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Okay, I am so craving both donut holes and Portland right now. Voodoo Doughnuts’ new panties are causing controversy, apparently: Bitch magazine rejected the Portland company’s ad for being sexist.

This kind of stuff brings up mixed feelings in me — it’s something that I struggled with a great deal when I was the editor of Nervy Girl, and I’m not sure it’s gotten any easier for me. Here’s why:

  • I am absolutely a feminist. It took me a long time to claim that term (or to re-claim it perhaps, since I considered myself a feminist in high school and then decided that I wasn’t for various reasons). I believe that all genders are equal (and I say all because I do think that gender, like sexuality, is a sliding scale with a lot of gray areas in both terms of biology and in terms of identification), and should be treated as such. No one should be put down for their gender (by the way, this, in my eyes, includes men — if one more “feminist” knocks a male just for being male, I might throw a serious hissy fit and then go kick some ass).
  • I have a sense of humor. It’s a dirty, sensual, sexual sense of humor. I like word play, wit and things that make me see things differently. I’m much less likely to look twice at an ad with just a naked body on it. An ad that says something smart and witty about sex or sexuality? I’m sold.
  • I like Bitch and other feminist and womenist magazines. I believe in what they’re doing and I want to support smart, thinking editorial about issues that matter to women (even if I don’t always agree with it).
  • I am a believer in freedom of speech. This, to me, extends to ads. Do I want to see ads with pro-life messages? No. But I still think they should be allowed. Cigarette ads, fast-food ads, sugary cereal ads, all that plastic shit that’s killing the earth one landfill space at a time, plastic surgery promotions, near-death skinny models that make women feel bad about themselves a hundred times a day: I don’t want to see any of these advertised, personally. But do I think they have a right to pay to be in a publication? Absolutely.

All of which brings me to the following questions:

  • Is an ad that highlights women’s sexuality and the power of said sexuality really sexist?
  • Is it “more” okay for an ad to denigrate something or someone if it’s funny, smart or witty?
  • Does saying something like “good things come in pink boxes” actually knock women in some way? Or does it actually pay homage to women, their bodies and all the good things they offer?
  • What about if the ad is created by a woman? A gay man? A lesbian? A transexual?
  • What if the ad highlights men’s sexuality?
  • What if the ad highlighting men’s sexuality is geared toward gay men? What if the one highlighting women’s is geared toward lesbians?

Some ad links that you might be interested in:

Okay, your turn to weigh in: Funny, smart ad campaign that’s going to give people a sweet tooth? Or just another addition to the loser list of sexist ads that are bad for women and the world?

I’ll be back… after I go get myself a donut. Or a hole. Or a pair of pink panties for my pink box.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.


“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”  ~Anaïs Nin