A Matter of Interpretation? - *Updated
. . .when will WHAT go out of style? AIDS? We have some words for ya' AFC, AIDS isn't a trend nor a fashion statement. It's an epidemic. I thought we had decided collectively to stop glamorizing the virus?
I, however, had a different take. By trends, I thought the campaign was clearly targeting behavior. In the first pic, there is a man presenting his bare back. Bare-backing is obviously the major cause of HIV infection. The second picture depicts an African-American male under a shadowed hood. I took this as a criticism of what is known as sex "on the down low." Keith Boykin and others have spoken out at length on this issue, and it's had quite a bit of media attention of late, including Oprah.
However, I'm mystified by the third image of the woman in heels. There is no obvious message or behavior I can associate with it. Juan insists I'm looking too deeply at all the images, that they simply refer to AIDS itself as a trend, and there's nothing more to it - especially given the description by the AFC.
I think there's more going on here, but I can't account for the third picture. I plan on calling the AFC to ask when their office reopens in the morning. Reader opinions?
Update - I just got off the phone with a very knowledgable, very nice miss from the development department at the AFC. In a nutshell, Juan is right and I am wrong. The readings I laid out above are entirely incidental to the images produced for the campaign. The pictures are intended to create a jarring disconnect between what is being presented (shallow, high-gloss fashion) and the tragedy of AIDS. Furthermore, the models depicted are from different demographics and have had their faces obscured in order to emphasize that HIV and AIDS affects everyone, regardless of identity.
The campaign is actually from two years ago and is currently being touched up for redistribution for clinics, educational materials, etc. The AFC is eager to know what you think of this campaign, and would very much appreciate your feedback.