Dickstracted in America: Dildos and racial discourse

The day after Valentine’s Day is probably my second favorite day of the year (National Orgasm Day being the first).

Leftover chocolate goes on sale, rom-coms are playing on nearly every channel and the awkwardness of being single on Valentine’s Day has receded into it’s hiding place for another 364 days.

But, chocolate wasn’t the only thing on sale Monday. Adult shops around the world sliced prices on all kinds of kinky stuff remaining from this multi-billion dollar industry’s most lucrative day of the year.

In fact, one of the top-selling adult stores, Adam & Eve, advertised a post-Valentine’s Day deal. This company is popular for their discreet shipping, decent pricing and free gift with orders over $17. With deals like this, it’s no wonder the sex shop industry is projected to make a whopping $52 billion by the year 2020, according to American finance news site, The Street.

But, before you whip out those credit cards and start googling sex shops, pay close attention to the way sex toys are marketed. Because, guess what? It’s sort of racist.

If you don’t believe me, consider this:  Here’s an example of white dildo advertising: “The Perfect Boyfriend: He’s always up, so you’re never down.” Now, here is an example of black dildo advertising: “Renegade Monster Meat: The only monster you’ll want under your bed.”

Black dildos are portrayed as something fearful, while white ones are supposed to bring us joy. But let’s be honest, all dildos should be bringing you joy – that’s the point.

This demonized approach to black dildo promotion stems from America’s long history of portraying blacks as hypersexual animals during times of slavery.

It’s easier to rob a person of all basic rights when you’ve dehumanized them. This nefarious history is still seen in sex shops across America.

Flesh dildos (realistic dildos) are marketed in blatantly racist ways. San Francisco State University professor, Allison Kavanagh Alavi published a research article titled, “Little White Lies: Race, Dildos, and American Culture.” Her studies found that black dildos were nearly always portrayed as dangerous, animalistic and immoral; white dildos were labeled as erotic and sensual.

And, that’s just the tip of The Iceberg. Have you ever seen an Asian dildo? No. Because Asian men are stereotyped as having small penises.

Yet, Asian women are highly fetishized in the sex industry as having delicate features and “tight” vaginas. “Yellow Fever” (Asian Fetish) is one of the most popular types of porn for men who’ve created an image of Asian women as the ultimate submissives. A quick google search of the term “Asian women” will result in pages of mostly lingerie-clad women with suggestive facial expressions.

Not to mention, the name itself implies that it’s a sickness or disease. No one actually wants to catch a fever. They’re time consuming, painful and can cause some seriously gross nasal problems.

“Jungle Fever” is the worst of the “fevers” when it comes to racism. The word jungle implies that black people are wild animals, parallel to apes.

I’m not saying if you don’t throw out your dildos, you’re a racist. I’m simply pointing out the inherent racism in our system. It’s cliché but true, knowing is half the battle. That doesn’t mean you have to go around throwing dildos at politicians, but recognizing racism is important in a country where “more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group” by the year 2020, according to the Census Bureau.

And, if you’re still unsure if dildo advertising is actually racist, Florida Atlantic University offers a course on Human Sexuality and Social Changes, taught by Dr. Gina Carreno-Lukasik, with an entire chapter devoted to the inherent racism surrounding dildos.

I strongly recommend taking her course. As Pocahontas once said, “You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.”

 

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