WCU is experiencing major backlash after selling a blow up doll that had sexist stereotypes of women written on the packaging. The six inch inflatable doll was a blonde woman clothed only in her underwear and was sold at an affiliate of the campus bookstore.
Those who would purchase the doll were encouraged to punch it repeatedly in order to inflate it. Other features of this “perfect female specimen” included: non-talking, no headaches and disposable.
By Derek Miller
The doll was intended to be a gag gift to those who couldn’t find a date, but WCU students weren’t laughing. They began protesting for the doll to be removed from the shelves. West Chester University eventually released a formal apology for the incident and promised to remove the item immediately.
This kind of merchandise has no place being sold at all, let alone at the campus bookstore of your local university. The message this doll is sending to young women and men is that the “perfect female” is one that doesn’t talk, is always sexually available and only works after you’ve punched it several times.
College campuses all around the United States are currently struggling with rape culture and domestic
abuse problems; selling merchandise like this makes these situations so much worse. It’s honestly surprising how something like this was able to sneak through the layers of management in order to get to the shelves, unless those in charge truly didn’t care about the messages that this product would send to students.
Some are saying that since there was a male doll also being sold it was okay for the female doll to be sold. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, since the only feature of the male doll is “not smelly.”
This playful insult toward men isn’t even close to being the same as promoting violence toward women, displaying harmful stereotypes and encouraging abusive relationships.
Sexist advertising already exists around KU, so something like this happening on our campus isn’t too far-fetched. If something like this does occur, we all need to speak up and make it clear that this is not okay. Keeping similar merchandise out of KU only helps to promote a safer and more equal environment for everyone.