Michael Adams

Diesel-powered Ageism

Filed By Michael Adams | May 05, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: ageism, Diesel shoes, foot fetish, older men, sneakers

In case you were wondering whether ageism is really that big a deal in our society, take a look at the Diesel ad in the latest issue of GQ Magazine. I'm not talking about the good-looking guy who is sporting a pair of Diesel sneakers. Good-looking men wearing over-priced product are a dime a dozen in GQ.

Instead, what caught my eye is the older man who is groveling on the floor in front of the young, sexy model. Our aging sneaker slave is desperately biting at the boy-toy's foot. For good measure, the model is holding the older man's neck down on the floor with his other foot. Check it out.


If there were many older men gracing the pages of GQ, the Diesel ad might be dismissed as somebody's harmless idea of a kinky intergenerational foot fetish. But lo and behold - when I flipped through the rest of the magazine there was nobody else who was even close to the age of the groveling old man in the Diesel ad. How can a whole generation of people be relegated to invisibility, or worse, to objects of humiliation for the young?

Personally, I won't be buying a pair of Diesel sneakers anytime soon. But the reality is that the problem of ageism extends well beyond this one ad into every nook and cranny of society, LGBT or otherwise.

In our own community, where are the positive images of aging and older people? When was the last time you went on an LGBT website or picked up an LGBT magazine and saw plentiful images of the older people who were the pioneers of our community? Given that the demographics of the country say that we're getting older by the day, that we're awash in an exciting "silver tsunami," where are they?

Why am I complaining? Just look down at the feet of the Diesel model.

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SammySeattle | May 5, 2009 6:17 PM

The guy on the floor probably paid big money for that treatment.

Now, now, don't be self-conscious. Some twink will gladly take that old man's place.

I'm just surprised GQ put such kind of ad there. Not a single ad titillating to gay men of their age demographic, and then the only ad that shows some semblance of homoeroticism is coupled with humilitation?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 5, 2009 10:55 PM

Michael, I think you should understand, the whole message is that they (this group)do not respect themselves so how should they respect anyone else or be respected by anyone else.

All three parties, the model, the face down on the floor and the disembodied legs do not suggest anyone is being "respected." And as you can tell by the comments above neither ageism or good taste are priorities...sadly.

tobyhannabill | May 6, 2009 2:31 AM

As a man who is only months away from 50 I am starting to believe that we do this to ourselves. I recently returned to college to obtain a degree and I will admit that I am fascinated by the average age of the student on my campus, twenty seven (It's a community college). But I have never accepted any of the offers (proud to say there have been a few) that I have received.
Unfortunately, none of these offers are coming from the other 40 plus year olds on the campus with me. Maybe Bilerico should show some of the hot men 40 - 60 that are out there and seeking the same. I would submit a photo.

As someone who is admirer of men aged 40-50ish, I say hear hear to that suggestion!

It is not just in the ad. We have it here. Witness the references to Larry Kramer in comments about Eric Leven's article, cranky old man.

As one of the people who called Larry a cranky old man, I stand by it and don't feel like it's ageism. When he goes off on his rants - which really are ageist - he really sounds like a cranky old man.

That's not something I'd say about Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader or any number of my elders who have something more to say than how great it was back in the day and how young people today suck.

I don't know, I think it's hot.

I saw that ad on a billboard at our mall. In Indiana. Seriously. I thought WTF when I saw it then.

Great first post, Michael! :)

How can a whole generation of people be relegated to invisibility, or worse, to objects of humiliation for the young?

The entire add is suppose to be about objectification. This is nothing new to half the population be them lez/straight/young/old of women regarding any add campaign.

Personally, I have never understood why Diesel didn't focus more on dyke marketing. Now THAT would be HOT!

It's like the inside joke when any dyke wears the Deisel label.

Is this a serious post? I suggest you explore the type of guy commonly into this foot/sneaker fetish. You'll find the selection of models is spot on (in the case of the model it would be a dream score). Ageism?

Plus, per the Creative Director William Das:

"There are no messages, themes or commentary to understand. Our objective is to intrigue and provoke a thought."

I'm sorry, but older white men in this society have power and privilege unparalleled by any other group, even if they're gay. In this situation, which suggests some sort of cash-for-kink scenario, I have a hard time feeling bad for client. Rent boys are NOT the ones with power in these scenarios...

This reminds me of Ani Difranco's "Letter to a John" in a way. As in "I want you to pay me for my beauty, I think it's only right. I have been paying for it all of my life." But maybe I'm reading into it.

That ad is beautifully staged and beautifully photographed. I don't think it is selling degradation. It is selling sneakers by confronting us with a startling and disturbing image in a mock/sleaze/horror/David Lynch way. I think it is masterful in its execution but I know I am in the minority in my ability to focus on something as a work of art and not as a message with cultural/moral/social weight. We should all read Oscar Wilde's brilliant one page intro to The Picture of Dorian Gray for a much better statement of this stance.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 7, 2009 12:23 AM

Fr. Tony it is beautifully photographed and the message would have been far more powerful if the old man model at the feet of the boy model had been clutching a shiny knife rather than an tendon.

I agree that this is an issue facing both gay men and lesbians. It will be a growing problem as gayby boomers age. If you want to see some great images of older lesbians kissing, etc., look for a new film starring Sharon Gless, based on Claudia Allen's play, Hannah Free. See the trailer at www.hannahfree.com. This was a film shot in Chicago in November, it will premiere at Frameline in SF June 28 at the Castro Theatre. It will be at fests around the world. If we want our culture to reflect our age diversity, we need to create and support a much more varied picture of our community. Please support Hannah Free--great story, great acting, and wonderful lessons about a lifetime of love across six decades.

bigolpoofter | May 6, 2009 9:36 PM

Let's forget about the GQ ad for a minute and focus, instead, on the Otter Fashion ad on the far right panel of TBP, for it depicts the most common form of ageism in the Queer media, idolizing hairless, virtually pre-pubescent torsos over a realistic adult male form with some degree of body hair. Shame on TBP for touting body images such as this while fronting a conversation on ageism.

As a 64-yr old very out old man with serious attitude toward anything remotely degrading or insulting or offensive to gay people, I was going to write a scathing response to this ad. Then I read the comments. I have changed my mind...several times. I now think it's actually art....look how provocative it has been!

I think it's totally hot! I just wish I was the one under the model's feet!

I would want my dick to be rubbed by his feet.
I want to cum on his feet.I want his big toe inside my bumhole.

I would want to be his slave. I want my dick to be rubbed by his sexy feet. I want his big toe in my bumhole. I will do whatever he tells me to do amd obey at his erotic feet.