Earlier this year, the Huffington Post linked to Crate and Barrel’s January 2013 catalogue. In it, two men sit at the table in their kitchen, clearly enjoying a romantic meal. The copy reads, “Spend a Saturday night at home, cooking together, dining together. Music, candlelight, and a good bottle of wine…” further emphasizing that the men are a couple. Though the Huffington Post found the inclusion of a gay couple in the advertisement noteworthy, Sunny Wan-Hsiu would likely call it more of the same. Rather than an unbiased, innocent inclusion of a gay couple, the advertisement is an example of deliberately using white, upper-middle-class gay men as “dream consumer[s]” who represent “expert…high-end taste.” The utilization of young, attractive, well-dressed white gay men, who are assumed to be arbiters of taste in a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion, is meant to code their luxurious kitchen (most pieces of which are available for sale) as luxe, tasteful, and high-end. Since Crate & Barrel is marketed mostly to women, this image can even be seen as mimicking the “gay best friend” phenomenon, in which straight women desire homosexual male friends, in part to help them improve their style.
“Crate & Barrel Features Gay Couple in ‘January Inspiration 2013’ Catalogue.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/crate-and-barrel-catalog-gay-couple_n_2434515.html. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
“January Inspiration 2013 .” http://www.crateandbarrel.com/Catalog/default.aspx?Catalog_name=7924_67937a23_ebfa984a&display_name=January%20Inspiration; page 65. Retrieved October 16, 2013.