HELP TAKE A BITE OUT OF INACCURATE INSULTS
Quiz time! What do Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog and Wanda Sykes have in common? As of today, they have all lent their voices to the Ad Council for public service announcements.
Since its inception during World War II, the Ad Council (formerly the War Advertising Council) has tackled forest fires, litter, neighborhood crime, wasted minds and drunk driving.
Wednesday, they unveiled a new set of PSAs to discourage teenagers from using the phrase “that’s so gay” as an all-purpose put-down. Among the celebrities supporting the initiative are Sykes and Hilary Duff (whom, you might remember, gave a shout-out to AfterEllen.com readers last June).
The campaign is centered around the website ThinkB4YouSpeak, where you can watch the PSAs by Duff and Sykes, get advice about how to tell people to knock it off when they use the phrase, and submit your own video. You can also sort through various words like “lesbos,” “dyke” and “queer” in the “Say What” section to discover their original meanings.
The three television PSAs are actually quite funny. In each of them, a few teenagers use the phrase “That’s so gay” to describe clothes, a statue and a curfew. And each time, a celebrity pops up to zing them. “That’s so teenage boy with a cheesy mustache,” Sykes says to a couple of guys in a pizza shop.
You can watch all three videos from the drop-down menu below.
In addition to the television spots, the Ad Council will also be airing their PSAs on the radio. Posters will be distributed to schools all over America — and just in time: New statistics show that nine out of 10 LGBT students have been the victim of harassment or threats at their schools in the last year.
Kevin Jennings, the founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), told the New York Times that this campaign was something he’s been dreaming of for 10 years.
“If you follow hateful language, you eventually get hurtful behavior,” he said. “The chain of events begins with kids learning it’s OK to disrespect people.”
My favorite part of the ThinkB4YourSpeak site is the Say Something Original section. Teenagers post other words or phrases that they’ll use to replace “so gay.”
Here are some of the best submissions so far:
That’s so your GPA.
That’s so 30-year-old living at home with your mom.
That’s so not fetch.
That’s so obsequious.
That’s so Dick Cheney.
Yesterday, VH1′s Best Week Ever asked what they could call gay, if it is now not politically correct to use the word for every old lame thing.
My suggestions: How about Ellen DeGeneres or Rachel Maddow or Melissa Etheridge or Sarah Paulson or Jane Lynch? Use it when talking about those ladies and we won’t have to eradicate the expression at all.
Perhaps eight years from now, a family will sit down to watch Tina Fey in a presidential debate. The mom will say she’s intelligent. The dad will say she’s attractive. The son will say that she’s clever.
And the little girl, having grown up hearing the phrase used properly, will employ the catch-all word for all of those things: Tina Fey, she will say, is just so gay.
— by StuntDouble