I’ve got some mindful ways to make a difference in the world this holiday season in response to the date rapey ad that Bloomingdale’s ran a little over a week ago (written about here).
For Bloomingdale’s, and parent company Macy’s as well as individual consumers.
The easy part. Consumers can boycott both stores until we’re clear they are clear on the concept of consent.
That part is easy.
The hard part will be to challenge and change the corporate culture where this ad was made.
But change is possible.
And might even be practical.
It’s as simple as education and using creative powers for good.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money either.
I propose Bloomingdale’s could have a company wide staff day instead of a holiday party this year? I mean who is going to feel safe sipping eggnog at this place now with so many secret drink spikers in their midst?
They could have a day listening to the statistics which would help them understand why so many were outraged and offended by their ad. It might seem obvious but since the ad was made it is proof that it is not.
- Over a quarter of a million sexual assaults happen in the U.S. EVERY YEAR.
- 4 out of 5 know the rapist and almost half are raped by a friend or acquaintance.
That need not take even five minutes but to drive the point home maybe female staff members could be invited to send in letters or statements or write testimonials about how this actually works in reality, real-life scenarios.
And the men who work at the company, all of them, could do just one thing.
I say this because in response to the piece I wrote about this ad many men have made insightful comments such as “Lighten up,” “You need to get laid” and have left the name of date rape drugs in the Facebook comments on Elephant.
Others have suggested that many partake in spiking drinks with alcohol for non-date rapey fun and said things that defy facts such as a friend doesn’t rape a friend.
I know men are also raped and it is equally tragic. Men and boys as well as women and girls. It’s always tragic. And most rapists are men. The overwhelming number. So it is apparently men who do not understand the concept of consent but it’s equally important that any women who are confused get clear as well. And it’s just as often, tragic and criminal when a man is raped.
I say this, thinking it’s obvious, because many have asked if I’d be upset if the ad suggested a woman spike the man’s drink while he’s not looking.
YES! Consent is all-around critical. With drinks and with sex.
Listening, is important too.
Women and some men could share on this topic.
Real-life testimonials and listening. That could take weeks or months or years. But just start with hours. A half day of full-on listening.
And of course, keeping it fact based too. Keep the facts displayed while testimony is giving.
And keep listening.
That’s the first part of the day.
That should address any future confusion over how and why so many found the ad unfunny, not sexy and actually infuriating.
Offensive and wrong.
And how disregarding consent and joking about it shouldn’t be condoned in ad copy.
That brings us to lunch.
A productive day.
Consent. It’s safe and wise and kind and legal.
Consent. It’s not too much to ask, assume or expect in ads, beverages or bed.
They could practice coming up with ad jingles for making consent catchy to keep it about work if need be.
Then, for the second part of the day Bloomingdale’s could learn how to use the power of advertising for good from others doing just that. They could consider their own awareness campaign to earn back consumer trust as well as to get more professionally skilled in advertising.
This could be done quickly by watching the short and effectivene Consent. It’s as Simple as Tea web video. It’s part of a #ConsentisEverything campaign collaborated on by the Thames Valley police and the Thames Valley Sexual Violence Prevention Group.
It’s everything the Bloomindale’s ad is not – simple, clear and genius.
It’s not just the feminists, activists and law enforcement who like the ad. Adweek approves too and described it as “brilliant.”
If only the ad team at Bloomingdale’s read Adweek in late October before promoting illegal and dangerous behavior in November.
Please put that idea in the suggestion box too. Ad team refer to Adweek.
I love the Consent. It’s as Simple as Tea production which uses words and pictures to take on the seriousness of sexual assault – with humor.
Is it possible?
Can it work?
I hope so.
It works for me.
I love humor even though I’m one angry feminist, you know, a feminist who is angry about the prevalence of sexual assault lived through by so many children and women and sometimes men. So serious. So stick in the mud.
I’m o.k. with that.
Because consent isn’t optional and not everyone knows or understands.
Consent isn’t optional with sex or with drinks whether they be tea or eggnog. And until Bloomingdale’s gets behind the concept I consent to boycotting them.
Laura Mahn for showing me this fabulous Thames Valley PD campaign!
You Matter Mantras
- Trauma sucks. You don't.
- Write to express not to impress.
- It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
- Breathing isn't optional.