Bud Light isn’t known for its social justice work. Just last month they had to apologize for a problematic tweet suggesting that on St. Patrick’s Day it is acceptable to “pinch” people who weren’t wearing green or “#upforwhatever.” Their non-apology suggested that the public “misunderstood” the beer company’s intention, (which, was what exactly)?
We can assume that their tweet from March was their marketing department testing the waters for where Bud Light was scheduled to go with this questionable #upforwhatever hashtag.
Shared last night on Imgur, Bud Light’s most recent marketing campaign includes an obvious and dangerous stab at consent culture. Some Bud Light bottles read: “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” with the hashtag #upforwhatever making a guest appearance below this new tagline.
Given that folks were already calling Bud Light out for promoting rape culture, it is surprising that the brand is now being blatant in linking their product to sexually assaulting people while under the influence of alcohol.
Bud Light can push out a deluge of “but you’re misunderstanding our intentions” press releases, but there is no room to beg off with ignorance. One need only begin to Google “how to get a girl drunk…” to spy the swaths of internet cluttered with DIY rape drinks and instructions on how to use alcohol to reduce a woman’s capacity to consent. They knew. They know. This campaign is a deliberate pandering to the rape culture that too often includes the abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Beer sales are not worth the greenlighting of rape culture. Beer sales are not worth encouraging people to side-step essential consent conversations. Beer sales are not worth the sexual assaults that will happen as a direct result of this marketing campaign.
Many are aware, tangentially or specifically, of the links between sexual assault and alcohol. And where women are constantly being policed about drinking and the potential danger of rape, Bud Light appears to be encouraging it in their drinkers. The brand has taken the consent language of “no means no” and manipulated it for their own campaign, not so subtly assuring their audience that when their product is consumed in a large enough quantity, inhibitions are decreased and potential victims are #upforwhatever.
This marketing campaign is an unfortunate push back against the necessary work happening to encourage and normalize consent culture. As we begin to inject the concept of consent into our sexual education curriculum, and post secondary schools are being held accountable for rampant rape culture, Bud Light is setting up a cheering section for the unfortunately large number of people who resent the inroads being made in the global conversations around consent.
I am asking Bud Light to pull the plug on this marketing campaign and commit 20,000 dollars to consent education.
Originally published at Syndications on the Rights of Women. Cross-posted with permission.