Caught your son prancing around in your high heels one too many times? Toughen him up with karate lessons -- or so says an ad draft drawn up for RDCA Academy of Martial Arts, located in Key Biscayne, FL.
The two controversial ads feature a boy applying lipstick and trying on red high heels. The only copy on the ads is "Karate lessons", leaving the meaning of the ads open to interpretation by the viewer. But, the message seems pretty clear: make your son less girly by signing him up for macho karate lessons.
According to a phone interview with Michelle Zubizarreta, chief administrative officer of Zubi Advertising, the karate school is not a client of the agency, and that the agency "does not condone the subject matter." The ads, said Zubizarreta, were drawn up by a member of the agency's creative team, who is friends with someone at the karate school, as a pro-bono, "outside-of-the-box" idea — and not meant for public consumption yet. Given that part of the company's tagline on their website is "erasing stereotypes", Zubizarreta said, on the content of the ads: "I'm a little surprised, too." Zubizarreta also said that the ads have not been placed or bought by any media.
The RDCA Academy of Martial Arts also stated on their Facebook page that the ads have not been run or approved. The school did not return a phone call for comment at the time this post was published.
Still, where to start? Little boys trying on lipstick and high heels is completely normal, especially at an age when kids are just starting to learn about differences in gender. And squashing the femininity out of your son says nothing except that there's something wrong with being a girl. Not to mention -- what does this say about girls who take karate lessons?
Moms, please tell me you're as outraged by this idea as I am.
Correction: August 16, 2010:
A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Michelle Zubizarreta is the CEO of Zubi Advertisting. She is the chief administrative officer.