Here We Go Again: Deep Ellum Tries to Shame BOR for Calling Out Rape Culture

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I'm a feminist beer nerd with a sense of humor that involves 50% sex jokes and 50% puns about bodily functions. I'm not a “feminazi” (what is that even?). I laugh at funny jokes and can appreciate wordplay, and I've never considered the feminist community to be humorless. Quite the opposite, actually — the people most in touch with reality can frequently craft the most clever and quick-witted remarks.

That's why I found the Deep Ellum Brewing Company blog post defending their “Goes Down Easy” van to be as offensive as the van itself, if not moreso.

The blog post was peppered with accusations that women simply can't take a joke — that they're too politically correct, that they take themselves too seriously. John Reardon, the Deep Ellum owner, told the women and men who criticized his marketing choice to “accept being an asshole and move on.” He even tried to push the responsibility for rape culture on BOR: “If anyone is to blame for promoting such thoughts, it should be those interpreting the phrase to that level. Shame on you.”

In his post, Reardon displays a complete inability to see past his white male privilege and understand the implications of his own joke. If he thinks it's funny to rate sexual experiences in terms of how “easy” or “hard” it was to pressure a woman to perform, he may want to revisit his partners' definitions of consent.

Read more about Deep Ellum's condescending defense of their sexist joke after the jump.On October 11, staff writer Genevieve Cato called out Deep Ellum for using a problematic slogan that derives its humor from rape culture.

Genevieve wrote,

The eye-catching hot pink van sports the logo for their blonde ale with the assurance that this blonde “goes down easy.” This is not the first time this tired, sexist pun has been used to sell alcohol and it probably won't be the last.

In his blog post response, Reardon writes that “it's a literal description of the beer with a blowjob joke.” Thanks, and tip your waitress.

The primary problem with the “Goes Down Easy” joke isn't the blowjob pun itself (although, seriously? You want to sell your beer the way Coors Lite and Budweiser have for the past twenty years?).

It's that the beer — or the woman or man — goes down “easy.” Easy compared to what? Do other people put up a struggle? If she goes down with some hesitation, what do you have to do to convince her?

As a commenter eloquently pointed out, “At its root, rape culture is all about how society encourages male sexual aggression and, at the same time, objectifies the female body.”

No, John Reardon, we uppity ladies don't “link all oral sex to violence against women.” But we do think it's problematic to discuss sex as something that all men will pursue forcefully, even when women resist.

In other words, sex jokes in general can be funny, but this particular oral sex pun isn't. Women should be able to “go down” when they damn well please and not be subjected to harassment or intimidation by their partners.

In her blog post, Genevieve mentioned the Belvedere Vodka ad that used the same pun but also included an image of a woman trying to escape sexual assault. “I can agree that this was going too far,” Reardon writes, but he fails to acknowledge that the only difference between his pun and the Belvedere ad was an image describing the punch line of the joke: Some women have to be forced into sex, and some women “go down easy.”

A solid ground rule for entering into conversations over accusations of sexism, racism, classism, and other forms of oppression and discrimination: Listen and attempt to understand before you become angry.

That rule applies to everyone, but this week, is applies especially to Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Rather than attempting to engage in productive dialogue about their marketing choice, they refused to consider that they were wrong and claimed to be the victims of feminist bullies.

But even if John Reardon doesn't listen to us, we hope he listens to his customers. As one commenter said, “Here's a crazy idea: make good beer, and you won't need to use stupid sexual innuendo or objectification of women to sell it.


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

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