When Spiking Your Best Friend’s Drink Is Okay

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Image above came from this tweet.

This was a week, no, actually a month, of one major uproar over another.

Football players. Halloween costumes. Frat parties. Ivy League professors and free speech. And then the above image tweeted out and the question why people were not in more of an uproar about it compared to the unbelievably lopsided insanity around the Starbucks’ coffee cups during the holiday season.

Because this Bloomingdale’s ad is blatantly and unabashedly violent towards women. I don’t care that they apologized for it already. It’s another example of the persistent war on women’s lives and bodies, and another reminder that women matter less. How anyone in Bloomingdale’s marketing department decided this would be at all appealing or appropriate is beyond me, I mean, didn’t we go through this recently with Budweiser? Remember:

The tag line: “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night. #UpForWhatever.”

It literally was this past year. A beer company that thought it would be okay to perpetuate the insidious rape culture all around us. Now, it’s a high-end retailer, a department store, one of the ultimate symbols of privilege and wealth, an emblem of impossible standards of beauty, and a bastion of utter capitalism and wastefulness, it’s Bloomingdale’s that thinks it can get away with rape culture because its ad is couched in this cliche chatter of oh-so-cute-best-friend romance and holiday-oops-lets-get-drunkenness.

Let’s get this straight. It’s never okay to spike your best friend’s drink. It’s never okay to spike your friend’s drink. It’s never okay to spike your date’s drink. It’s never okay to spike anyone’s drink. Period.

This isn't just about the culture of consent, but a culture of respect for every fellow human being.Click To Tweet

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Even now. Even at this very moment, when I think back to the summer of 2000, and that night, though I don’t have evidence of it, I know 100% in my flesh and blood that I did not drink enough to black out, and that one of the young men in the house hosting the party slipped something into my drink, but I still feel responsible, I still feel like it was my fault, I still feel like I deserved to wake up the next morning completely naked next to someone who was basically a stranger, confused and disoriented, ashamed and lost. Maybe I encouraged him. NO. I clearly remember at least that part, saying, NO, and trying to leave his room, and he shut the door and stood in front of it, and I said, No, No, No, and then the world went dark. 

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I’m reminded, and frantic, almost, by the reality that I am raising a daughter in a world where the culture keeps imposing this horrific notion that women’s bodies are to be drugged and taken advantage, or that they are deserving of state-sanctioned violence, or that they are to be incarcerated or prostituted or abused or trafficked by the dominant culture. I KEEP HEARING THE ANGUISH IN THAT YOUNG BLACK FEMALE STUDENT’S VOICE AS SHE RIGHTFULLY DEMANDED HOW COULD THE RESIDENT ADVISOR AND PROFESSOR NOT SEE THAT THE ISSUE WAS ABOUT SAFETY? DIGNITY??? I don’t care that she shrieked or screamed or cursed because I was there with her – it was ultimately about her effort to protect her body, and realizing that terrible reality that women’s bodies are ever in danger. And, I struggle, STRUGGLE with how we need to teach our sons that women’s bodies are to be respected not because they are someone’s sister, daughter, or mother, but simply because they have the imago dei, the imprint of humanity and divinity on their skin and in their cells, and they are of value.

These ads remind me that women’s bodies are constantly being trafficked – their physical bodies, the images of their bodies, and the worth of their bodies. And I am aware of the various ways that women of color and transgendered women and then transgendered women of color – their bodies are appropriated and commodified, too, and always in danger, just look at the statistics – nearly 1 in 5 American women are raped in their lifetime (19%), and half of those rapes are “drug/alcohol-facilitated rapes.” Look at the number of black women jailed and killed, AAPI women like Purvi Patel convicted and jailed, and trans women of color murdered on the streets. I think of the words of my sister, Austin, who wrote a piece recently reminding me of the ways that the reality of sexual violence towards black women gets lost in these movements. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman says that “Black women are the Black church,” but these issues of gender inequity and disparity ultimately begin within the church just as much as in the department stores or beer companies. And so, we need to be diligent, we need to name the ways both rape and purity culture go hand-in-hand to bind up our girls, with words, images, and stories, with physical violence, pitting the value of women against one another, and it will have to be the Church that needs to be a part of this movement to decenter and dismantle purity discourses because they are rooted in religious institutions and language. 

No more lip service, we have too much to do to uphold the dignity of every single woman, and anyone who is marginalized within our walls, and in our communities.  Click To Tweet

Because it’s 2015, and it’s almost the holiday season. I don’t care or worry what’s on the outside of my cups, but I also shouldn’t worry about what’s being put in them either. And no one, no woman, should ever have to think about it.

8 thoughts on “When Spiking Your Best Friend’s Drink Is Okay

  • November 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm
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    Such a fantastic post and excellent points. I’m so sorry about your assault. Have you written about this before?

    • November 15, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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      I have written about it a little here and there. I still struggle with it, and of course, I don’t remember very much from the night. But thank you for your encouragement, and your kind words.

  • November 12, 2015 at 9:52 am
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    I hadn’t seen this ad. Fortunately I’m not a Bloomingdale shopper, but I, too, wonder why there wasn’t an uproar about this. Very, very disturbing. Who are these young men and women writers, editors, marketing people who don’t understand that their words mean something? And is this the attention they had hoped for?

    It’s time for another feminist revolution. I was a part of it so many years ago, but evidently those words and actions became old-fashioned and seemingly unnecessary to be continued. Women of every age still
    need to be involved in educating young people. These battles just don’t end.

    • November 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm
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      It’s amazing that these still go through but that’s part of the power of this culture. It’s in the air we breathe, it’s all around us. These battles definitely don’t end, and I’m always thankful for those like you, Linda, who’ve blazed those paths before us!

  • November 12, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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    Your post makes me ache, and want to scream. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THIS RAPE CULTURE IS OKAY?
    I’m so sorry that you experienced a sexual assault. I am angry. I am grateful that you are demanding change.

    • November 15, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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      I don’t know, Heather, I hate it, too.

  • November 13, 2015 at 9:50 am
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    Particularly heinous because the man in the advertisement resembles Robin Thicke which conjures up a subliminal reference to the equally disturbing “Blurred Lines (you know you want it)”

    • November 15, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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      Oh my gosh that’s so true – he totally looks like Robin Thicke!! Weird!! And gross.

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