An Open Letter to Naegle Signs
Your numerous signs promoting the film Indecent Proposal are harmful to our society and a symptom of irresponsible business ethics. This sign pictures a headless woman lying in a pile of money almost naked. I know that your team of advertisers is capable of some very clever and even enjoyable creativity. However, this billboard reveals only an apparent aim to make money at the cost of spreading prurient interests. There are reasons why this kind of indecency is harmful.
1) For no good reason, it seems, you join the sex industry in stirring up erotic appetites that in our culture need no assistance, but if anything need some means of free and healthy abatement.
2) Making matters worse, the sign closest to my home is across the street from Elliot Park and just above the local Dairy Queen. This means that it is seen especially by the children who play in the park. What do you think this communicates to little inner city boys and girls where I live? Does it in any way help them to relate to each other in respectful and wholesome ways? Or does it help set the stage for seamy thoughts, crude language, belittling attitudes, and abusive behaviors? What possible good thing is being communicated to our sons and daughters by this sign?
3) Add to that the fact that there are children in our society who are already dysfunctionally obsessed with nudity, bathroom functions, and sexual anatomy. Parents are struggling to help them see that sexuality can be a healthy, God-given joy in marriage, while they try to overcome the jaded preoccupation with sex that degenerates into repulsive vulgarity which is void of beauty and tenderness and respect and commitment and love.
4) The fact that the almost nude woman in your sign has no head is typical of the sexual depersonalizing of women and the abuse of them as mere bodies to be exploited for the gratification of men who do not want to deal with a true woman who has a head with thought and moral conviction.
5) The fact that she is lying in money communicates that she is to be bought. Again she is a thing, not a person. Her body is like a Blizzard at the Dairy Queen—you buy it to create some temporary pleasure.
6) But if you are a young, insecure male who desperately wants to be strong and admired by his virile peers—and if you have no money to buy a desperate woman’s body—what do you do? That is, what trajectory does your sign give to this young man’s mind? This: “ If there are women who don’t mind having their picture made like that, and if she has no head anyway, and if her body is a pleasure to be bought, and if society (and Neagle executives) think it’s okay to show it at the Dairy Queen and to stir up my visceral appetites every day, then…” This sentence will be completed in a dozen destructive ways in our society.
7) Small and easy steps lead from saying it’s okay to advertise with an alluring, headless, woman’s body laying in a pile of money, to saying it’s okay to buy a woman’s body, to saying it’s okay to coerce a woman, to saying it’s okay to force a woman.
If you do not care about our neighborhoods and the greater issues of social justice and personal respectability and family stability and sexual wholesomeness, then at least think about your daughters. Do you want them to be thought of in this way? If not, why would you promote this sleazy mindset in thousands of men and boys in Minneapolis?
You have an important hand in shaping, as well as exploiting that tastes and standards of our community. You can do better, Naegle. We hope you will.
Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis
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