Opinion

Social Media Is All Abuzz About That RC Cola Ad. It's Disgusting.

It once again stigmatizes the idea of adoption.
IMAGE YOUTUBE/RC COLA PHILIPPINES
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There’s a new ad that’s causing all sorts of commotion in social media. If you haven’t yet seen it, RC Cola just came out with an ad that’s inane, to put it mildly.

It starts with a young dark-skinned teen who arrives home from school, distraught. He asks his lighter complexioned mother if he is ampon. It descends into madness from there: He takes his shirt off and shows his back, which has four empty glasses stuck on it. His mother, in tears, also tells him that she herself is not normal, and pulls her head off to reveal she is really an RC Cola bottle. She then puts ice into the glasses stuck on her son’s back, literally pours herself into the said glasses. Her son closes his eyes, apparently to show that he’s enjoying the whole experience.

If that were not disturbingly distasteful enough, it ends with the entire family sipping from straws in the glasses on the kid’s back. Whether or not you have trypophobia, it will make you cringe.

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My first reaction wasn’t of appreciation for a supposedly unique and clever ad—it was of disgust.

But I’m not writing this short rant because I find the ad offensive. Seeing how social media is all abuzz about it, I understand that its effect on us all is, in the end, subjective.

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What I would like to focus on is how, to this day, the word ampon still comes with a stigma. I blame it on decades of shows portraying adopted kids as the kontrabida, on how adoption is carelessly thrown about as an excuse for someone’s horrible personality, or on hearing the same jokes where being adopted is the punchline. It’s still the same damaging obstacle every advocacy group hurdles through in its effort to give orphans a chance to have a family to call their own.

What’s worse is when you hear friends say, “I don’t think the joke is that bad.” Or, “you’re probably overthinking this.” Or worse, when they whisper among themselves, “he’s being oversensitive about it.”

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And all I can say to these people is, “Would you, yourself, consider adopting?”

They’d probably flippantly say "of course," but when they think about it, they most likely wouldn’t. You see, the stigma is already so deeply rooted in our society that the average person doesn’t even realize it's there anymore.

Decades of jokes, negative portrayals, and a history of shame is almost impossible to undo. And that’s the reason why we, who advocate for adoption, have to call out even the slightest of offenses. It's a struggle, but we keep on fighting. We keep on fighting for our children.

A boy who has four glasses stuck on his back, revealed to be adopted, may be funny to a lot of people; but to a real orphan, it’s another door shut to a family home of his own. 

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Alvi Siongco
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