Wednesday, February 22, 2006

You Don't Need To Be So Tough

[My disclaimer because it has youth in it: I'm putting this video up sincerely thinking that it doesn't have a sexual connotation.]

This video is a Norwegian public service announcement. At the end of it, it says "Du trenger ikke vaere sa toff" which means, "You Don't Need To Be So Tough" or more specifically it says, "You Don't Need To Be *That* Tough" (according to the author of the commercial - see comments below) and underneath the phone number, "Vi vil gjerne svare" means "We'll certainly answer".

I'm curious. Weigh in on this for me . . . What do you think about it?

23 comments:

Juliabohemian said...

I'm confused as to what the video is trying to communicate...That junior high aged boys shouldn't be afraid to ask other boys to dance? I understand that it isn't "pro-gay" but trying to promote acceptance. But, I think the possibility of that level of understanding is a huge leap for kids that age. They are the worst age, in fact. An ad like this would NEVER be shown on American television. Aside from the fact that it would be misunderstood. I think we are a long way away from being able to exercise that kind of open-mindedness.

I also think the commercial could have chosen a better and more appropriate title.

Jenny said...

My first reaction -- aww! It warmed my heart, at least.

To me, an ad like this portrays an idealized vision of reality. Obviously, there are very few junior high dances in the world where a boy would ask another boy to dance (either because he'd get the shit kicked out of him or he thinks he'd get the shit kicked out of him, usually the former). A spot like this is a visualization of the ideal.

The tag line is slightly confusing -- I wonder if there's an idiom within the phrase or something?

Zeke said...

I found myself thinking, "If I was 13 I'd have a serious crush on that chick."

Steve said...

This is the sort of thing I would have really loved when I was in my teens. The idea that revolutionary ideas can be acted out in small, gentle ways, and above all, the simplicity of it.

Of course it's utopian, but I think it could be good for gay guys that age to have it reduced down to this. There's no need for all the extraneous cultural baggage; for now, all they want is to be with another boy.

So what does the slogan mean? It could mean that if you're gay, you don't have to act like you're straight and butch all the time. That seems like wishful thinking, at least from what I remember. But taken along with the tagline that they'll always answer your call, I wonder if they're really saying you don't have to keep all these feelings bottled up inside and never tell anyone that you're gay, you don't know how to deal with that and other people, and so on. Maybe the dance scene is just there to draw in the target audience that needs that message.

Another idea I had is more of a stretch. Maybe the one who doesn't need to be so tough is the guy who gets approached by the gay boy. At least in the US, I'd expect him to really lash out at the gay boy. Maybe this is saying, hey, so what, this is just a boy who wants to dance with you. What's the harm in being friendly and dancing a song with him? Although, hey, the guy's sitting there with a girl already. That gay guy's pretty ballsy, come to think of it.

Anyway, it's a pretty cool ad. You'll never, ever see anything like it on American TV. Thanks for sharing it with us, Eric.

E said...

Finally got the video to load (it refused to do so on my work computer, which is rather unusual, but it came up just fine at home). I like the idea of not having to live in fear, though the thought that came to my mind was that it probably wasn't very realistic of the kid to approach an apparently straight boy who was already hanging out with a girl.

But that's probably just my inner pessimist, causing me to miss the point of the commercial entirely...

Eric said...

yeah, i agree that this would most likely not air anywhere here in the U.S. anytime soon.

but still, i think it gives us a vision of what could be - a direction for our society where all a junior high school kid, gay or straight, has to worry about is the anxiety of making the approach, getting the courage to get up, move across the room, and ask.

he could very well have gotten the crap beaten out of him anyway because the other kid was with someone else. but that's a "normal" risk to exploring social interaction.

i think that the added risk of being labeled a 'fag' and being condemned an outcast by the entire school is an anxiety kids shouldn't have to deal with. that's the kind of thing that drives kids to suicide. (i tried to end it all by my freshman year in high school). it's hard enough figuring out how to be a teenager and being socially cool.

getting beat up for making a move on someone else's girlfriend/boyfriend is one thing, but getting beat up for being who you are (during a time of life when you're still trying to figure out who you are) is another.

as for the message of the ad, considering the translations, i don't think Norway had all of my comments in mind. i think the ad is saying that the kid doesn't have to be so bold because he can call the help-line and they'll help him through stuff (like advising him not to ask a straight guy to dance). but whatever.

i prefer to see the ad without the ending statements and imagine what i would have wanted to say. perhaps something like:

"The worst he could do is say No."

Juliabohemian said...

Unfortunately, it ISN'T the worst he can do. Even straight kids are terrified of being labeled as gay at that age. It's like communism in the 1950's

Katarina said...

Since I come from and live in a country very close to Norway I will share my thoughts about the video. I don't speak Norwegian but I understand it.

I believe that the meaning is as follow:
If you're a gay kid who wants to talk to another gay kid, you don't have to ask someone for a dance, just call the talk line offered by the youth organisation for homosexuals. Asking someone for a dance is always risky, he or she might say no. The talk line is not going to say no.

I think the video is very well done. It's the kind of ad you will see on TV in any of the Scandinavian countries.

Anonymous said...

Juliabohemian said..."I think the possibility of that level of understanding is a huge leap for kids that age".

I disagree, I knew I was gay when I was 10. And fully grasped the implications of that by the time I was 12-13. Of course I didn't have and adults understanding of homosexuality, but what heterosexual 12 or 13 year old has an adult understanding of heterosexuality at that age. The point is that I knew I was physically AND emotionally attracted to boys and not girls in my earliest teens. I was capable of that kind of self knowledge even at that age. In fact my first serious crush was when I was 12 and it was on my best friend- of course another boy. Did I have the balls to act on my feelings? Did I, or would I have asked him to dance with me at the seventh grade dance? No of course not. In high school, however, my Sr.class president brought his boyfriend to the prom. Not only was he out but apparently he was unafraid. I, unfortunatly, had become ex-gay by this time- and that is another story.
Jaylen of San Diego

Anonymous said...

Ok you asked for what we thought about it.. so your up for hearing what you like to hear and what you dont maybe want to hear.

Its a commercial that shouldn't be aired.. All it does is convey that there are many guys who are confused about their sexuality..

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone ^_^ About that TV advertisment offering support to gay teens above, does anyone know the music playing in the background? I would be so grateful if anyone had any information at all about the song, artist or title. Thanks in advance guys!

Chas Ravndal said...

I saw it on tv here before and I love it. That's why I love Norway and Scandinavia and Europe for being so open-minded! Actually I am looking for this video so I can post it on my blog as well. I found it on Queerclick and then I found it here while searching for the bg song

Anonymous said...

Does anybody knows the song??? I want it...please....

Anonymous said...

hi, can anyone tell me the name of the song playing on the video, artist and title, please? i would really really appreciate it!

Morten Daae said...

I wrote this commercial years ago with three others as a part of an advertising workshop/competition. It didn't win, but was picked up by the Norwegian company Screenquest and filmed as a commercial for a gay youth helpline. When finishing the film I was called in to write a tagline. A more correct translation would be "You don't need to be *that* tough". We wanted to show the unthinkable action, to make the step to actually calling the helpline smaller in comparison. It was aired on "commercial-free" days at Christmas and Easter, where TV stations provide free screen time to non-profit organisation. It was actually first refused, citing that it "didn't fit with the family spirit of Christmas". Stupidly they put it in writing, so we raised hell - got radio, TV and newspaper coverage of it. Thereby tripling the coverage :-)

Eric said...

Wow Morten, that's awesome! Thanks for filling us in. Let us know if you've done anything else out there that we should see. Feel free to email me at twoworldcollision@yahoo.com.

Eric

Anonymous said...

Morten or Eric

Is there a link anywhere to a full version of the ad? For some reason I've only ever been able to see about half of it, here and on the linked site - the couple are still dancing when it stops...

thanks, Bom

Ben said...

Not only is that a beautiful way of showing that even if it dosent work you shouldnt have to be afraid to try, and that truly is so cute that really touched me...not in a paedo way:)

Anonymous said...

Firstly- that is so cute! Makes me want to hug the kid.. or pat him on the head (apparently boys aren't supposed to get hugs...)

I think it's just drawing attention to the helpline and saying that you don't need to be so brazen when there is an easier option.

As for saying "you shouldn't be afraid to ask any boy to dance if you're a boy"... as idealistic as that is, it would be very wrong. Its all very brave and all standing up for your beliefs and not forgetting who you are... but in reality,most high school kids are better off holding it on the inside and fitting in socially. If the environment was more accepting it would be a different story...

Nice music and very good acting. especially the facial expressions.

Anonymous said...

you konw..... I'm like the blond boy... you don'tknow how many times I tried to asked a boy to dance, but I'm not so strong for do it, I don't understand why we need to be so tough, because If we don't were so tough, all hate us, even our parents and I think that It's the worst thing that could happend to a boy... and konw I watch this ad and I want to ask to dance a boy =) but It just be in my dreams... in my dreams where I'm really happy

Anonymous said...

Hi, can anyone tell me the name of the song playing on the video, artist and title, please? Because I tried to find it out by myself but successless. Thank your for any information about...

Anonymous said...

I agree that the idea is not very realistic that a gay boy would approach an obviously straight boy and ask him to dance, but the message is promoting acceptance. All said, this add almost made me cry the first time I watched it and I have thus far lived by the message "Du trenger ikke være så tøff."

Carlos said...

Whats name this song?