A reader forwarded this photo–taken on an iPhone!–that constitutes, apparently, a Verizon ad on the back of the current issue of Sports Illustrated:
Our reader writes:
Attached is a scan from the Verizon ad on the back of this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated. It is very sweet until you notice that the boy and girl are seated in a locker room, complete with tile floors and benches. How topical. How daring. How profoundly stupid.
This photo is of young children. But carry the concept forward to middle and high school.
We all know that there will be teenage boys who decide to feel a bit transgender-ish and walk into girls showers when being transgendered has nothing to do with it – but who in authority will be able to decide if the boy is transgendered or just extremely male-gendered? Think of the reports he will be able to give from his field trip – and think of the acute embarrassment the girls will suffer when explicit descriptions are passed around school. Further, consider how girls who have been molested will feel about having their locker rooms or rest rooms invaded by anyone with male parts, regardless of identity or orientation.
Clearly safe-spaces are appropriate to protect college students from malicious ideas but inappropriate to protect elementary through high-school students from creeps.
But let’s not be sexist – undoubtedly some girls who are more physically advanced than others will seek to shower with the high school boys in order to see the inevitable male physiological responses. (These are the same type who in our day dressed to show off as much as they could just to watch how transfixed we boys were.) For the few boys who may not respond or or who overly respond, embarrassment and humiliation are inevitable, and will be talked about for the rest of their days in school. For at least a few boys, particularly middle schoolers, real emotional trauma lasting for years is a likely outcome.
We parents know that one of our primary jobs is to keep our children from doing stupid stuff, as the Obama Administration might put it. This encourages stupid stuff, and the Administration is pushing it.
And you can’t tell me that there isn’t reasonable likelihood of more than just eye contact.
Verizon seems to be redefining the great AT&T slogan of “Reach out and touch someone.” Maybe Bill Clinton is already in charge of White House policy.
Heh. I suppose the ad could be ambiguous–maybe the boy and girl are looking at each other and saying, “I can’t believe those dopes think we’re going to take our clothes off.” But I don’t think that’s the right interpretation. This looks like one more instance of a company trying to be “edgy” by jumping mindlessly on the bandwagon of the day.
One more thing: I wrote about my own experience with a “liberated” locker room shower here.
UPDATE: Several readers questioned whether the ad was real, so our reader sent us this photo of last week’s SI, with the Verizon ad on the back cover:
Frankly, the way things are going, I don’t know why anyone would find the ad hard to believe.