Two Men in Bed; and a Ride Share Service for Women Only
Y ou see an advertisement with a photograph showing two men in bed together, both wearing shirts. One man has his arm around the other man, who is holding his hand. Both appear to be having a good time listening to music.
Would you be offended?
Two Men in Bed
Would you be offended if the advertiser is Hilton Worldwide; and the advertisement ran in the June 2016 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine? Eric of Point Me To The Plane asked that question in this article; and the response has been overwhelming.
The American Family Association — which is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission” — uses a photograph of what used to be the Las Vegas Hilton hotel property to ask you to sign a petition urging Hilton Worldwide to “market responsibly by advertising in a more family friendly manner when marketing through mainstream media.”
Travel and Leisure isn’t a gay-specific magazine sent directly to homosexual’s homes. It’s a widely distributed mainstream publication that can be found in many public places such as doctors’ or auto repair waiting rooms.
If Hilton had advertised two men playing tennis, cards, or having lunch, that would have been reasonable. However, Hilton chose to make a cultural and social statement by purposely marketing the promotion of homosexuality to a large segment of the population who finds the idea of two men sleeping together unnatural and offensive.
So far, Hilton is defending its decision to promote homosexuality in the magazine and will likely take it further with other forms of mainstream media. Hilton said, “Hilton Worldwide is a global company of diverse cultures serving diverse guests…We are proud to depict and reflect our guest diversity in our advertising…”
A Ride Share Service for Women Only
Earlier this year, a married father of two children who moonlighted as an Uber driver was accused of a shooting rampage in Kalamazoo which occurred on the evening of Saturday, February 20, 2016 that left six people dead and two others wounded — and that is only one of many unfortunate reported incidents which has led to governments wanting for drivers of Uber and Lyft to be fingerprinted before granting them official permission to offer their services at locations such as airports.
“My wife drew my attention to a company called Chariot for Women (who may or may not have renamed themselves Safeher) a while back”, Edward Pizzarello wrote in this article at Pizza in Motion. “The concept is pretty straight-forward. They want to be a safer version of Uber. They announced they would only hire female drivers and only pick up female passengers as well as children age 13 and under. Drivers would be subject to a stringent background test which could be more stringent than big competitors in the space (it’s unclear exactly where Uber will end up on this issue given recent changes they’ve made in security and background checks).”
My first thought when reading about the ride share service for women was “What — men are not entitled to safe transportation?” If ride share services such as Uber and Lyft are not safe enough for women and children to use, then the issue should be to force them to be as safe as the aforementioned ride share service for women. That seems fairly straightforward to me…
…but with regard to the advertisement from Hilton Worldwide: the advertisement does not bother me. However, imagine if that advertisement showed a man and a woman doing the same thing, supposedly fully clothed — and was printed in a magazine in the 1940s; or the man was black and the woman was white twenty years ago.
The sexuality of a person — whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or otherwise — is the private business of that individual. What goes on behind closed doors between two or more people is none of my business. As long as the sexuality of a person is not forcibly flaunted in my face in an unsolicited manner, it does not matter to me.
The other question is one of barriers and taboos: the examples which I just presented all were once off limits to the point where everyone knew not to cross them; whereas they are widely — but not necessarily universally — accepted today. Will one gender who dresses as another be the next frontier, as is currently playing out in a controversial manner across the United States?
I personally believe that we should respect the barriers of individual people while ensuring that the rights of every person are not infringed upon unnecessarily — which is admittedly not an easy task. While there are people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, beliefs and nationalities who simply want to quietly and peacefully live their lives the way they prefer, there are others who will do what they can to push the limits and boundaries to advance an agenda for the purposes of awareness; and I do not believe that the advertisement from Hilton Worldwide perpetuates that. Is there really anything wrong with Hilton Worldwide letting homosexual people know that they are welcome as guests in their hotel and resort properties? I do not believe so…
…but could the people at Hilton Worldwide have conveyed the message of the lodging company reflecting diversity better in its advertising? Perhaps — but that question can only be answered subjectively…
Source: Hilton Worldwide.