Storm in a diaper?

By now most South Africans will have heard about the drama around the billboard in Cape Town depicting a toddler wearing a denim diaper, pouting suggestively under the headline: “Work it baby”. The ad was withdrawn after a complaint by a woman and some others, who said they found the ad inappropriate.

 I read the arguments several times, but just could not be persuaded that this was the right way to go. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the obvious issues raised by those who objected to the ad. The agency who produced the ad stated that they had tested the ad with focus groups, and not once did the issue of suggestive sexuality come up.

I think we are playing straight into the hands of the very monsters we claim the ad will arouse. Any father - okay any normal father - of daughters will tell you that at some stage of their development, somewhere around two, they start to display suggestive behaviour. They’d even go so far as lifting their skirts or showing of their privates after coming out of the bath, for example.

Any normal father also knows that there is absolutely nothing sexual about it. It’s happened to me several times and my daughters are just showing off for the sake of it. Even when they do modelling shows and dress up like two-dollar hookers, they have no clue of what it is they are supposed to be portraying. Sexuality does not factor into the equation at all. And as a father I instinctively know this and react accordingly.

That there are sick bastards who might find this kind of thing arousing, is unfortunately a fact of life. It was around when the Romans ruled and will probably be around when the dinosaurs return to rule the earth. Remember the Coppertone ad? The one where the little dog bites the little girl on the bum and pulls back her costume revealing her butt and showing the tan lines? How come I never heard complaints that that was suggestive?

A little toddler behaving like a little tart or a little drama queen really has nothing to do with sex, how could it? They don’t have a clue at age 2 or 3. When we as adults draw attention to it inappropriately, that’s when it becomes an issue. Should we withdraw lingerie ads because they will encourage rapists? Should we withdraw male underwear ads because they will encourage homosexuality?

As a father of 3 young daughters I personally found nothing wrong with that billboard and thought it was cute, until I read the article. In my opinion, when we allow the evil of others to cloud our own view, we have surrendered to their influence. I think the monsters won this round.

What do you think?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams
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