JC Penney's Gay Fathers' Day Ad

Family Matters on 06.04.12
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Photo: JC Penney/Public Domain

While I may not have agreed with the removal of the term "Dad" from a parenting leaflet (it was done, apparently, to avoid insulting same sex couples), I do think that our culture needs to do a better job of accepting and celebrating all parents, regardless of their relationship status or sexual preference. 

So it's good news indeed that JC Penney - which was the target of a failed boycott attempt by Conservative campaigners who didn't like the company hiring openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson - has doubled down on the issue by releasing a catalog featuring a happy, modern and decidedly gay two-Dad family just in time for Fathers' Day. SheKnows has more on the JC Penney gay dad ad:

JCPenney has a striking picture of a family in their newest catalog. Two parents, two children, all laughing and having a good time. The unique thing about the family is that it features two dads - real-life couple Todd Koch and Cooper Smith and their two kids. The ad reads, “First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two." Many parents love the ad, but some feel that the retailer isn’t sincere and is simply using the ad as a way to gain customers.

Earlier this year, JCPenney became the unwitting target of the group One Million Moms when they hired gay actress Ellen DeGeneres to be their new spokesperson. The group, a division of the right-wing American Family Association, attempted a boycott of the popular retailer unless they rescinded their offer to Ellen. JCPenney stuck by their decision, the boycott failed to gain momentum and One Million Moms has been left behind.

Given the increasing normality of same sex parents, even and especially in conservative states, JC Penney can be pretty confident that this will not harm - and may well boost - their business. And while some have argued the ad is a little exploitative of a cause, I find that hard to swallow. After all, we see the heterosexual family unit exploited every day to sell clothes, food, vacations, cars and just about anything else. Surely it's just a true sign of equality that now the image of gay families is being commercially exploited too. 

Judge Not has always been (or should have been) the first rule of parenting. Maybe this ad will help hasten the day when people actually heed that rule. 

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Tags: Dad's Night