Looking for rainbows? Try JC Penney! Turning their ads into teachable moments

“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.”

It is a rare occasion that I am able to really applaud the advertising efforts of a large company. However, JC Penny has made me proud in their use of same-sex couples in recent advertisements for mother’s day and father’s day. Even amid criticism and boycott for hiring gay actor Ellen DeGeneres to be their spokesperson, JC Penney has stepped up to the plate to let everyone know they have the right to freedom of expression and to love who they want.

JC Penney has also provided a fabulous teachable moment for sexuality education programs. As I have mentioned in past posts, media is a strong influence on people’s ideas about sexuality, and here we have an ad campaign that normalizes gay! Plus, interesting fact, according to Wikipedia (the most reliable source of info on the web, of course), JC Penney is based out of a small town just north of Dallas, TEXAS!

So, how can YOU use these ads as teachable moments? Here are some questions to prompt discussion:

  • Who do you see pictured here?
  • When you see these ads, what emotions come to mind?
  • What does this ad say about the meaning of family?
  • How do you think people react when they see an ad picturing same-sex couples?
  • What effect could this ad have on homophobia?

    “Creativity, oil paints, Freedom of Expression:
    You’ll often find Wendi, her partner, Maggie, and daughters elbow-deep in paint, clay or mosaics. “Even as babies, the girls toddled around in diapers, covered in paint,” said Wendi. They come from a long line of artists, which includes grandma Carolyn. Visiting her art studio in Greenbury, Texas is a favorite outing. And like any grandma, this one loves to bake – pottery, that is.”

Throughout your discussion, be sure to emphasize the message that relationships that are based on love and respect can be healthy, no matter who is in that relationship!

Lastly, JC Penney has already gotten a lot of heat because of their ads. Say thank you through this petition organized by Sum of Us and make sure they know to keep up the good work!

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