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In “Weed Culture Is Boob Culture,” I argued that women feel alienated from the pot advocacy movement because female stoners are marketed as objects (above) instead of heroes (every pot movie ever). Yes, boobs are used to sell everything from beer to hamburgers, but it’s particularly depressing when misogyny rears its ugly head in the counter-culture.

Even as a woman, I don’t need any special badge to drink beer or eat a hamburger—-these consumption habits are, in fact, difficult to avoid in mainstream America. But if there’s one thing America likes more than beer and burgers, it’s boobs. Boobs are used to sell beer and hamburgers because mainstream America’s ideal subject—-the person those advertisements are speaking to—-is a red-meat-eatin’, six-pack-guzzlin’, butt-rock-blastin’ heterosexual male. Now, people who don’t fit that ideal American subject—-women, gays, vegans, people who reject pandering, etc.—-turn to the counter-culture, where they can be given space to create their own subjective experiences.

Theoretically. Because time and again, women have knocked on the door of the counter-culture—-the comic book authors, the emo kids, and yes, the marijuana users—-only to be shut out of the conversation. And so, even in pot culture, an effective ad shows a woman laying naked, covered in marijuana, staring coyly back at you and not smoking. Again, the ideal smoker is a heterosexual male.


Booby writes:

It seems like everywhere I look, boobs are advertising EVERYTHING, not just fake weed and crappy vaporizers. Yes, our whole mainstream culture is sexist. Do I need remind you about the Coors girls?

The counterculture as whole, however, is much more feminist and progressive, especially when compared to mainstream culture. Hippies really don’t care what you look like, which is awesome. Any culture that supports hairy legs and armpits isn’t sexist.

Dunlap writes:

Sorry to say but this article is misguided. The key fact here is this – Correlation does not imply Causation. That is to say; the 18-25 year old males like weed. They also like tits. This does not mean that the two are related in any way.

The pictures you posted were all from one site, not that I doubt you could find others elsewhere, I’m just saying. legalbuds.com does not sound like a “weed culture” site at all. In fact, they probably don’t want weed legalized, considering the fact that if something that actually got you high were legal, they’d probably go out of business in a heartbeat. This is marketing – and we all know that sex sells.

Now, again, I’m not at all denying that guys, and especially stoned guys, like tits. This is a given. But to say that it dominates the culture any more than anywhere else, to say that “Weed culture is dude culture” is totally unfair.

Hunter writes:

It was images like these that made me stop buying “High Times.” And it wasn’t just advertisements that were sexist; they were pictures (including covers) published from HT. When a woman wrote to the editor and complained about it, the editorial staff were total assholes – they told her to loosen up from her “repressed sexuality.” Finding images such as these offensive means you have a repressed, distorted sexuality? Please. I really didn’t want to support that magazine anymore. I do think using these types of images will aleniate some women (and some more progressive men) from some avenues to support the movement. (Note: it was quite a while ago; probably 7 or 8 years ago).

Kim writes:

As a female cannabis activist, I too am put off by the sexism. Even the local smoke shop down the street has huge posters all over the store of half dressed babes selling papers, pipes, vaporizers, whatever. They don’t get any business from me. It’s uncomfortable. And they obviously don’t care how I feel.

Old Corporate Boys Club…even here. Sad.

Numismatics writes:

Whether you accept it or not, the constant message that our ass is what matters is alienating, disappointing, and isolating. And it is UBIQUITOUS. Not only that, it really hammers home the message that this is not a woman’s domain-it discourages us from achieving. I’m not saying this because I am an angry feminist who hates men (I am an angry feminist who LOVES men!) but I am really surprised at how some men can NOT understand some of the mindfucks women go through (not that you don’t get your share, too) and then it occurs to me that many don’t seem to care, and many just constantly parrot “There’s no sexism anymore! It’s all better now!” Well, if that helps them sleep at night….

Ads that have this sort of advertising (and, more specifically, AN OVERREPRESENTATION of this sort of advertising) are really being blatant about the role women have to play in this context, and frankly, that’s a message many of us have heard enough of. I know it’s marketing; I know sex sells, but to me, boobs aren’t sex. And yet I am supposed to read them as such, everywhere I see them. Like, is that supposed to turn me on, too? (Don’t answer that.) Getting to define ’sexy’ is a power I would like to have, too. But I am not encouraged to do so–I am encouraged to cover my face with paint and keep my body as thin as possible. Sex being used to sell has a lot of pernicious effects on our minds and bodies, and by ‘our’ I mean both men and women.

Steven writes:

Your arguments are unfounded and from what I have read of your blog thus far, often taken out of context. You’re not helping the movement at all, whether that be for the females or the female pot smokers. Dunlap really covered most of it but to simplify things, we can assume from the marketing that more men are going to read high times or the ads in the back than women. Perhaps more guys are interested in Legal Buds than women are. So the companies are correctly marketing as such. But to say that weed culture is dude culture or imply that the movement or the culture in itself is inherently sexist is simply not backed up at all.

There’s plenty of sexist things you can fight against in this country. If Legal Buds, Coors Light and Carl’s Junior want to market their products towards men, they have every right to. Men respond to images of the female body and sex. That’s what we like. Leave pot and pot culture out of this debate.

Also, have you ever been to a pot rally? Anecdotally, I know just as many female stoners and activists as male ones. Do some research before you make these claims, I’m glad you’ve received the comments you have, this simply is not good journalism.

Cash writes:

It is really telling, when reading through the comments, that most of the commentators who think this is a nonissue are men, and the ones who say this DOES have an impact are women. Its just interesting how women come out and say “I am put off by this kind of advertising. It does have an effect on me, and on the women I know” and then the men come here to basically say “No it doesn’t! I don’t see sexism anywhere! You’re wrong!”