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Is Old Navy’s ‘Dress Like a Guy’ Commercial Anti-Gay?

old navy gay, old navy anti-gay, dress like a guy, old navy commercial, old navy pride shirts
Old Navy: Supar Tool

Fresh on the heels of promoting their Gay Pride shirts that confusingly aren’t actually for sale in 99% of their stores, Old Navy is continuing to muddle the waters between pro and anti-gay with a new commercial.

While Old Navy’s Dress Like a Guy commercial doesn’t explicitly say the men in question are gay, the assertion is right their on the surface. The long hair, the makeup, the designer underwear, and of course the loaded notion that real masculinity is draped in cargo shorts and t-shirts, not fur and linen.

To be completely frank, we’re so over this company’s missteps over the past several weeks. We were ecstatic that the LGBT community had found such a powerful ally in a juggernaut with over 1000 retail locations. Really, we were. But just like we expect our friends to not let us down repeatedly, how can we realistically call Old Navy an ally after they have dropped the damn gay ball over and over again just days after declaring to the world that they were picking it up in the first place?

Old Navy’s assertion that there is only one way to dress like a guy is especially insensitive and ill-timed considering the fact that it’s LGBT Pride month.

What do you think? Is Old Navy’s Dress Like a Guy commercial and campaign anti-gay?

  • Anonymous

    i like the concept…keeps your attention and i do not believe it stereotypes.  most attention getting marketing old navy has had sine carrie donovan!

  • Anonymous

    not anti gay in my opinion, but anti ridiculous often European designers and their advertisements lol

  • WHile I don’t like the ad, I don’t feel that its anti-gay at all.  Its a knock at “big time” lables like Calvin Klein who mostly do ads similar in fashion to the one they are mocking.  Old Navy has always been about super casual clothing not about cutting edge fashion like other labels are.  Its more along the lines of “be an everyday guy not one caught up in all the hype of primming to look good”.

  • I don’t think it is. I feel that it is, as previously mentioned, anti-backwards, uneccessary foreign words to make it sound expensive, “beautiful” people doing oddly suggestive things, rather than anti-gay. But that’s my long opinion.

  • As an employee, and gay man, I was let down to find out the pride shirts weren’t going on sale at all locations. Seattle is about an hour and a half away, and a little out of my way to go buy a T-shirt. In light of that I do feel that the corporation is letting down their consumers by not providing a desired product. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people requesting the shirts. Conversely as an employee I’ve never found a more inclusive place of work. This commercial is not homophobic, but reaches the market they appeal to. In the economy of today where fashion isn’t a priority for most people, old navy is providing an excuse to the consumer to purchase what some would consider “Average Clothes”. So to reach to the “Average guy” with this ad is useful by reaching a market that now has a new reason not to pay $95 for a shirt because those clothes are over the top, and they are simply “Dressing Like a Guy”. I might be slightly controversial in saying this but most of the gay men I am attracted to, do dress much more simply, and without pretense. 

  • gotta say…. doesn’t ring anti-gay to me, and i think they actually went above and beyond to make the guys look as “ungay” as they could and still maintain the euro-tool look. that being said…. and going completely against the commercial…. i want a pair of supar-tool boxer-briefs.   lol.   

  • I think it’s pretty funny actually. Being a gay male I can agree on the whole dress like a guy thing. Don’t dress like a woman and wonder why you’re constantly being bashed or hated on. Society as a whole simply is not ready for free gender expression.

  • Hallie Gammon

    I don’t know that it’s anti-gay, per se, but it’s definitely pro-stereotypical definitions of masculinity. I think inherent in the slogan is: “Dress like a [REAL] guy, not that guy.” And since most people assume that gender-nonconformity = gay, you could call this anti-gay. I don’t watch a lot of commercials, but the ones I do see have led me to believe that marketing is based almost entirely on stereotypes. I guess it makes sense — “demographic” is just a fancy word for “group we’re choosing to stereotype” — but it’s really upsetting when you think about the harm stereotypes do on a daily basis.

  • Anonymous

    LOL…if anything it’s making fun of the stupid commercials for designer clothing lines.  If you think wearing overpriced crap that is probably charged on an almost maxed out credit cards is gay then this is anti-gay…real people wear stuff they can afford.  And the guy in the commercial looks like a real douche IMHO.

  • ShowMeGuy

    Just enjoy the footage of sexy guys in random states of undress.
    Anti-gay? I don’t see it.  Let me watch it again while squinting my eyes and holding my head tilted to one side.
    .
    .
    .
    Nope, still don’t see it looking anti-gay.
    Anti-hipster, anti-eurotrash, anti-labelwhore…maybe.
    Anti-gay……still don’t see it.

  • I don’t think it’s anti-gay. Most of the men I know are gay, some are “simple clothes guys” and some are “high fashion”. This ad is made for the “simple clothes guy” the guy, gay or straight, that is fine wearing polo shirts and cargo shorts. I love “high fashion” and I love seeing men in it, but I have to admit that some of the ads really are over the top. 

  • I agree with most people that is not meant to be anti gay but I definately see where that could be interpreted. “Fashions for Homme” is just a little too much for me, I can see where that would be taken as an anti gay hit.

    Either way, it’s a really bad commercial. Just poorly written and produced.

  • Jonathan Long

    Not anti-gay… 

    Personally I think Unicornbooty writers have a tenancy to overreact to thinks they perceive to have an anti-gay connotation. As others have pointed out this is more anti-label whore than anti-gay. Old Navy is about the casual ‘what’s a label?’ side of fashion this commercial is just making fun of the other side of the fashion scale. 

  • This comment is dangerously close to saying people whole dress in a more “free gender” way deserve the hate they receive.

  • I would agree with a few of the quotes made previously stating that this advertisement seems more sexist than anti-gay. No clear attacks on homosexuality, but rather attacking the general nature for higher men’s fashion to be comparatively feminine. Of course often attacks on gender roles tread into the territory of sexuality, but I don’t really see that happening in this ad.

  • Thomas Baggett

    Yeah, I see this commercial as more of “anti-pretension” than anti-gay.  And I kind of agree with you, Jonathan, U.B. does have a tendency to automatically see the worst in what they examine.  I mean, it’s good to have a stalwart defender, I just hope that U.B. also gives a chance for redemption in (some) of what they see. 

    Not everything, just some things.  It isn’t always “us” against “them.”

    I still love you U.B.!

  • Peter Balistreri

    The truth ? If Old Navy had clothes like they just advertised in this ad. I would actually shop there,but they don’t. Instead they have “buy 4 piece  of shit shirts for $15″. I don’t want to dress like you think a man should dress”Old Navy” in fact if I needed advice on how to dress, I’d pick up a GQ mag or Vogue Umo…….because there’s men who are happy with grilled cheese and then theres men who love steak!

  • LP

    That’s the lamest piece of shit attempt to be funny and edgy like most modern commercials, targeting the “hip”, young, tech-savvy demographic, are trying to do. I would say this was a FAIL. I don’t agree with how they depict the common “tool” of our american society, I’ve seen a lot of tools quite frankly.. Have you seen that “reality” television show ‘Tool Academy’, projecting the image of one of those beefed up or extremely weak & pale with a spiked hair-do would have been more accurate. There are very obvious visuals that would trigger one to think he’s a homosexual male and playing with that fine line of human perception AND poorly slandering his ‘stereotype’ for humor at the same time is simply a dire risk to take. 

  • Some of your writers are pretty much the worst at having reasonable responses.

  • DP

    AS I often think when reading UB, get over yourself, not everything is anti-gay.  This commercial is anti over priced designer closet case clothes.  Gay men come in all shapes, sizes, colors etc… and guess what?  So do straight men and metrosexual men!

  • Michael B

    I don’t think this is anti-gay at all.  I think it pokes fun at a bizarre style of advertising made popular in the early ’90’s by companies like Calvin Klein where you weren’t sure what was being advertised.

  • Stanley J

    I read that Old Navy (forgot the parent co name) was going to have a line of “gay” T shirts.

    Went there  in our suburban  annapolis MD area.  True story – they said only in flagship stores -the really big ones in NYC and SFO

    So they are simply taking advantage of the marketing buzz, while not doing anything to help gays come out of the closet, which IMHO is more important then marriage – its hard to hate someone you know and respect.

    RE ON, IMHO, your are either with the gay community, or you are against it. the middle ground is not an option.

  • Trenton Flock

    It’s not anti-gay. It’s just pro-laziness. Dress like a guy who believes in quantity over quality. Dress like a guy who thinks that dressing in sweatshop manufactured slop is more masculine than a guy who actually crafts his outfits and cares about his appearance (though historically, the male of the species has never been bashful about being showy).

    Feh. I wouldn’t mop my floor with that shit.

  • we’ll never know unless someone asks for any to all truths behind it, but that whip cracking rly gets my attentions. +LIKE

  • Caleb Andrew Beal

    more sexist than anti-gay.

  • Toni-Lee Lorenzi

    NOT EVERYTHING IS ANTI-GAY! STFU!!! GET NEW WRITERS ALREADY!!!!

  • Tom Noir

    If any gay person takes this commercial as offensive or anti-gay is just being a whiny-ass. I’m gay, and the only offense I took, was that OLD NAVY would actually expect people to react by wanting to open their wallets at the stores. It’s a stupid commercial and only deserves being muted or having the channel changed.

  • Probably more than a LITTLE controversial, Jeremy, but I happen to agree.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in taking care of myself — within reason, no $100 facials every other week for me — but when it comes to my clothes, I prefer to dress simply.  Jeans or longer shorts and t-shirts, plus sandals or tennis shoes.  (Only label on my body is my Sketchers, and that’s a matter of comfort.)

    If I want to think about “high fashion”, I go look at what Gaga’s wearing today.  For everything else, casual is king.

  • “a guy who actually crafts his outfits”?  Are you advocating that we all go out, farm the cotton/silk/whatever, spin it into thread, and so on and so forth to make our own clothing?  Or are you saying that people who wear casual (t-shirts and jeans) clothing are hopelessly lazy and incapable of wearing clothing properly, based on what they prefer to dress in?

    Either way, I’m afraid you might be horribly misguided on this.  I care about my appearance within reason — but any time that it involves mani-pedis or $100 facials, I’ll pass.  Same for my clothing — I’m not rich, I don’t pretend to be, and I certainly don’t dress like I am.  I’m comfortable in jeans and t-shirts, and if that makes you think less of me for it?  That’s your loss, not mine.

  • Getting a bit tired of the constant “omg, are they anti-gay?!” panic coming from the UB offices lately.  Please keep the vitriol on our deserving enemies, and not on our erstwhile allies.  We don’t need to make more dedicated enemies than we already have.

  • nah… the Supar Tool guy was a fop, affected, self-obsessed, and oddly dressed.

    But he was also with a woman.  The only way we might think that he was gay was if we assume that being a fop, affected, self-obsessed, and oddly dressed are attributes of gay men.

  • Trenton Flock

    Uh. No.

    Casual is fine, but the ad implies that you are either one or the other (a prissy peacock or a real man) and to be a real man you should eschew any form of expression except the status quo (one that is sustained, in this case, by sweatshop child labor…how manly). I’m a starving artist myself. No mani-pedis for me. I rarely buy new clothing and I take care of what I own. What I do buy is good quality, versatile, and lasts for a long time. Quality over quantity. (And believe me…labels have little to do with quality, because many pricey labels are now using cheap labor in China and still charging artisan prices.) If anyone is passing judgment, it’s those who think that attention to one’s appearance is always a matter of vanity and ostentation rather than a show of respect to one’s self and others.

  • Anonymous

    LOL!  I thougth that was hilarious!  Definately NOT anti-gay … what were you guys thinking?

  • Kevin L. Cole-Meneses

    To me, they look like a bunch of Supär Tools.

  • I don’t particularly view the ad as anti-gay. It just seems to be more of a satire or parody against arguably “pretentious” Euro-centric fashion. Old Navy prides itself as a sort of “All American” type brand and with this notion comes the ideology or presumption that American fashion is generally absent of the exaggerated decadence that is characteristic of European high fashion. 
    While I find the ad somewhat amusing it is nonetheless confusing as it is making a parody of a total separate marketing demographics that have little in common with each other. People who can afford to buy from these high end typically European brands are generally not buying Old Navy. And at the same time somehow implies and insinuates that your average working class American has a fundamentally simplistic view of masculinity. Which then of course could travel into the existentialist discussion and debate on the relevance between gender roles versus sexuality but I fear this forum isn’t large enough for that. 😉   

  • David Campbell

    Come on!  This guy sure looks like a super tool, too me.  (And not the good kind.)

    I don’t think it’s anti-gay, at all.  I immediately went to “anti-Eurotrash” and “anti-pretentious clothing” than homophobia.

    Lighten up, guys.

  • Hugh Lygon

    I don’t think it’s an anti-gay commercial, but it definitely does perpetuate unfortunate gender role stereotypes.  Traditional gender roles debase everyone, not just men who happen to fall outside the “dress like a guy” category, but all other gender identities as well. 

    Not anti-gay, but definitely inappropriate. 

  • Not anti gay.

    I do agree that its got poor timing given their recent, but minor miss steps. But this ad isnt anti gay. its about juxtaposing  avante-guarde fashion and atitudes with its mainstream counterparts I could see a similar ad being written for girls. and I could see a similar ad being produced in the other direction.

  • Parent Compay GAP inc

  • Wilmarie Cintronmuniz

    I think this is more making fun of high fashion and supermodels and how unaccesible and sometimes silly that kind of dress can be. I don’t think this is anti-gay at all. Although considering the negative use of the word gay among the average male population, I wouldn’t be that surprised to the commercial is, “Dude, that’s so gay.” : /

  • seems pretty anti gay to me

  • Kim

    YOU ARE OVERREACTING!!!! This to me says don’t be a label whore, don’t be a douche, don’t wear axe body spray 🙂 Besides by saying this ad is ant-gay are you making the assumption that majority of gay men dress and act like the guy in the commercial. Should we assume that all gay men wear make up, fur, chains and carry lambs. Don’t be ridiculous. 

  • Kim

    not anti-gay

  • Personally I don’t find that commercial to be gay or anti-gay…I just find it really confusing. Though, I must say, it is much better produced than the commercials they put on the air for women’s clothes (which, other than the ones with hot shirtless guys, are just plain stupid and annoying).

    As a gay man, I wouldn’t want to be “that guy” either. The only thing in that commercial that I would want, would be the “house” and to have those abs.

  • Norman Bennett

    Anti-gay? No. just plain weird and a little creepy? Yes!  Good thing the guy was hot!

  •  Old navy is fat people clothing anyways. their 36″ jeans are actually 42″