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Pro-family images: Portraits or 'poor traits'

by Jeremy Hooper

Profamquilt-1-2Dear opposition,

You know what we find so comically telling about your war against gay equality? That you all have such a childish need to highlight your anti-gay rights endeavors with stock photos of smiling heterosexual-headed families. All of your websites, all of your press materials -- they are covered with these types of photos. It's as if you all feel that if the reader does not see a clear illustration of just how f***ing wonderful it is to be straight, then they will run over to the gay side. And implicit in this is the idea that gay couples, the ones whose unions you are opposing on these websites, could never even hope to be as euphoric as opposite sex duos. It's kinda offensive.

But why do the "visionaries" who create your "pro-family" websites utilize such a tiny photo set? Well, we have our theories:

(1) In using such hetero-only imagery, you help your side re-frame the issue so that it seems the heterosexuals are the ones who have something to lose in these so-called "culture wars."

(2) By using the most wholesome portraits of family you can find, you instill it in the minds of readers that the anti-gay marriage side is the "good team." After all, they look so damn sweet. How could they possibly be mean-spirited?!?

(3) There was a clearance sale on All-American family stock photos, and so the choice is merely a fiscally responsible one.

(4) See 1& 2 again.

But going back to what we said in the beginning: Why is it that we say this photo-centric tactic is so telling? Well, because it is such an example of how your side operates with one collective strategy, with a seemingly shared brain! Consider the websites that our side uses to combat "pro-family rhetoric. Sure, we sometimes use smiling gay couples and queer families. But if you look at the websites and materials of our organized movement, you will see a whole slew of imagery. Activists rallying for equality. Historical figures who think typify our current fight. Celebrity supporters. Pride flags. Assorted iconography associated with our fight. Portraits of the children of gay couples who are tired of having legally estranged parents. Etc.

We don't have one overarching, collective theme, because we are not operating out of issue-muddying strategy. Our side is operating straight from the heart, employing all of the aspects that make up our fight. We don't have to resort to vague pictorials that have nothing to do with the situation at hand because we have a whole slew of photos that exemplify the injustices being waged against us! When we show a photo of a couple who is heartbroken over their mistreatment, there is raw emotion within. It's not a pair of models enjoying general happiness, but rather a pair of humans reeling from specific anguish! And when we show a 70-year-old gay couple who has finally had their union recognized in some way, we aren't faking the good spirits. We are instead giving you a portrait of pure human ecstasy, the only type that should have any connection with the marriage fight! For it is the gays, not the straights, who have mirth at stake!!

So 'mo foes, when you all put up a generic image that is apropos to nothing, it just shows us how disingenuous your fight truly is. If you were operating from a place of truth, we wouldn't even be able to address an issue like this. If you were following your own thoughts rather than "make straights look pristine, gays look unsavory" stratagem, the photographs would be too diverse for us to address them in a collective fashion. But clearly you are not working on your own accord. You have created a "protect the family from the gays" message, so as to mask the anti-gay discrimination and inequality that your are encouraging. Your photographic simplicity is just one more way you folks reveal your hand.


Good As You

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Your thoughts

Why not just cut out the middle man and show a penis in a vagina.

Posted by: Franc | Feb 8, 2008 4:59:25 PM

It is fortunate for us that one of the most powerful weapons of the anti-gays, the classic 'Anal sex is icky and dirty!' is an option most of them are forbidden from using by their own taboo against speaking of sexual anatomy.

Posted by: Suricou Raven | Feb 9, 2008 8:34:42 PM

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