When I first drafted this letter, I wrote literally an entire novel defending why I was upset, and then I realized that the issue should be completely obvious and needed no explanation. So, without further ado, let me bring to your attention why I am writing: Boar's Head's "Tip of the Week." To be more specific, the back-page advertisement in the Aug. 21 issue of Flagpole, the one with the cover story on underage drinking in downtown Athens. I am guessing this cluster of advertisements remains the same, but the tip changes with each printing of Flagpole. The one I am referring to read, "A facial is better than a baby."
When I first read this, I was a little dumbstruck. Truth be told, I had to do a double take. In case you didn't know, a facial, in this case, is not an expensive treatment you get from a spa.
I can imagine that this advertisement spread probably generates a lot of income for the newspaper, but come on guys, how could you think this was appropriate? Let's be real: if you had printed a racial slur or anything remotely politically incorrect, it would be a huge deal. Not only is this just plain gross, but it is a seriously degrading attitude towards women, and putting it in print only condones and normalizes it.
While I was writing this, I envisioned myself having this discussion with Warren Southall, the owner of Boar's Head. This is tangent postulating, but I imagined his argument would be that I was overreacting to what was supposed to be a joke. After asking him whether he kisses his mother with that mouth of his, I would remind him that, well, some jokes aren't funny. It's a slippery slope in regards to what is a joke and what is considered harassment. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that this is how the majority of harassment manifests itself or starts, which brings me to point out the most recent issue of The Red & Black. If you haven't read it, there is an article by Hillary Butschek about the prevalence of harassment, assault and rape on the University of Georgia campus.
It's also worth noting that the numerous people to whom I showed the ad all conveyed a lack of surprise at the fact that this was done by Boar's Head. It begs the question whether or not the patrons of Boar's Head share the same sentiments as those printed in the ad. I mean, you are what you eat, right? That's kind of a scary thought, considering the already apparent prevalence of misogyny amongst us.
So, in conclusion, I hope Flagpole will be more careful about the kinds of "jokes" it prints in the future. In my opinion—I'm certain I'm not alone in this—this was a huge step backwards for your paper, and as an avid reader, I am very disappointed. I hope this is taken seriously and doesn't get brushed off or swept under the rug.
I'll end with the words of Aretha Franklin and what I would say to Warren Southall, owner of Boar's Head: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!