Hilary Duff

The Ad Where Hilary Duff Ends Homophobia Lives In My Brain Rent-Free

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Things That Live In My Brain Rent-Free is a column where writers discuss the things they’ll never move past, and will happily bring up at parties and dinner gatherings for the rest of their lives. 

Now, you don’t need me to tell you, but just in case you forgot, Hilary Duff is a ’00s legend.

From her Oscar-worthy acting displayed in Lizzie McGuire, her unforgettable choreography in the ‘With Love’ live performances, and her multi-octave range displayed in that one scene from Raise Your Voice, there were many moments in the ’00s where Hilary Duff was the culture that we lived and breathed. 

But today, I would like to bring your attention to a lesser-known aspect of Hilary Duff’s career and that’s her stint in commercials. While Hilary has done commercials for most things you can think of, her best (and the most iconic of them all) is her performance in the ‘Think Before You Speak’ campaign. 

“Knock It Off”: Hilary Duff Ends Homophobia

This campaign started in 2008 and was developed to raise awareness of the common use of derogatory vocabulary towards the LGBTQIA+ community in America. This campaign also featured an ad starring the incredible Wanda Sykes, but it’s Hilary’s that lives in my brain rent-free. 

Hilary Duff

In the advertisement, two regular people are shopping and going about their day when one of them asks the other for advice. “Do you like this top?”, one questions the other, and then their friend replies, “It’s so gay.” Now, it’s at this point that Hilary Duff, aka the Disney Channel legend, fashion icon, and general queen of pop culture, notices the red flag and stomps on in to give her two cents. OK, queen!

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff interjects by saying, “You know, you really shouldn’t say that.” And she’s right, they shouldn’t have said that. “(You shouldn’t) say that’s something’s ‘gay’, when you mean it’s ‘bad’. It’s insulting.” Ohhhhhhh, tea Ms Duff. The tea is exceptionally good today.

She then ends the ad with the voiceover “When you say that something’s ‘gay’, do you realise what you say? Knock it off.” Honestly, do yourself a favour and watch the 30-second clip below. It’ll make your day.

Now, I must say, as a queer person, I honestly do feel that society has (to some extent) denormalised using “gay” as an insult. When I was in school it felt that most inanimate objects were gay at one point or another. But, I’m glad this has started to be phased out. 

Hilary Duff

Me to homophobes.

Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that Hilary Duff single-handedly ended homophobia. But, I will say, that this ad was very impactful and for that, it lives in my brain rent-free. Thank you, Hilary.