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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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22 Responses

  1. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage March 26, 2012 at 10:06 am |

    Systemic oppression cannot be excused by individual acts of contrition, just as constant abuse cannot be excused by apologies for each act as it happens. A company that is serious about counteracting the negative effects of its thoughtless advertising will engage in an ongoing, open-ended effort to campaign against sexual assault and coercion, without constantly asking whether all is forgiven and can they stop now and when will feminists just forgive the menz already?

    I’ll be watching. I won’t be holding my breath.

  2. Julianne
    Julianne March 26, 2012 at 10:24 am |

    Those facebook comments are so infuriating, and the only thing I can think that would make these commenters realise why the ad is so disturbing is to personally be put in that position of being forced into sex. To truly understand what sexual assault, belittlement, harassment, violence, and rape feel like. We need the “point-of-view gun” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as trite as that reference is. I am exhausted by fighting these kind of commenters, and feel like they simply have no frame of personal reference, and are doomed to be privileged, unfeeling persons for the rest of their lives. The lack of empathy and perpetuation of the bro attitude of “I’m just too cool to care” makes me depressed to no end.

  3. Julia
    Julia March 26, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    “Systemic oppression cannot be excused by individual acts of contrition”

    I love this, so true. And it’s similar to what my male friends say whenever I talk feminism with them — “not all guys are like that.” Duh.

    The point is that there is a systemic problem, and individuals aggregate to form that system.

    And PS – f*&k Belvedere.

  4. BalancingJane
    BalancingJane March 26, 2012 at 11:10 am |

    I agree with Julianne–battling the attitudes from commenters anytime one of us “gets our panties in a bunch” over blatant sexism and promotion of rape culture completely exhausts me.

    I am especially frustrated with people who suggest we should have something better to do with our time, as they are clearly using their time more wisely by arguing with us. If rape culture is no big deal and just a side effect of an overly politically correct culture, then why spend the time working so hard to make sure it stays in place?

  5. Carol
    Carol March 26, 2012 at 11:57 am |

    Between these comments, the racist tweets about Rue in Hunger Games, and in general anything to do with Santorum, I feel like staying off the internet for the next year or so until I stop hating humanity.
    But of course, I can’t. (Stay off the internet, that is, I can still hate humanity). Sigh.

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen March 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    oh wow — I didn’t even get the “joke” until now. I clicked on the ad and thought, ?what?

    in stuff I DO think is funny: they are giving a charitable donation to “a women’s support cause”. oh god, that phrasing. Like they have NO IDEA what something like that might be, or how even to describe it grammatically, but they should throw some money at something, women, support, cause, you know, because THEY CARE.

  7. mh
    mh March 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    Wouldn’t it be cool if the vodka company actually went into the comments and explained to the commenters individually?

    Seriously, coming from Belvedere itself, little statements like “One reason we pulled this ad is because apparently some people don’t understand that sexual assault includes oral sex. Comments like yours indicate we were right. Just to be clear: assault is assault.”

    Or, “Taking a stand against violence is the opposite of emasculating, and it isn’t about politics, correct or otherwise. It’s about doing what’s right.”

  8. Blitzgal
    Blitzgal March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    I honestly don’t think this is a fuck-up. I think companies are doing this on purpose. Create an outrageous ad, post it on the internet, and if it goes viral, free publicity. They don’t even have to pay for any ad space. And now everyone knows about it. They’ll turn off a segment of the population, but unfortunately will appeal to another.

  9. Liz
    Liz March 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |

    I’m with previous commenters on being exhausted by online ignorance. I used to fight people like this, and I used to try to patiently explain things like this, but no approach works. You can use up all your patience rephrasing, and linking to helpful resources for beginners, and so on and so forth… but it just doesn’t work.

    I make a conscious decision to avoid comments to public Facebook posts, as well as comments on news stories on my local newspaper’s website, for exactly this reason. It exhausts me. It makes me want to seal up my home and put tinfoil over the windows. It makes me bitter and cynical beyond belief. I try as hard as I can to be open to new ideas in my own life, but just can’t force these people to do the same.

    I agree, it would be much more helpful if Belvedere replied to some of these. But the way they’re positioned right now, it’s like a bunch of uptight bitches made a fuss, Belvedere did what they have to in order to appease them for PR purposes, and now it doesn’t matter.

    Hey! The rape jokes may be on our page, but at least they’re not coming from us now; are you happy, feminists? Plus, money.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

    Wouldn’t it be cool if the vodka company actually went into the comments and explained to the commenters individually?

    Seriously, coming from Belvedere itself, little statements like “One reason we pulled this ad is because apparently some people don’t understand that sexual assault includes oral sex. Comments like yours indicate we were right. Just to be clear: assault is assault.”

    Or, “Taking a stand against violence is the opposite of emasculating, and it isn’t about politics, correct or otherwise. It’s about doing what’s right.”

    Seconded! What a great idea.

  11. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    the racist tweets about Rue in Hunger Games

    What? Seriously?

    pfft..

    What am I saying? Of course there were racist tweets about the sweet little girl, man fuck this world.

  12. Mxe354
    Mxe354 March 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

    Too bad we live in a society where everyone is so sensitive.

    We live in a society that treats victims of sexual assault like shit as a result of ubiquitous victim-blaming and rape apologists. Sensitivity is desperately needed.

    The misogyny and pro-rape attitudes inherent in the comments on that page are extremely disconcerting. I feel both livid and distressed when I hear of people who lack sympathy for victims of sexual assault. I feel even more repulsed when I think of the bullshit that victims of sexual assault must face in our culture. Haven’t they endured enough? Wait, scratch that – they shouldn’t have to deal with a single fucking part of rape culture.

  13. Jordan
    Jordan March 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    Perfect example of a company trying to save face. I completely agree, its the same thing every. time. This speaks miles of the conception of people’s attitudes towards rape. I cannot imagine why someone wouldn’t consider oral sex rape. The people in the comments are just trolls trying to stir up trouble with their bigoted opinions. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the women that commented turned out to be men trying to justify themselves.

    Thanks for the update.

  14. shigekuni
    shigekuni March 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

    How are they just apologizing to their “fans and followers”? It’s not, like, offensive to every fucking person who saw that ad? >.<

    Also, yeah, the Rue (and Cinna) related racism is absurdly disgusting.

    What the fuck is wrong with people?

  15. Jane
    Jane March 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm |

    Actually, I think it’s a win that they feel obliged to include material support for a survivor support organization instead of just an apology. To me, accountability = behavior change + reparations. Not convinced this will result in behavioral change (especially considering some of the cynical comments above suggesting the point is to drum up controversy for free advertisement), but let’s be clear that not long ago no booze company would think they’d need to donate money to make an apology appear legit. Push for more & don’t be bamboozled, but take the win– which is that feminist activism is responsbible for companies 1) apologizing for & retracting rapey ads and 2) donating money, material support.

  16. faithless
    faithless March 27, 2012 at 4:45 am |

    @shigekuni

    How are they just apologizing to their “fans and followers”? It’s not, like, offensive to every fucking person who saw that ad? >.<

    well, the bigots weren’t offended, thats the problem with offense, it’s an opinion, even the bigoted have opinions. Those entertained by the add may be oblivious oppressive people in the minds of most but like the old saying goes, if everything is offensive to somebody, it stands to reason that nothing is offensive to everybody.

  17. shigekuni
    shigekuni March 27, 2012 at 5:07 am |

    My point was more that I am not a fan of Belvedere, I don’t drink 50$ a bottle Vodka, I am not a follower and people like me were also offended, because THIS IS FUCKING INSULTING to any non-bigots (you are right about that distinction) and it’s triggering, whether you’re a fan of the brand or not. Am I wrong?

  18. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers March 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |

    Julianne:
    and the only thing I can think that would make these commenters realise why the ad is so disturbing is to personally be put in that position of being forced into sex. To truly understand what sexual assault, belittlement, harassment, violence, and rape feel like. We need the “point-of-view gun” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as trite as that reference is.

    It wouldn’t help. CF Jacqueline Patek in the screenshots above, who says, “For all those ‘it depicts rape’ and those who state that people just don’t understand — cuz they have never experienced it. I am truly sorry that your experience has scarred you so deeply, but maybe it is time you find a real therapist to deal. I have personally been through those situations, but I am not placing an event that happened years ago on everyone’s conscience.” She finishes up by saying she’s going to go buy a case of Belvedere to make up for the protesters.

    So actual *rape victims* who experienced this specific form of rape (or at least that’s what she seems to be saying with ‘those situations’) are standing up for “rape is lulz!” Great. Peachy.

    I’m reminded of a woman’s story in Susan Brownmiller’s “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape” in which a woman who was raped in an elevator in New York City never pressed charges because “she doesn’t want to ruin the guy’s life over something like that.” Some people deal with the trauma of rape by minimizing it and presenting themselves as too tough to be bothered by it. Unfortunately, some of *them* go further than minimizing their own rape, and end up becoming rape apologists, apparently.

    so no, the point of view gun won’t necessarily help.

  19. EG
    EG March 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |

    Here’s what I want when shit like this happens: I want a point by point explanation of how such an ad was created, and a point by point explanation of the various steps that the company is going to take to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and how those steps are going to be implemented and enforced. I don’t want an opaque “this won’t happen again.” I want a transparent “here’s what we’re doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

  20. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

    **TRIGGER WARNING FOR A DEPICTION OF ATTEMPTED RAPE**

    I think Belvedere should take it upon itself to have all its advertising be explicitly feminist for the next year. I want to see CGI ads of a woman throwing a drink containing Belvedere vodka in Rick Santorum’s face with the caption “Fuck the forced birthers! Drink Belvedere.” I would like to see a TV ad where a man is attempting to rape a woman, she manages to temporarily push him away, takes a shot of Belvedere to steel her nerves, then pulls out a gun and shoots him. Voiceover: “Belvedere, the handcrafted Polish vodka that’s been helping women kill their rapists since 1605.” I want to see a montage with pictures of Sojourner Truth, the marches of the suffragettes, the Ford sewing machinists’ strike, the 1968 Miss America protest, Bikini Kill playing a live concert, and Julia Serano reading a poem with the ad copy: “Belvedere salutes 200 years of feminist heroes working to smash the patriarchy.”

    You taking notes Mr. Lundy? A year of ads like these in your Twitter feed, major national magazines, and top radio and TV markets around the country, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, and I’ll be satisfied.

    P.S. I agonized about whether part the middle part of this post was appropriate or not. Rape and attempted rape are not funny. I was trying to make a serious point using irony, but am still somewhat uncomfortable about how things read as juxtaposed. Please call me out if you think I was offensive.

  21. Belvedere’s New Ad « thefeministblogproject

    […] Link to the article: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/03/26/belvedere-apologizes-but-what-do-we-want/ […]

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