Students are awesomely protesting a campus bookstore's offensive doll
Today in, “No, but seriously, what on EARTH were you thinking?” we just learned that Philadelphia-area West Chester University’s campus bookstore stocked the store this fall with textbooks, university sweatshirts, and, oh yeah, a blow-up doll with packaging that promised it was the, “perfect female specimen” because it was “non-talking” which meant “no headaches.” At least we think that’s what the “no headaches” meant, though it could also be a hoaried old reference to women citing headaches as a reason for not wanting to have sex with their partners. SIGH.
Either way, we can’t believe this doll exists, much less that it was being sold by an institution of higher education. Even though the bookstore claims this doll was a “gag gift,” there’s nothing funny about jokes that reduce women to sex objects.
As NBC reports, news quickly got around about the doll after one student brought the doll to a Gender Studies class as an example of sexism. Upset students began planning a protest. In response, the bookstore quickly removed the dolls from their shelves and issued an apology in the form of a tweet.
University spokeswoman Loretta MacAlpine also apologized in an interview with Philly.com.
“It is a tasteless gift, and unfortunately we did have it briefly on the shelf,” MacAlpine said. “There was never any intent to promote anything other than a joke for Valentine’s Day.”
Though the doll is now gone, that planned protest is still happening. Apparently, students were so shaken by this incident, that they really want to take a stand to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. Student Lauren Conwell told NBC News that students felt unsafe having this doll sold in their school store.
“It literally says you can punch it and manhandle it, and then says it’s the perfect female,” Conwell explained. “If that’s the perfect female companion, then what does that mean for us?”
As graduate student Irissa Baxter explained to Philly.com, according to the package instructions, you had to hit the doll hard to get it to inflate.
“You’re literally punching a representation of a woman to get it to work,” Baxter said. “The perfect female specimen . . . wouldn’t talk [and] you could punch her. That’s the idea this is sending.”
We’re horrified that this was ever on sale, and so glad that students spoke up and got their university to realize the error of its ways. All students deserve to feel safe and respected at their institution of learning, and a school needs to be vigilant about protecting its own.
[Images via Twitter]