I honestly didn’t think much about the Oreo cookie advertisement celebrating Gay Pride until I started reading all the negative press extending from it. I saw the ad; I thought it was a nice gesture. As always, some hate group would threaten a backlash. I suppose a person gets used to some form of protest, possibly even becomes desensitized to it. But then, a few days ago as I was reading through friends’ posts on my Facebook wall, I happened upon someone’s status update that read (in all caps): NABISCO FOODS: OREO…YOU DISAPPOINT ME…
I paused for a moment when I read the post, and I wondered if the writer was, indeed, referencing the Gay Pride ad. However, as I read through the comments to her post, I gathered that her other friends had assumed it was the Pride ad that had disappointed her so. She never responded to the post to clarify, but given the timeframe of the post, I’m relatively certain the ad triggered her Facebook reaction, which definitely surprised me. She and I had been friends in high school, and although we haven’t spoken much since then, aside from an occasional Facebook exchange, she had always seemed openminded and accepting. In retrospect, perhaps I was too assuming of her position.
For several days, her comment weighed heavily on my mind because I could not decide how to react to it: should I leave a negative comment on her post? Should I unfriend her? Should I just ignore it? I also waited because I didn’t want to let my anger or frustration be the driving force of what I had to say. My initial reaction to her post would have been a smarmy comment, taking a shot at her self-professed Christianity. I thought of writing “yes, how disappointing that a company would want to offer a gesture of support and acceptance to another group of human beings.” (I still may write that, actually.) But the more I considered it, the more I was uncertain about the best approach.
Then, today, as I was perusing my wall posts again, I saw that she had posted some new photos taken over the weekend. The pictures were of your typical family photos: her daughter riding her tricycle in the yard; she and her husband standing side by side, holding their infant while their two toddlers clung to their legs; pictures of her mother playing with the children on a swing. In all of the photos, my friend was smiling; her husband smiled. They seemed happy. They were a family. I was happy for her.
But then I felt disappointed; here she was proudly posting her photos of the family she had made over the last 12 or 15 years since I last saw her, but she feels so threatened by the possibility that I, too, might wish to have a family of my own that she objects to a rainbow colored cookie presented to show its support of me and other people like me. I don’t understand where the fear or the hatred comes from or how a gay person’s happiness would infringe upon what she has in these photos of her family.
I don’t care to get into a deeper analysis of her objection to the ad based on her (misguided) Christian principles, either. I’m just disappointed to discover that someone I’ve thought of as a friend since I was around 14 years old can make a 6 word post to Facebook that completely changes my perspective of her. Perhaps without even realizing it, she has alienated a friend, and all because of a photo of a cookie with 6 colored layers of cream filling. I wouldn’t deny her the opportunity to be happy, or the right to have a spouse or have children, but if she can’t even tolerate an ad for gay pride, then how could she ever tolerate me?