Just like how Chamber describes The L Word as “a heteronormative show about homosexuals,” this recent Heinz Deli Mayonnaise commercial is a paradigm of the false depiction of gays in media based on heterosexual norms, desires, and family structures, though it has good intentions of increasing queer representation.
The scene begins with a little boy asking his “mum” for his lunch bag, which “strikes the straight viewer as comforting and familiar” since it is so relatable to everyday life (Chamber). However, the twist comes when “mum” is actually a lesbian man, and greets his daughter and partner in an overly feminine manner. This clearly replicates a “heterosexual romance,” and supports heteronormativity by assuming the family structure of a working father and a stay-at-home mother who takes care of the family. The producers are forcefully fitting all gays into the typical roles of what is considered a “normal” straight family in order to increase their acceptance among the predominantly straight audience. Analyzing further, the commercial’s stereotype of how a household mother and father should behave illustrates the reinforcement of the ingrained gender roles by the current media.
In addition, it is worthy to note that like Tsai suggests, the two gay men here are “white, upper-middle-class males,” which is commonly the most accepted type of queers as they are still ethnically, sexually, and economically superior. Though the commercial ends with a gay kiss hoping to desensitize the audience’s reaction to queers, it actually had the opposite effect when the producers agreed to ban the commercial after receiving homophobic responses.
Chambers, Samuel. “Heteronormativity and the L Word.” Trans. Array Reading the L Word: Outing Contemporary Television. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2006. 81-98. Print.
Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai. “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising.” Advertising & Society Review 11, no. 1. 2010.