Rum & Rape Culture

Earlier this month we highlighted the use of sexist, racialised images of women (or rather parts of their bodies) in Caribbean advertising.

Via Caribbean feminist blogger & creative writer, Creative Commess, I came across this advertisement for rum which basically endorses date rape.

“Avoid the friend zone.  Offer her a real drink,” says Angostura, a Trinidad & Tobago rum distillery.

Edited to add: After posting this image on our tumblr (yes, we’re on tumblr too!) some people responded that we had misinterpreted the ad, that it is in fact NOT a nod to rape culture.  The other interpretation is that if a young man offers a woman a good quality drink she will be impressed with his “good taste” and want to have a sexual relationship with him rather than just be friends.  (Apparently friendship is not what men are supposed to be after.) There is still a lot to be unpacked in even that interpretation of the ad. The message remains problematic and draws on gendered ideologies about men and women and sexual-economic exchange.


15 thoughts on “Rum & Rape Culture

  1. Jonah M says:

    I dont think the ad is promoting date rape, your perception of it that comes from hyper-sensitvity to the topic and angostura’s use of very creepy imagery. had they used a more formal and or upscale images, there just wouldnt be this outcryand reworded the and


    • Jonah M says:

      and if they’d reworded this thing to say something less… forward… the picture alone is bad. makes the man look like some sort of predator


  2. Deuele Marc Garance says:

    Your interpretation of this ad is ridiculous. You really think this ad is meant to encourage men to buy this product and use it to help them rape women? Come on.


    • Thanks for your comment.

      Ordinary Trinidadians found the ad offensive enough that they wrote on the manufacturer’s facebook page, organised an online petition and the ad was pulled by the company.

      This action was not initiated by any women’s organisation or feminist group but by ordinary, unaffiliated women and men who did not like the message the ad sent.

      No one suggested the ad was marketing the rum as a tool of rape but rather that its message about men and women’s sexuality was reflective of a larger “rape culture” which conceives of men as interested ONLY in women sexually, as entitled to women’s bodies. In fact, a recent US article reflecting on the Steubenville rape case used the ad as one of many which they say symbolises said “rape culture”.


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