Not until the end of this Amazon Kindle commercial do we realize that it features a gay man. He seems to make a pass at the woman, proposing that they share a drink. But then he says that his husband is at the bar ordering them already.

Aspects of this video call to mind Hsui’s criticisms in “Assimilating the Queers,” in which she says that advertisements make viewers expect all gay men to be white, handsome, and upper middle class. We can tell that the man in this video earns a comfortable income in his ability to order a new Kindle immediately on his iPad.

It also calls to mind Chambers’s “Heteronormativity and The L Word,” which argues that The L Word is made acceptable to a heterosexual audience by giving them the sense that the gay characters in the show are similar in many ways to heterosexual viewers. One way is through the use of a usually heterosexual narrative. In the Kindle commercial, it’s the common situation of a man making a move on a woman who’s already taken. She firmly but indirectly deflects the man’s coming on to her. This sets us up to think that he’s straight.

Chambers, S. A. (2006). Heteronormativity and The L-Word. In K. Akass & J. McCabe (Eds), Reading The L Word: Outing contemporary television (p. 81-98). New York, NY: I.B. Tauris.

Tsai, W. S. (2010) Assimilating the queers: Representations of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender people in mainstream advertising.


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