A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Regrettable Ad

Some time ago, Motte Brown offered a sneak preview of the new print magazine from Boundless. One ad in the forthcoming issue of the magazine caught my eye:



So, according to Boundless and Focus on the Family, bozos look a certain way. They look like the man in the picture above. In its effort to reach "twentysomethings," Focus and Family has clearly decided to use the kind of marketing and advertising techniques that one finds in secular publications.

What kind of image is Boundless really conveying when it does this? After all, men have been lectured by this organization not to get caught up in worldly ideas of beauty. Yet it has no compunction about using images to reinforce cultural stereotypes about men, stereotypes which arguably cannot be reconciled with a biblical attitude. Would it be excusable to market a book under the heading of avoiding "bimbos" or "loser chicks"? What kind of pictures of socially undesirable woman would one use in an ad for such a book?

Let me also say that I've gotten tired of beautiful, white models with clear complexions and a high degree of facial symmetry being used to represent everyday believers. Do we really need stock photos to reinforce the looks-obsessed norms of our culture? I suspect if I raised these kind of criticisms in another venue, I would be dismissed as "whiner" and a "sissy". So sorry to be a stickler about this, but an outfit that has made a practice of adjuring others to do a little soul-searching could stand to do some itself.

[A draft of this post was written many months ago but never published. I wanted the Boundless staff to have the opportunity to correct their publication, especially since some readers cautioned them about the ads. I, too, brought it to the attention of the staff, though my comments were not posted. However, as of this month, there is an animated GIF banner at the bottom of the main Boundless page which recycles the "bozo" ad.]

13 comments:

Mordecai Lament said...

And you know, it's nice to know that bozos look like, well, nerds. Wait... I am a nerd.

I want to get married again... why?

Kuya Kevin said...

I follow your blog and I enjoy reading your perspectives.

This time I think you are being overly critical (or overly sensitive, or both).

This guy obviously made himself up to look as goofy as possible. I'm not going to get wound up over a silly picture which was done as a joke.

Just my opinion.

Amir Larijani said...

I dunno Kuya...I think Anakin is correct here. Especially given that you are probably never going to see Boundless running certain stereotypes of women who are "losers".

While I was not offended at the Boundless pic--even though I am a little on the nerdy side myself--I also see the point Anakin is making here: at the end of the day, it's perfectly ok to pick on the appearances of the guys.

But can you imagine them showing a gal dressed like a slut and providing the label "skank"? Or a gal who is catastrophically obese, with the label "loser"?

Those are two types of women that Christian men generally avoid, but would you bet me that such pics would never end up on a magazine cover?

So yes, I'd say there is a double-standard.

Would I have raised an objection to the picture myself? I donno. But I can certainly see where one would have been offended.

Christina said...

But can you imagine them showing a gal dressed like a slut and providing the label "skank"? Or a gal who is catastrophically obese, with the label "loser"?

Lucky for you and anyone looking, they chose to portray a nerdy guy over the above =p It woulda been nice if they had just portrayed a "nerdy" girl...but American Pie kinda hyper glamatized nerdy girl.

I work in a company full of nerds and was friends with nerds all my life...

Luckily, even if they had no fashion sense, they didn't typically end up looking like "bozo".

and on the rare occassions they did, how they dressed was the least of their problems.

Anonymous said...

"American Pie kinda hyper glamatized [sic]nerdy girl"

Why is a practicing Christian referencing American Pie? Doesn't that movie reflect the opposite of Christian values? Let me guess: It's only a movie, right? Just like Maken talks up Sex and The City? It's all harmless, right?

Christina said...

Anon,

Do you get any more judgemental?

Yeah. I've seen American Pie. Once.

Did I like it? No. Did I want to see it? No.

Did I need to see it to know how they hyper-glamorized nerdy girls?

No.

As much as my friends like to claim I live under a rock, I don't. Where I haven't seen much of what THEY have seen, I'm still aware of some of the content. I didn't have to be a girl scout to know what little girls in tents do with flash lights.

Anonymous said...

You are just being overly critical, Anakin. He's just dressing himself up to be silly, you are too sensitive. Me and the rest of the church girls think you are yucky and the ad in Boundless is all in good fun.

Kuya Kevin?

Just my opinion.

Amir Larijani said...

Anonymous (November 7, 2008 10:48 AM): I'd say the single Christian men in the blogosphere think you're just a bitter broad--whom we would not date if you were the only woman left on earth.

Just remember, sweet pea: respect is a two-way street.

The Learner said...

Did I need to see it to know how they hyper-glamorized nerdy girls?

No


This is true Christina...I've never seen that movie (I guess I do live under a rock!)but references to it are around enough in the culture that I knew what you meant.

Me and the rest of the church girls think you are yucky and the ad in Boundless is all in good fun.

OK, this has to be a guy mocking what he thinks a "church girl" would say, right? Because if it's not it is a rather sad and, as Amir said, bitter thing to say.

Anonymous said...

Guys like kuya kevin and many other young pastors-in-training are so quick to defend women and attack men.

Kuya Kevin misses the entire point of the posting. His focus is on calling Anakin overly critical or overly sensitive.

Yes, all men are aggressive louts, not truly in God's service. But wait! Look at me! I'm a young pastor, go out with me! I ONLY see the woman's perspective.

Freud would have a blast tearing down these weak men. It's beyond tragic that they lead Christianity these days. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of Christian churches are havens for women, and repel men so effectively.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"Kuya Kevin misses the entire point of the posting. His focus is on calling Anakin overly critical or overly sensitive."

I disagree. I'd wager that Anakin, who supports an open discourse in the spirit of free speech would disagree with you too. He has humbly (at least eventually!) acknowledged when his criticism has been off-base (ie. Palin thread). And that's how we hone our povs here -- by critiquing each other's critiques. But when you respond to someone's critique by suggesting that their views are even more extreme that what they've expressed -- "all men are aggressive louts", "I only see the woman's perspective", well, it sounds like you just want this blog to be a mutual admiration society.

Christina said...

Are there 3 anonymous's now?

There's the rude male that likes to attack me.

There's the rude female that gets angry with the women being supportive and bitter towards the men for "attacking" women.

There's the sound and balanced one that maybe i've seen 3 comments from thus far? (BTW, loved the last comment on Anakin's most recent post)

This doesn't count Emarel, who signs his posts =p

catwoman said...

"Minus the rant, there was no motive for you to otherwise be conciliatory."

When it was clear that I was being impersonated, I went to your blog to clear up one thing from the impostor's post that was truly an embellishment -- that I unilaterally blame men, when in fact I have never taken a man bashing tack on any blog. Obviously, it was in vain, since you'd all drawn your conclusions.

By the way, Amir, here's another example from Anakin's blog ("A Regrettable Ad") where you went off half-cocked at an obvious "female impersonator":

"Anonymous
You are just being overly critical, Anakin. He's just dressing himself up to be silly, you are too sensitive. Me and the rest of the church girls think you are yucky and the ad in Boundless is all in good fun.

Kuya Kevin?

Just my opinion.

November 7, 2008 10:48 AM

Amir Larijani said...
Anonymous (November 7, 2008 10:48 AM): I'd say the single Christian men in the blogosphere think you're just a bitter broad--whom we would not date if you were the only woman left on earth.

Just remember, sweet pea: respect is a two-way street.

November 7, 2008 2:52 PM

The Learner said...
...Me and the rest of the church girls think you are yucky and the ad in Boundless is all in good fun.

OK, this has to be a guy mocking what he thinks a "church girl" would say, right?"

At least that time Learner got it.

You, Amir, see what you want to see. Especially when an opportunity presents itself to play the hero. Those who can't do, teach, those who can't teach, play.