Growing up I always loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. For me it was a chance to catch a glimpse of NYC and see things I would never otherwise get to see. As a young adult I would normally sleep too late to watch it or be driving to one parent’s house or the other so I would miss it. When I had children of my own I decided it would be a fun way to spend Thanksgiving morning.
When my oldest was smaller, she couldn’t really pay attention to the whole parade. Last year she enjoyed it after I turned it on, but this year she was actually looking forward to it. We turned it on in time to catch the Broadway numbers that precede the arrival of the parade, which honestly is my favorite part. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the Kinky Boots number came on, but once it started I realized it was very innocent plus my girls loved the costumes. They were also very excited to see the number from Matilda and I was happy they were able to enjoy something they might not see otherwise.
Once the parade arrived in front of the flagship Macy’s for the NBC broadcast, I kept noticing an ad that was a bit irksome. I thought it was a fluke, as if they temporarily held a bad camera angle. I watched some more and realized it was every shot: as the parade turned the corner, a Victoria’s Secret billboard (above the store) was prominently displayed in each shot. So, next to the balloons and floats designed to delight little kids, was a billboard designed to delight, ahem, big kids.
Not cool, NBC.
The easy fix would have been for NBC to move the camera a bit so that ad was only partially shown or not shown in EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT. But somehow this escaped the show’s director? The real kicker here is that the ad was for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Which is broadcast on CBS.
Nicely played, CBS.
Obviously I have no problem with boobs. I mean, I have a couple. I used them to feed my children — a thing that is still taboo to do in public despite ads like the one in question being everywhere. My problem is that an ad meant to be “sexy” and objectifying was showcased next to things targeting young children, like Santa. To make such an ad commonplace aids in the desensitization of these images to our children obviously, but in this situation it’s just in bad taste and confusing. I am a mom to daughters. I really don’t want them to think it’s normal to just hang out in a bra in the middle of the street or that that is what other women do or that that is how they look. There is an appropriate place and time for those images. And it’s not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
But the thing that really gets to me about all this is the amount of folks who take no issue whatsoever with the terrible product placement. Their issue instead is with Kinky Boots performance. The claim is that THAT wasn’t appropriate for children.
After a brief Twitter exchange with her about the bra lady, I sent one of my pics to a popular blogger who was writing a post about the half naked woman. Some of the comments she has received on her blog and on her Facebook page in regards to “getting over” the Victoria’s Secret ad AND how Kinky Boots was inappropriate for families are very disheartening. ABC News even featured a piece about the Kinky Boots haters and their Twitter rants.
Children take their cues from us. I was watching the parade with my girls, so they know that the bra lady was out of place. We talked about it, but they had a sense for that anyway. But what if I hadn’t been watching? How many of us take the time to focus on something else when our kiddos are focusing on the television? What’s more is that I am pretty sure that NO child would take issue with the Kinky Boots performance had they not gotten the idea from an adult that there was an issue to be taken.
The bra thing was just a decision made in poor taste for a widely televised event by one particular network. It won’t damage anyone in the long run. But the Kinky Boots haters? That’s a problem. Take a cue from the kids: let love be your default, too. Men dressed in women’s clothes pose no threat to you, I promise. And if you know that already, be sure to stand up and be the light so others can learn from your positive example.