A university bookstore apologized and pulled a gag gift that was leftover from Valentine's Day after students and professors complained that the product was sexist and promoted "rape culture."
West Chester University, a public university in Pennsylvania, sold small blow-up dolls in the campus bookstore as gag gifts during the Valentine's Day holiday. The dolls, both male and female, stand at only 6 inches tall and are not sex toys, a university official told Philly.com. However, as the male doll had sold out, only the female doll remained in the bookstore for $7.99 and with the packages' description reading "perfect female specimen enclosed," several students and faculty members took to social media to demand an apology.
Non-talking Self-inflating (super important) Disposable OR reusable! Oh and you have to beat her to open up! What a deal!! @WCUofPA— ʟondoɴ.ღ (@_larisamarie) September 17, 2015
Hey @WCUofPA why do u sell inflatable sex girls in the bookstore??? Jw— Danielle (@DMat84) September 17, 2015
@WCUofPA tell me, do you officially endorse violence against women? or do you just think that its funny?— katyusha (@phoenixref) September 19, 2015
@WCUofPA we're trying to create a safe campus & esp w the green dot program. but when the bookstore sells a product that promotes violence?— katyusha (@phoenixref) September 19, 2015
According to a commercial promoting the product, users simply punch the "Sensational Inflatable's" bag and shake it, which causes the small doll to pop out. Both the male and female appear to be in their underwear.
WCU's bookstore did issue an apology on Twitter and removed the product from their store although it was not accepted by some.
Jill McDevitt, a sexologist previously from West Chester, said the doll exists in a world where women are oftentimes objectified against and punched.
"[T]o have this product sold on a college campus breeds a culture in which this type of behavior toward women is normal, and even cute or funny," McDevitt told Philly.com.
Loretta MacAlpine, CWU spokesperson, said the gift was simply meant to be a joke for students around Valentine's Day but admitted it was "tasteless."