Jell-O is the gay dessert

From Chris Ambidge a few days ago, this reproduction of a Jell-O ad from roughly 50 years ago (now in a color version unearthed by Chris Hansen). Go gay with Jell-O today!

This was from a time before the ‘homosexual’ sense of gay spread into general use, when the relevant sense (from OED3, August 2010) was:

Of persons, their attributes, actions, etc.: light-hearted, carefree; manifesting, characterized by, or disposed to joy and mirth; exuberantly cheerful, merry; sportive.

Now of course we’re inclined to see double entendres in material like this, and people complain that homosexuals have “stolen” the word gay — though in fact all they/we did was introduce another sense of the word (well, really, another word), usually easily distinguishable in context from the one above. Then the usage above was contaminated for people who were offended by the mention of homosexuality.

Here’s another gay Jell-O ad, from the 3/5/45 issue of Life magazine:

7 Responses to “Jell-O is the gay dessert”

  1. Writing errors « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] Then just yesterday, posting on Jell-O ads (here), I repeatedly typed JELLO-O instead of JELL-O — including in the title of the posting, which [...]

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    For Jell-O enthusiasts, there’s a museum in LeRoy NY, birthplace of Jell-O. (Link from Emily Rizzo on Facebook.)

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Several Facebook posters have noted a connection between gay men and a childhood fondness for making Jell-O concoctions. So there’s a sense in which Jell-O is a gay dessert.

  4. Chris Ambidge Says:

    Illegible in my black-and-white rendering of the ad, but the coloured version has legible mouseprint at the bottom “Jell-O is a registered trademark in Canada owned by General Foods Ltd” — so that’s a *Canadian* gay Jell-O ad!

  5. More gaiety from the 1940s « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] More from Chris Ambidge, following up on Jell-O the gay dessert: [...]

  6. Gay Mother Goose « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] cock horse to Banbury Cross”. So this is solidly from the pre-gay-consciousness era, like the gay Jell-O and the gay Jester Wools. A [...]

  7. Vintage Gay Comics « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] “Jell-O is the gay dessert”, here) — and long before homosexuality could be mentioned or depicted in mainstream comics (though [...]

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