Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of Dolce&Gabbana but maybe count to three or take a breath before you do that. I’d love to support Sir Elton and all of the other rich celebrities vowing to never wear Dolce&Gabbana again, but I can’t. I hate boycotts. I even hate them when I hate the boycott target though I don’t hate Dolce or Gabbana even if I hate much of what they said. I disagree with what they said though I still believe we live in a world in which the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and speech is a wonderful thing.
How long ago was it that DeJuis Charlie was the rage around social media? You remember that right? Journalists were slaughtered and the world wanted to stand up for free speech? Was that only for journalists? Only when it was speech against Muslims? Because, I mean, that’s funny, right?
And no. I’m not defending hate speech but I hardly think that two self-loathing gays talking about traditional marriage is hate speech. Think of those two gay guys as a product of their upbringing, their world. Think about two gay guys who were involved in a same-sex relationship for years saying that it’s ok to have sex with one another but that they should not be allowed to marry and/or have kids. Then feel sorry for them that they believe there is such a thing as a traditional family and that it would not include anything resembling them.
Life is tough for a self-loathing gay. Believe me. I’ve known a few, but a boycott is the wrong way to go, no matter how good it feels to stomp and scream about how ignorant someone is and feel all self-righteous and get people on your side. Guess what though? Has it changed anyone’s minds? I don’t think so. In fact, one of the D&G designers came back at Sir Elton calling him a fascist and is promoting his own boycott of Elton John boycott aided by hashtags and social media.
You have to love social media. There is an incredible power behind it. Elton John is throwing his hashtags around. Stefano Gabbana is throwing his around and what will come from it? Maybe we’ll find those girls that were taken in Nigeria? Remember them? #BringBackOurGirls?
Maybe Elton John was feeling himself a bit too much but there would have been better ways to draw attention to the silliness of two gay guys talking about traditional relationships. He should have invited them to go stuff a vagina and maybe even married one since they were such fans of traditional marriage. He could have come back with pictures of his two beautiful “synthetic” children that were a product of the love between Elton and his husband David Furnish.
He could have made it a teaching moment and spoken about all of the people living in parts of the world, including the U.S.A., who are being denied their equal rights because it isn’t just designers that feel that way but people who are actually being elected into office by people who believe those same things. That’s where it’s ugly.
There was such a powerful teaching moment here, a moment that could have become about advocacy, educating, raising awareness. He had the opportunity to choose his words and to choose words that would teach love, compassion, understanding. Instead, he engaged in a silly war of words and a boycott that, in the end, will do nothing. It won’t change the world. It won’t change policy. All it will do is feed Twitter and some tabloids until the next great story breaks.