!! OMG, Please Explain: The NOH8 Campaign !!

Okay, so I’m probably going to get in a lot of trouble for this, and it’s certainly possible that I’m a complete idiot, but I do not understand this NOH8 campaign at all. You’ve seen these ads, in which luminaries running the gamut from Cindy McCain to Madison Hildebrand are photographed bearing the NOH8 stamp on their cheeks and duct tape over their mouths. The point is to show the range of people– gay, straight, and related to John McCain– who oppose California’s Proposition 8 and support same-sex marriage. Okay so that’s good!
What I don’t understand at all is the iconography of the photos. Why do they have tape over their mouths? What does tape-mouth have to do with anything? If they’re saying that they won’t be silenced anymore, or that they’re trying to speak out, shouldn’t they NOT have tape on their mouths? If they are trying to imply that they ARE being silenced… well, why? They’re not! They’re appearing in an advertisement! I’m so confused!
I’m sure there’s some kind of explanation for this, but even if there is, shouldn’t it be way more obvious? Or am I an idiot? Can someone please explain to me why these people have tape on their mouths?
(Whether or not these ads make any sense, I think we can all agree that The Real World’s Scott Herman has a sick body…)

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22 Comments on "OMG, Please Explain: The NOH8 Campaign"

  1. Unbelievable. I never expected to see this many people complaining about a pro-gay campaign, and on a very gay-friendly blog to boot.
    A friend of mine was lucky enough to get his photo taken for the NoH8 campaign in San Francisco. He is just an average Joe who wanted to be a part of a larger collective force fighting for gay equality. I think it’s awesome.
    If you don’t see the symbolism, you’re either not trying very hard or you’re just searching for something to bitch about.
    To those of you who haven’t even looked at the NoH8 site, there are plenty of not-so-attractive people with their photos taken in this manner. This project is much larger than “an Abercrombie ad” — quit being so shallow and stupid.

  2. The taped mouth?
    Simple: it’s a reminder of an old time of oppression and silencing: “the love that dare not speak its name.” Oscar Wilde’s concept. Remember him? He was imprisoned for being gay.
    Today, gay couples are virtually imprisoned/oppressed by a system that denies them equal treatment (inheritance, spousal rights, access to loved ones in hospital, and the other 1,100 rights accorded to married straight couples by virtue of a marriage certificate recognized by the state).
    The will of the people, expressed in the California constitution, requires a 2/3 vote to amend the constitution. Prop 8 had a vicious campaign (“gays are evil child molesters,” etc.) and got 53% of the vote. 66% was required.
    The will of the people was silenced.
    Get it now?

  3. wow you’re an idiot! the original creator of this site was better with his opinions.

  4. Couldn’t agree with you more. I think the whole thing is so uncreative, the photos are horrible, and it looks like the photoshop was done by my dog. SPARE me ever having to see another one of these photos again.

  5. Silent protest?
    This is just another another gay thing bonanza. It’s not about silent protest – they are just only for the modelling for X sake!
    These gay models will say “I’m a model for No H8. I love my profile… I’m hot. It’s a self expression etc”.
    But the idea of silent protest? They don’t care about it. Only good looking people were chosen to model… all for publicity – in the wrong direction.
    So what are those tape for??? So that people will identify if it’s an Abercrombie ad or not.

  6. It should be pretty simple…it is a form of silent protest.
    “but it’s not really silencing anyone”
    That’s not true…not at all. The passage of Prop 8 was a way for the majority to use voting to silence the demands for equality of the minority.
    Personally I’m quite sick of hearing different gays complain about the campaign for whatever reasons. Maybe those complaining gays should concentrate on something more productive. At least those involved in this campaign are involved in a form of silent protest…whether you agree with it/like it or not.

  7. The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest with the subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world.

  8. JLuke, if, as Gard says, the NOH8 website says the tape represents “voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world” I rest my case that it’s completely stupid. (And I have taken an art history class, thanks!)
    Legislation like Proposition 8 is obviously completely terrible and I hate it, but it’s not really silencing anyone– especially NOT people like Cindy McCain!
    Where was Cindy McCain when she could have made a difference? (i.e., during the Prop 8 vote.) Oh right– she wasn’t saying anything. Was it because someone had taped her mouth up? No! It’s because she didn’t feel like it!
    This ad campaign is proof of the fact that these people are not being silenced at all. They’re starring in an ad campaign at their own leisure! Who is silencing them, exactly?
    Look, Prop 8 outrages me as much as anyone, but I just think the ads are birdbrained and a little embarrassing– it’s pretty clear that it’s just a bunch of tossed together “edgy” imagery with about zero thought put into it. This is no SILENCE = DEATH, that’s for sure. And one more thing: notice how giant the photographer’s name is in the above photo? Just saying…

  9. I don’t know, I find it to be a very simple example of symbolism. It’s already been explained correctly several times, so I won’t delve deeper, but if you don’t see it, it’s probably because you lack an eye or mind for metaphorical symbolism. Maybe you should take an art history class?

  10. It’s a silent protest…hence the tape.

  11. I think the duct tape is excellent. I look at the whole iconography from several angles. The NOH8 represents the hate from such movements as prop 8. The duct tape depicts the silence that some of us have to suffer from being in the closet as well as such issues as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

  12. Its an excuse for d-list celebs to pander to the gay community and shallow fags to pretend that they are actually doing something to help with marriage equality without actually doing anything.
    Its all flash and no substance, just like everything gays seem to do these days…

  13. I like the campaign. Duct tape on the mouth not necessarily means someone is being silenced literally. The pictures are supposed to convey a message with images.
    Duct tape on the mouth to me represents a form of repression. Not being able to participate in society like everyone else. It is a form of silencing because Gays are a minority, and as a minority, the majority (straight) is deciding what they should or should not do.
    In this electoral sense, the majority can literally silence the vote and obliterate the rights of minorities.
    This is why the courts process by which gay marriage was temporarily legalized exists: because minorities cannot be fully protected in a democracy where the majority decides the fate of minorities.
    It is regrettable you don’t understand this and thus, fail to see the meaning of the visual message carried by the duct tape in the mouth.

  14. Seems a little counter intuitive to me

  15. Here here Bmad! I think the duct tape iconography is some misplaced carryover from the Silence = Death days…now it’s just idiots who think symbolic representations of silence and silencing automatically equal “egdy, gay, and political.”
    But at this point maybe the shorthand is so familiar it works…even though it’s stupid.

  16. You’re not alone in your confusion. Everybody’s wondering about the duct tape. Why isn’t it on the ring finger? What about over the heart? Every sensible inference has the opposite meaning of what they’re trying to get across, mainly:
    We Support Equality But Kept Silent When You Needed Us Most

  17. This is the dumbest ad campaign ever designed. The tape makes no sense, as Prop 8 actually caused us to FIND our voice and make a public stand. I think some dim gay men don’t think things through before designing public political statements (much like the “Day without a Gay” bullshit).

  18. I simply see it as no hate (NOH8) Speech (Tape). I actually like it.

  19. According to their website, the duct tape represents, “their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world”.

  20. According to their website, the duct tape represents, “their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world”.

  21. so no one should ever say anything lest it come out as hate? somehow i don’t think that’s what they were getting at.

  22. Hate makes its first appearance in the form of speech. People are quick to speak out in hate.
    Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Maybe we could all use a little more duct tape.

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