The Gruen Transfer is an Australian show about advertising which dissects and analyzes the affects of advertising on the average human brain. As part of their show, they frequently issue challenges to agencies–create This Kind of advertisement. Sell this seemingly impossible-to-sell idea. This time around, it was make an ad about fat discrimination.
One entrant came up with an astonishing ad, and it is brutal to watch. (Click below for the link.)
You’ll find it here, and you’ll want to watch it with headphones, if you’re at work.
Basically: a series of nasty-looking people tell a series of racist jokes that will shock the breath out of you. The last joke is a fat joke. The ad asks the question: why isn’t sizeism and fat discrimination treated with the same level of outrage? You were horrified as you watched the litany of discriminatory racial jokes; why isn’t it considered just as fucked up to be prejudiced about someone’s size or weight, why isn’t it considered as wrong and morally reprehensible to make fat jokes as it is to make racist jokes?
That is a goddamn fine question. And I am embarrassed to say that it was a question that even I needed to be asked. I am a person who hates fat prejudice, who despises and loathes and rails against fat discrimination, who is sent into rages around fat hatred. And yet, I sat through the racist jokes and cringed and was horrified, but when the fat joke came, I am embarrassed to say that found myself resigned. Oh. A fat joke. Asshole.
I’m used to them. I’m inured to them. I’m angry when people make them, but not shocked, not surprised, not outraged the way I ought to be. And why aren’t I? Why aren’t all of us? Are we so resigned to the idea of fat prejudice? And how do we cut that shit out? Those are some more damn fine questions.
The ad is hard to watch, and makes its point with a slap in the face and a punch to the gut. At that link, after the ad you get the Gruen Transfer panelists discussing the ad, and the argument is that it goes too far to make its point. You get the feeling that the guy who argues most strenuously against the ad wants to say–though he never quite does–that fat discrimination does not ever quite reach the level of racism, and that the two cannot be compared in seriousness or moral reprehensibility. What do you guys think? Does the ad go too far? Does it not go far enough? Is it shock treatment, or just shocking? Tell me what you think.
Posted by jenfu