DAM! Advertising

Carrie Moyer and Sue Schaffner have a bone to pick with corporate America. In the constant flow of ads force-fed to consumers, where are the lesbians? Like everyone else, they buy stuff, travel and eat.

Eleven years ago, Moyer, a graphic designer, and Schaffner, a photographer, decided that if no company wanted to market to lesbians, they would do it themselves. Never mind that they weren't hawking a particular product. "We don't sell anything except our ideas," says Schaffner. "We're indoctrinating the world."

The women skimmed office supplies from their employers and created a Xeroxed poster campaign spoofing Gap ads. Up went images of lesbians all over New York City. "This was a time when there was a lot of outing happening," says Moyer. "And lesbians hadn't seen images of themselves on the street."

Dyke Action Machine! was born. Moyer and Schaffner soldiered on, moving into other media, including an Internet site for a fantasy lesbian television network, with a lineup that includes Leave Us the Beaver and OB-GYN: Going to the Doctor Never Felt Like This. Fake movie posters, postcards and matchbooks followed.

In tandem with a retrospective exhibit of their projects at DiverseWorks, DAM! is launching another campaign in Houston. Be on the lookout for their "S.U.V.=W.W.III" bumper stickers under your windshield wipers -- a project made to order for our city, home of few pedestrians.

Of course, environmental problems caused by gas-guzzling SUVs aren't typically considered a lesbian issue. "Like any ad agency," explains Schaffner, "we constantly have to evolve. Now we're becoming lesbian narrators, discussing issues that affect the entire world."

It's no coincidence that the bumper sticker may be perceived as a dig at our family values-loving, oil-worshiping commander-in-chief. "We know we're coming to the home of Enron and George's state," says Moyer. Maybe next they'll take the show to Washington and slap a sticker on the presidential limo.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cathy Matusow
Contact: Cathy Matusow