing that really bothers me when such subjects are brought up is how men, particularly white men, are portrayed as just coasting through life, easy as you please. And while there are always rousing scores of opposition against anti-woman sexism, whether real or perceived, anti-man sexism is seen as "okay" and is even becoming the norm.

To wit: There was a commercial that came out a year or so ago where a bunch of women were discussing what to do to a cheating boyfriend. This, of course, presupposes that men cheat and women do not, no? Anyway, they imagined a variety of scenarios which included, but was not limited to, him being electrocuted, a piano being dropped on him, and a golf ball being hit in his genitals.

Now, let's apply the metric of "Replace the man with a woman" and ask, is it still funny? Or how about, was it really funny to begin with? If you are anti-sexism, you should have been against this commercial. But I sure didn't see or hear of any complaints...and I looked.

Hell, even regarding the Suzy Hamilton ad, the killer was a white male. In fact, in most movies, TV shows, etc., seriel killers are usually portrayed as white males. That's sexism on a grand scale, don't you think? What are these people trying to say...that ALL white males are heartless psychopaths?

Sexism doesn't begin and end with the female gender.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
CLarification: I wouldn't be happy with that cheating women ad either. I'm not really a fan of any ad that relies on a gender stereotype (I roll my eyes at the husbands sneaking off to their underground lair to drink beers too) because I think it's being lazy. The fact is that most of us don't really act like that. The men are often portrayed as simple minded babies in these "haha we made a gender joke!" ads, and that's not OK either. I mean, what woman would marry someone who was a big baby? If you can't drink a beer together, then why are you together?

Maybe why we feel differently is I don't see that ad (Nike) being so much about violence against women. I see it as "Oh woo, the woman is portrayed as a victim, I haven't seen THAT 500 times before." Because *I* think it simplifies the argument to say that "people don't kill people because we see it in movies/games so it has no effect on the real world". Just... in my experience sports equipment for men isn't usually associated with victimhood. Now maybe in the ad SHE isn't being a victim, but the idea is still there sort of lurking... I personally want to think we as a society are moving past the token woman screaming and having to be rescued in movies. For instance, in the last bunch of superhero movies the female roles have improved (the token black guy is still outta luck, though, so we have a ways to go).

I guess this is sort of what irks me about the junk in the face ads-- yes, they're funny on a certain level. I mean, no one wants sweaty junk in their face, even I daresay gay athletes being posterized. But also on a certain level you are reminded of how SOME guys who are homophobic might react, and that puts a shade on it that makes me uncomfortable in the same way I feel uncomfortable being reminded of women victims in movies. Though strangely your man love posts are the highlight of my day, probably because of the captions... and honestly it's the captions in the Nike ads that make me feel like something iffy is lurking. "That ain't right." Yeah, he means being dunked on, but you know certain people will interpret it as he also means...

But hey, you knew this opinion was going to be controversial when you said it. So props for saying it. I hope nobody's called you fat or told you you live in your mom's basement. :-)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
ticktock6 -- I'm under the gun due to a deadline at my Clark Kent job, but thank you very much for expressing your opinions...which aren't that far off of mine.

And for the record, I have been accused of obesity and cohabitation with the spiders in my parents basement many, many times. ;)

Blogger koberulz said...
"I personally want to think we as a society are moving past the token woman screaming and having to be rescued in movies."

Yet when a woman is portrayed as being able to save herself (even if only because of the shoes she was wearing), you still have a problem with it?

Surely it's also sexist to avoid showing females as victims? If the world was truly free of sexism, no-one would give a damn about a female victim anymore than a male one.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
it sums up as this:

everyone's uptight

no one can take a joke anymore

you might as well have unidentifable stick figures doing commercials to avoid offending people

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Great post man. I've been without internet for a couple days and I missed this site.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, I WILL point out that 95% of violent crime is committed by men. So at least THAT one is not an unreasonable stereotype.

I'm sort of with Ticktock on this. I find all ads that rely on stereotypes to be a bit pathetic. It's basically one of the lowest forms of humor.

None of which says that I'd be likely to gripe about it while watching it, much less send an email to Nike or write a blog/rant. It's just not that big a deal.

And even though I didn't like the chainsaw ad, I see this one as an even greater stretch. If you've played hoops, or any sport really, you understand the humiliation of being totally owned in the game. Given that they are selling basketball shoes, NATURALLY they illustrate the greatest ownage of basketball, right? Sure, some nimrods out there will consider it extra bad because some dude's junk is in your face. Whatever. Those same guys call their friends "fag" when they didn't grab a beer for them last time they were in the fridge. DO we really let them dictate the level of discussion in our society? I say not.

As for women/chainsaws, the reason the ad worked is because women are always cast as sexy victims in horror movies. In this one, she is such a good runner, that she's no victim. Well, that's fine and straightforward. I think the problem people have is that the genre is so inherently sexist. Again, not that I fuss much about that ad.

Fact is, the ad industry will do virtually anything to get your attention. And let's look at some positive trends (well, sort of. Maybe?). Used to be that beer ads were almost all hot, scantily clad chicks standing around while a slightly dorky looking guy drinks beer. Often they admire him. That's sort of a Neanderthal model, isn't it? Now almost all beer ads have some tricky joke, and a small number of them feature hot women, and rarely are they central to the ad if they are there. From a sexism POV, that's a big improvement, right?

And I've probably wasted much more time thing about this than it could possibly warrant.... :(

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To Basketbawful and the many readers and comment-ers on this entry:

Thank you for the intelligent discussions regarding this ad and other issues behind it. Weather you agree or not to what people have said, this site has a lot more intelligent input that what is usually found in the world wide web today. Most comments found on other sites seem to be made by 5th graders but here to my surprise, comments have been rational and intelligent.

and all this time my main purpose of this site was for the toilet humor. go figure.

Blogger ChrisH said...
the real tragedy is that these ads getting pulled have distracted us from a truly great commercial pulled for similar reasons.

here it is

Blogger Unknown said...
i saw this post last week but didn't have time at work to respond. good comments too.

when i saw the pic, i didn't think of the gay aspect that others saw. i thought it was funny because they're using the stereotype of the white guy getting dunked on by the black guy. doesn't happen too often the other way around right? i didn't see anything wrong with it and did find it funny. i guess it's because i'm neither black or white. what actually offended me more is some community health ad on the subway stations here in Boston. it has 2 asian guys going after a basketball. the ad is not stereotyping anything but it's showing both guys with open smiles, arms outstretched in opposite direction trying to grab the ball (i guess supposedly a rebound). as a baller, you know that's not how you rebound. you know people who are going up for a board isn't going to smile like that even if you're rubbing up against a hot girl guarding you. but after seeing it a few times, i chaulked that up to bad photography where the guy with the camera have probably never played bball in his lifetime before. he didn't mean to offend anyone. people need to look at the bigger picture.

people are too damn sensitive these days. that's why i found great humor in South Park where NO ONE is safe. race, gender, religion, nationality, weight, handicaps, etc are all subject to potty humor. you know what, that's fine with me. there's no ill intention behind it. if anything it's bringing the topics to the table. family guy and simpsons are in the same boat to some degree and no one has any problems with that on sunday night TV.

the nike chainsaw ad was great too. the person who came up with it i'm sure didn't mean to put down women and portray them as only victims. shouldn't women see it as empowerment?? they're able to outrun the usually tireless monster (who said it had to be a white guy?) because of their strength. that's what i take from the commercial. you can spin anything to make it look negative. maybe it's a sign of how our culture is evolving...everyone is more pessimistic these days and can only focus on the negatives.

onto movie examples, it's always the minority that know what, most of the time it's because the protagonist is caucasian. of course you are going to have a larger number of minority characters dying because they're not used as the story's main character. don't overanalyze it. blame the director or writer for not casting more minorities. look, i just watched Harold and Kumar part 2 and found it hilarious, even better than the first. they made fun of EVERYONE. and guess what, most of the characters died in that movie because the movie was focused on Harold and Kumar. my conclusion is that it's OK to raise awareness but people need to be less sensitive in general.

my girlfriend and i nearly got into an arguement during the ESPY's Best Moment. it came down to Great Sportsmanship, Central Washington Vs. Western Oregon Softball, Jon Lester's No-Hitter, Danica Patrick Wins. even as a crazed Red Sox fan, I said Lester shouldn't win because others have beaten cancer and come back for spectacular feats (Armstrong got him beat by far). Danica Patrick shouldn't win just because she won a friggin race. Yes, I understand it's tough for a woman to come out top in a all guy's sport/competition but others have won against adversity before. Jackie Robinson and Bill Russell received death threats for years when they were playing. This is nothing. I concluded the softball girls should win for great sportsmanship because you don't ever see an opponent volunteer to help the other team to complete their game winning play. my girlfriend was upset that i didn't pick Danica...for what...winning a race? if i ever become the first asian guy to win something, i don't want to be remembered because i'm asian. i want to remember because i friggin won the big dance. again, with equality, why should Danica get special treatment because she's a girl? it's a double edged sword. i can probably play in the WNBA (haha, that's stretching it) but you don't see me trying out.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
great blog. its like the article jemele hill wrote on espn about how lebrons cover on vogue magazine was racist.