So, Now My Beer is Gay and I’m Mad!
Anheuser-Busch’s use of a transvestite to sell beer is worth getting upset about, but not for the reasons you think.
On April 2, 2023, transvestite Dylan Mulvaney, a man who pretends to be a woman, released a promotional video for Bud Light beer. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, explained the move by writing that it “works with hundreds of influencers” to “authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points.”
Thank goodness for Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to “authentic” connections! Nothing puts me off my no-flavor beer faster than inauthenticity.
Conservative commentators and celebrities were quick to react. The musician Kid Rock posted a video in which he destroyed several cans of Bud Light with an AR-15 (oh, the humanity!). Anheuser-Busch is likely loving every minute of it.
Why would Anheuser-Busch hook up with the effeminate (and let’s face it, creepy) Dylan Mulveney to sell beer? The answer is, well, money. To get that money, Anheuser-Busch is banking on a few things that we won’t admit to ourselves.
We are Fragmented
One, we are now a highly fragmented society with a short attention span. Anheuser-Busch certainly has done some marketing research and aims to increase sales within a specific demographic. Think light beer-drinking metro-sexuals (who knew?). And Anheuser-Busch is betting that we are so riled up and unfocused, with today’s outrage replaced by tomorrow’s, that we will soon forget its tactics.
Two, Anheuser-Busch is hoping to provoke short-term anger and controversy. Why? Those who have a real stake in the company, the stockholders, make money when the stock price goes down and up. “Buy low and sell high” is the game on Wall Street, and no one makes money when a stock doesn’t move.
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Lastly, Anheuser-Busch controls 30% of the global beer market. If you get mad at Bud Light and in a fit of “I’ll show them!” march out to buy another beer, chances are that Anheuser-Busch still makes money. When Dylan Mulvaney slurps Bud Light, you see red. But the bigger picture, as Anheuser-Busch sees it, is green, noth’n but green.
And so what? What’s wrong with some guy who tries to pass himself off as Audrey Hepburn promoting a beverage that tries to pass itself off as beer? A lot is wrong with it, and it has little to do with beer or deviants like Dylan Mulvaney.
Once Upon a Time No More
Over the past eighty years, Americans have handed over their sense of self to companies and advertisers. Not so long ago, we shared a common Christian-based, relationship-centered American culture. Who you were was measured by what you did to and with others. Unhappily, we have traded in that once upon a time for an emotionally riled consumption-obsessed culture.
Our Christian-based folklore, with timeless stories we told ourselves to explain ourselves, has been replaced by commercial featurettes which tell us we are someone when we wear this or eat and drink that. If you ask corporate America what they think about this shift, they will say something like “I’m Loving It!”
So what’s to be done?
What is the Real Problem and What Can We Do About It?
First, understand the problem. Transvestites doing beer promotions are problematic but are not the problem. Allowing companies to dictate who we are, how we feel and what we “celebrate” is the problem.
Second, be less socially fragmented. Companies want us divided. Don’t do it. Charitably talk to people you may not like about things they may not like to hear — and be patient. Expect to meet folks who will loudly shout “I believe in science!” but go brain-dead mute if you ask them “What’s a woman?” We may have gotten into this mess over the last few years, but it’s going to take decades to get out.
Third, try not to get mad, but get moving. Remember, advertisers want to provoke you, don’t let them. Be calmer, less angry, and speak with reasoned intent to keep others listening. I’ve never tried to attract flies, be it with vinegar, honey or anything else, but I trust the proverb.
Lastly, and this is the hardest of all, opt-out. Understand that beer or hyper-transvestites are not the issues; they are symptoms. Culture is the issue, and we are letting advertisers strangle the life out of our Christian culture. Scroll less, buy less, read and pray more. The best way to beat the advertisers at their own game is by not playing.
Dr. Jeff Gardner holds an MA in history and a Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies. For over a decade, he has worked in media, writing and taking photographs for various publications and organizations across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. His work has been featured in numerous national and international publications and broadcasts. He teaches courses in media, culture and government at Regent University. You can reach him at jeffgardner.online.