Rape culture isn’t a novelty

For the past 15 years, sexual assault advocacy and support has been a thread that has interwoven through my life. Because of this, I frequently have a trigger reaction when I read or see something. Case in point…

This morning, I received a piece of email from an agent wanting me to book an event. I opened it and found myself speechless. The more I read it, the more angry I became. And after a few minutes, anger turned to rage.

The headline of the email reads “Put It Where You Want It” and features a photo of a young man looking into the camera with his arm wrapped around a young woman. The young woman is wearing a t-shirt with the words “Put It Where You Want It” across her chest.

It’s not okay. Nothing about this is okay.
It isn’t funny. It isn’t a clever play on words.

There’s no way a copy writer could innocently write “Put it where you want it” and not understand the sexual connotations that goes with it. This wasn’t an innocent mistake. This was done to appeal to young men. This was done maliciously, with no respect to women. 

This is a nasty tag line that says that men have the right and ability to do what they want with whomever they want.
It’s objectifying.
It’s offensive.

It’s promoting rape culture. Cutting Edge Productions is promoting rape culture.

You can  see it for yourself on their website (which I’m very hesitant to link to but will do for empirical evidence) – click this with fury.

The worst part? On their website, “Cutting Edge Productions Inc., The Leader In Novelty Entertainment” uses the following tagline:

Top Novelty Variety Events and Health and Wellness Events Available Nationally

How can a company that promotes health and wellness even start to joke about rape culture?

I asked myself if I was overreacting to this, but I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not. We all have a responsibility to promote a culture of consent, to call out rape culture and those who promote it.

I’m asking my friends who book novelty events to not do business with a company that objectifies women, mocks survivor’s experiences and creates a culture where men are encouraged to take advantage of women. I’m asking you to publicly help me tell CEP Inc. this is not okay. Forward this blog to them. Tell them why its not okay. Tell them you have more respect for women than this.

I’m asking my friends to actively create a culture of consent, understanding we each play a role in ending sexual violence.

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Rape culture isn’t a novelty

9 thoughts on “Rape culture isn’t a novelty

  1. Ugh. I don’t like this at all.
    This speaks to a larger issue about how novelty companies take “Educational Programming” as an idea ENTIRELY too lightly for my taste…but not now.
    Sharing in your anger about this…irresponsible and thoughtless. They’re not getting our money.

  2. I wonder about the professionals who left positive testimonials on their site about this event in particular… and whether they made that connection at all, or breezed by it.

  3. Reblogged this on The Dedicated Amateur and commented:
    In a field crowded with competitors, there are agencies and talents taking things to extremes to grab attention. Let me be clear, I’m of the belief that this is the wrong kind of attention. Imagine this advertisement reaching the hands of not an adult advocate with more fully formed coping skills, but a student leader still struggling to come to terms with his or her own experience with sexual assault. This is upsetting, for the seeming thoughtlessness that was given to creating it, and for the extremes CEP seems to feel are necessary to get business. Nope. Read on for my friend Jason’s far more eloquent take on the matter.

  4. I’ll preface this comment with “you know me and what I actively stand for.” I’ll also say, I’m not really going to get into this one too much, because of my take on it relative to what I see and what your reaction is.

    I’m not 100% convinced that this is anything more than a shitty ad that we may be projecting our sensitivities onto, thereby finding connotations that were not intended, but are an unfortunate product of mixing bad copy with a terrible photo.

    But, like I said, I’m not going to go deeper than that. You may be right, and your rage is well placed if you are, but I’m not sure enough to condemn anything more than a clueless review process for their creative.

    1. I grappled with the same thought, Gordon.
      But it isn’t that its just bad copy with a terrible photo – its irresponsible copy, messaging and photography.

      Maybe I’m overly sensitive on this subject, but my heart goes out to my family, friends and students who are still dealing with this subject. It’s triggering. It’s dangerous.

      And I feel a personal responsibility to call this out.

      1. Totally call it out. Irresponsible would be a good word for it, if the people approving the ad have an IQ higher than brain dead. If they don’t, however, it falls in the realm of sheer cluelessness, which from a philosophical standpoint, is a bit different.

        SHIT. STOP MAKING ME WANT TO WRITE THINGS.

        Fight the good fight, as always. I gotcha back.

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