I don't know about you, but I've always considered pasta to be gender-neutral. Pasta doesn't really care if you're male or female, gay or straight. Pasta just wants to give you some carbs and make you feel warm, fed, and slightly bloated for a while. Pasta is not picky. But one pasta company sure is. Italian pasta company Barilla likes to feature "traditional" families in its ads: One dad, one mom, and their kids. Coincidence? Nope. Barilla's chairman, Guido Barilla, recently spoke out about the choice and said it was deliberate. The gays can go eat some other brand of pasta.
Yes, he really did say that. Here is the quote, translated into English: "We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta. Everyone is free to do what they want, provided it doesn’t bother anyone else." Oh! Well. At least he believes in the right to choose someone else's pasta. I'm sure telling everyone you don't want gays to be seen eating your pasta doesn't bother anyone else at all.
Just to clarify, gays can eat Barilla. It's just that it's going to give them a sour stomach.
So that's kind of a shitty thing to say. I think we all know our idea of what a family looks like is changing. That's very rarely reflected in any advertising, and I don't expect a pasta company to be on the avant garde; but to make a point of avoiding gay families is kind of icky. Even if you're the kind of homophobic jerk who won't feature gay families in your ads, do you have to announce that to the world? Couldn't you keep that to yourself, you know, in the home, not out in public where it'll disgust people?
This is such a bummer, because I used to eat Barilla. But now, out of solidarity with my gay friends, I feel I must choose another pasta brand. Fortunately almost all the pasta at that price point tastes nearly identical, but still. I liked the blue box. Oh wait! Here's Guido Barilla with an apology!
With reference to statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they have hurt the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family.
Oh my God, I feel even worse now.
Does it bother you when food company owners talk about their politics or beliefs?
Image via moonlightbulb/Flickr