Last week, a Cadbury ad featuring the real-life couple Callum Sterling and Dale Moran went viral. In it, the two are featured as "sharers," or Cadbury Creme Egg consumers who share their treats. The way these two share? From one mouth, directly to the other
While the campaign was widely praised — I mean, did you see it, — there was certainly a bit of pushback. Some believed that it amounted to a fetishizing of queer people, while others said it was inappropriate as it had gone too far. All of this when sex has long been used, by all groups, to sell products or ideals; we've all heard the adage "sex sells." This was a double-standard that Sterling, who is a model and dancer, pointed out on his Instagram on Sunday.
"So it's ok when an advert sexualizes a [woman,] a Caucasian [woman] THIRTY SEVEN years ago even, to benefit the male gaze and make others feel inadequate if they do not live up to this beauty standard," Sterling wrote in a caption of a post. "But it's not okay, in 2021, to have an advert of a multi-racial (strike one) gay couple (Strike two) on your screens for 10 seconds (Strike three) eating/kissing/sexualized (strike four.)" The caption was to a video reportedly from 1984 where Lynda Carter was emerging from water in a bathing suit talking about how "moist, wet, and wonderful," a new Maybelline lipstick would make a woman's lips.
"Does anyone see how ridiculous this is?" he continued. "I'm so happy that [Dale] and I ended up being the faces for this moment as I've been in the dance industry for 11 years full time and let me tell you, THAT, alongside living in London as well as being an out queer and proud human is enough to make my skin so thick that I genuinely don't feel [one] ounce of hurt from any negative comments being put out into the world as a result of the advert."
"I"m super happy this all happened," he wrote. "The love we have received totally [outweights] the fear-based negative comments." Others have pointed out online, similarly, that ads have often sexualized women. Take a look at those old Hardees ads as a start.
"The only way for people to get used to it is to normalize it, and how else to normalize than by seeing it on your screens," Sterling continued. "And let’s be honest, I’m sure there would be half as many complaints if it was two ‘beautiful’ cisgendered hetero-looking Caucasian women. Get your act together world: y'all are as hypocritical and uneducated and bizarre as Donald Trump."