Saturday, 22nd November 2014

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Odel ad: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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There were mixed reactions from a section of the general public to the Odel jeans newspaper advertisement depicting two women holding hands in a compromising position giving a lesbian slant to the whole thing. While some felt it was harmless and just depicting a posture of two women as friends and not as lesbians, some felt it was provocative.

Ivo Keerthipala, a businessman cum rugby football sports director was of the strong view that any social tool that promotes blatantly or insidiously to influence society in a manner to engineer its own downfall isn’t acceptable.  And that today, society was being driven to destroying the very fabric of human civilization.

“Today, everybody seems to be bending backwards to be politically correct and to be so means to be saying yes to everything. This advertisement of two women in a rather suggestively compromising position tends to destroy the very foundation of human civilization. It isn’t a question of sexual preferences, but the question is if one promotes the abnormal as normal and normal behavior seems to be getting marginalized it goes against all norms of decency. And it seems kids growing up today reflect the same confusion that the society we live in promotes,” opined Keerthipala.
He also stated that in an age when there seems to be hardly any real role models for boys or girls, female heroines have taken over the roles of ex male heroes with gun and sword in hand and the metro male seemed uncertain whether to wear the apron or the cape.

“But the bottom line in society is that we should have rules and values that protects its survival. And you don’t have to be an Isaac Newton to work out that if women started living with women and men with men procreation will come to a halt and man too joining the endangered or extinct category will not be far off,” he concluded.

However, Richard de Soysa, a businessman and ex-rallying champion who edits the ‘Asia Digest’ bimonthly publication was of the opinion that ‘the advertisement is a very bold step in the Sri Lankan advertisement field.
“I believe it’s the entrepreneur Otara Gunawardena who would have wanted the advertisement. It is the type given the culture we are used to which is permissible. In society these things should be allowed. I have no issue with that type because the two women are not exposing anything. In fact it has a touch of class,” de Soysa said.

V. De Silva, an events management executive while observing that it was harmless, said, “When two men are portrayed in a position or pose such as this advertisement, it surely raises an eye brow because it could immediately come across as a ‘gay pose’. An individual’s sexual orientation, whether gay or lesbian is that person’s choice and he or she should have the freedom to be who they are and not try to adjust, just to fit into social demands and expectations. However, we have to be sensitive to our cultural values and beliefs when expressing our creativity in advertising. In this particular ODEL advertisement I don’t see the two women expressing themselves as lesbians. While the words ‘perfect pair’ may arouse curiosity, I see it perfectly natural for two women to pose in a position like this. Unlike men, women hug, warmly embrace and even hold hands with each other in public, and these are natural feminine expressions.”
Meanwhile, a leading Colombo beauty parlor woman proprietor, who preferred to stay anonymous because her comment could affect her business, was firm that the advertisement was in bad taste and not a healthy thing for today’s growing young generation.
“I feel it is very bad. Seeing it I felt so upset that it would influence today’s growing young generation on a new culture that goes totally against all cultural norms by diluting their minds,” she said.

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