It emerged today that Bud Light has released beer bottles with the following slogan: “The perfect beer for removing “no” from your vocabulary for the night. #upforwhatever.”
Seriously, that happened.
Bud Light is America’s best selling beer. There is seemingly no limit on the amount of people that this will reach. In the age of corporations trying to invade people’s personal space – McDonald’s Paying with Lovin anyone? – Bud Light has taken this doomed-to-fail strategy to a new, dangerous level.
While Bud Light’s demographic appears to be the kind of people that, at some point, must have felt that this was a good idea, I wonder what exactly they were referring to. Wait a minute–that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the slogan is dangerous. The slogan is dangerous because it attempts to undermine years of “no means no” activism against sexual violence.
Throughout my life I have learned that the word “no” is one of the most important parts of my vocabulary, as a woman and as a human. I have learned that when it is ignored, especially in the case of sexual violence, that I have been violated. Is Bud Light saying that I will get drunk to the point where I can no longer say “no”? That it will allow me to become violated? Is it telling young people who drink it that this is the way to get me into bed? Is Bud Light the new date rape drug? Does #upforwhatever mean #upforrape?
“No” has been removed from her vocabulary. Is she #upforwhatever?
It seems they didn’t think long enough to realize that this would be a logical assumption based on that slogan.
Slogans are important. Here at Jackpine we think of them everyday. We know their importance and their possible reach. When a company as large as Anheuser-Busch lets something like this hit the shelves and into the hands of many a young college student, they are not only contributing to rape culture, they are encouraging it. This slogan may well damage the Bud Light brand, and deservedly so. As we know from companies like BP, damaged brands are brands that die. After this, I hope that not only Bud Light’s slogan dies, but that eventually we can kill this implicit rape culture. To do this, we must take a stand. Keep the word “no” in your vocabulary, for all its important purposes, and say “NO” to Bud Light.
Update: Anheuser-Busch has issued an apology. An apology that unfortunately does not delve into why this slogan is unacceptable and dangerous and therefore fails to repair any damage caused.
Illustrations by Emma Cochrane.