Are lesbians hot? Of course. But that is not the issue.
When I saw the ad released by Canadian oil company Canada Oil Sands Community, I was pretty much convinced that it was a joke.
"Why are we getting our oil from countries that don't think lesbians are hot?" It concluded with apparent earnestness.
This is obviously problematic. Is that even a thing I need to say? I guess so if ads like this one are still being made.
On the one hand, this is the walking definition of objectifying women. I mean, you have got model-attractive women making out with each other in ad that's about the least sexy thing imaginable: the murder of Saudi women.
I get it, oil is a hot button issue, and Sands should be commended for openly discussing the hateful practices of their competitors in the middle east, but do they have to fetishize being a lesbian to do it? That's rhetorical, because CLEARLY the answer is no.
If the company really wanted to discuss the murder of straight and lesbian women in Saudi Arabia, making an earnest campaign calling attention to the mistreatment of women would have been plenty "shocking" enough. This one, another posted to their Facebook page, isn't bad at all:
The murder of innocent people and Saudi Arabia's issues with human rights in general is all the shock and awe we need.
Adding "sexy ladies" to the equation seems pretty gross.
Now to the more obvious issue: lesbians don't exist to be hot for you, Canada.
Lesbians are exactly like every other person on earth. That means that they are all absolutely unique.
Who a person loves isn't a choice they make to appear sexier to YOU.
What goes on in my bedroom has nothing to do with whether or not I think the rest of my countrymen will be titillated by it. It's about who I'm attracted to, period, end of sentence.
The company very quickly really it's mistake when lesbians around the world and their allies began to voice their totally valid criticisms.
A rep for the company posted this message to Facebook:
It's awesome that they made an apology, and one they seem to mean.
But it also underlines the issue of fetishization of lesbian women.
See, it isn't just a straight problem. A gay man himself had to admit to having erred with the creation of this campaign.
This would never happen to gay men. The ad would never be made. But because for so long the role of a woman has been one of a sexual objectification, putting "hot" lesbians on an add decrying murder in the middle east slipped through the cracks.
Lesbians are people.
To deny them their humanity and transform them into sex objects for your viewing pleasure alone sets us down a path that isn't that different from Saudi Arabia's at all.