Uncategorized — July 9, 2012 at 6:59 am

Bain Capital-owned Domino’s Pizza makes a hah-hah rape joke with its new “NO IS THE NEW YES” campaign

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Seriously? Don’t you have any women on your marketing team?

I was with a group of people who ordered Domino’s Pizza this past weekend. When the pizzas came, some of them, called “Artisan Pizzas”, came in a box with the phrase “NO IS THE NEW YES” in large font across the top. Almost everyone in the room of about a dozen people collectively went “WTF?”

Turns out that the Ann Arbor-based company rolled out this new marketing campaign in April of this year. The idea behind it is that they have found some topping combinations that are so perfect that they won’t allow customers to screw them up by altering them. In other words, if customers ask to customize the toppings on these “Artisan Pizzas”, they will be told “no”.

Apparently Domino’s, currently owned by Bain Capital and owned founded by the very conservative Tom Monaghan, founder of the far-right Thomas More Law Center and other Catholic organizations aimed at promoting his religious views throughout society, doesn’t have any women on their marketing team. This new campaign is clearly a mash-up of “_______ is the new black” and “No means no”.

The latter references unwanted sexual advances made on women.

Just a few weeks ago, Rep. Lisa Brown made this statement on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives, referencing the male-dominated, Republican attempts to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care:

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.

Brown’s insinuation was that the male Republicans were treading into territory regarding women’s reproductive rights where they were unwelcome. It was less a joke and more a statement that it is women who should have control over such things, control being assumed by men, in this case.

The Republicans were, of course, accused of prohibiting the word “Vagina” on the floor of the House when they then censored Rep. Brown, prohibiting her from speaking and giving her a “time out” as if she were a child.

They responded by saying that it wasn’t the word “Vagina” that skeeved them out so bad. It was the rape reference implied by “no means no”.

See? Even patriarchal, sexist male Republicans in Michigan’s legislature get the reference. “No means no” has a meaning tied up with men making unwanted sexual advances on women.

And Domino’s Pizza thought that was a pretty goddam funny joke. So funny, they incorporated it into their new ad slogan.

By the way, I’m not being an overly-sensitive liberal weenie here. Others have noticed this, too.

I’ll finish with an excerpt of the speech Eve Ensler gave following the reading of The Vagina Monologues on the steps of the Michigan Capitol building last month:

I am over forces who wanna call victims of rape “accusers” and not “victims”.

I am over you having the chutzpah to redefine rape so that a drugged woman or a date-raped woman wouldn’t even be considered a raped woman.

And, by the way, I’m over RAPE!

I’m over rape culture, rape mentality, and rape jokes.

I’m over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I’m REALLY over being told I don’t have a sense of humor and women don’t have a sense of humor when most women I know (and I know a LOT of women) are really fucking funny.

We just don’t think an uninvited penis up our anus or up our vagina is a laugh riot.

I am over one in three women getting raped in the US military by their comrades.

I am over women still being silent about rape because they’re made to believe it’s their fault and they did something to make it happen.

I am over dudes voting against the Violence Against Women Act when one in every three women on this planet will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes.

Rape isn’t funny. Rape jokes aren’t funny. And Domino’s Pizza is decidedly not funny.

ADDING… In case you’re still wondering what harm this hah-hah rape joke might do, recall that, in 2010, misogynistic boys in the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale were videotaped chanting “No means yes! Yes means anal!” during one of their functions.

This sort of offensive garbage, simply put, reinforces a rape culture that makes rape fun and sexy and hah-hah. It’s not only not funny. It is offensive beyond measure. I would be mortified if my son were to participate in such misogynistic behavior. As a society, we should reject this hideous shift with everything we have.

That frat, to which both Bush Presidents belonged at one time, was banned for five years by the university.

In my considered opinion, they got off lightly.

  • Now I’m glad I never order from Domino’s. Just the arrogance that they won’t allow people to customize their pizza is enough to throw me off, but this is another good reason.

    I order from Papa John’s usually. Papa John’s isn’t owned by right-wing Republicans, is it? Do I really have to pick my pizza company based on political ideology? I just want a pizza! :)

    • TeacherPatti

      Actually Karen, I think the John of Papa John is a NeoCon. I don’t have any websites to back me up, but I seem to remember reading that about him.
      Sorry!
      If you are in a2, I’d recommend Ann Arbor Pizza & Subs on Packard–excellent!

      • Nope, I’m in the Kansas City area in Kansas. Maybe Minskey’s, then.

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/mitt-romney-papa-john-video_n_1471720.html

      I have read a few things recently about Papa John’s that has turned me against giving them my business. This is the only one I can find at the moment but the fact that the founder/owner is hosting Mitt Romney’s fundraisers is enough to make me vomit.

    • mavky

      If you are in Michigan, Rep. Jim Stamas (GOP leader) owns Pizza Sam’s. Word was that many people were calling and ordering “vagina pizza” right after Vaginagate.

      • Hah! PERFECT!

      • jack

        “Vagina Pizza” will probably be the title of a new porno………..

  • melissa turner

    This is awful. Haven’t they learned from Bacardi’s ad? Will marketers ever realize that rape isn’t funny? Also, who thinks Domino’s pizza is artisanal? This whole ad is awful.

    • And the guy who made the pizza signs the box. That’s so stupid. I mean, the guy that made the pizza is just a guy with a job in a pizza shop. He’s not an artist. He’s not really even a chef. He’s a pizza cook. They’re a dime a dozen.

      • And he didn’t even bother to sign the ones we got!

        • LOL! See, even he knows it’s a farce! :)

      • E

        Karen Jones you are incorrect. The manager is the one who would sign the box. The artisan pizza is a “specialty” pizza and not intended to be “customized” however you can delete ingredients you may dislike.

    • scottishguy

      Yes, good point. Domino’s is far from artisanal! And the ad is pretty insensitive.

  • Bluh. I’m glad I don’t order pizza from Domino’s anymore. Christ.

  • Brilliantly put (the post, not the appalling wording on the pizza packaging).

  • The only similarity between “no is the new yes” and “no means no” is the word “no.” I did not look at this pizza box and think of rape. I agree that you should be careful not to ever get any Dominos pizza in your mouth, though.

    • And here I am, thinking of “NO MEANS YES! YES MEANS ANAL!”

  • This is just nuts….. this has nothing to do with rape at all.. and anyone seeing it that way needs to have their head checked. It’s more likely a reference to the typical ‘YES’ man idea…… where surrounding yourself by those who agree with you– thus the term YES MEN came about. Since the ‘Chef’s’ are saying NO—- NO is the new YES.

    C’mon people.. find a new hobby.

    • Well, that’s one MAN’S opinion.

      Emphasis on the “man”. Since men don’t generally worried about being raped, that aren’t as apt to think about things in this way. More’s the pity…

      • Colton Allen

        Dominos pizza does not support rape. There were no quotes or sources to back up any of your claims and the article is written as a political smear. If you don’t like Republicans that’s fine! At least find something legitimate to criticize (believe me, there’s plenty). Because I can only see this article de-legitimizing your point of view.

      • David Summers

        True, we’re probably not. And maybe this was the case for the people who made the slogan as well. This certainly seems more likely than what you suggest in your piece, that they actually set out to make a joke out of it. People who are paid to design pizza slogans, even if they did happen to find rape utterly hilarious, would not be so stupid as to risk alienating over half their consumers. In fact, the more I think about it, the more bizarre it sounds. The only way you can be right is if these people were not just morally reprehensible (which is believable enough), but totally unsuitable for the exact thing they’ve been hired to do! Based on this reasoning, I fear you have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

      • None of my female friends worry about being raped. Than again, they don’t see themselves as victims.

        • Origami_Isopod

          The ones who worry about rape probably never talk to you about it, because you’re an asshole.

        • Imthatgirl

          Everyone of your female friends have/ had at some time. I do every time I walk out the door.

      • Brad

        And yet you wonder why so many men refuse to call themselves feminists.

        I am a man. I am a feminist. I think more men should be willing to call themselves that. You obviously don’t, because apparently in your world the opinion of a male feminist is inferior.

        The problem with the modern feminist movement is that people who identify themselves with different “waves” refuse to acknowledge that those who identify themselves with other waves are “real” feminists. It is appalling the number of times I have seen a third wave feminist, for example, tell a second wave feminist that they are not a feminist at all simply because they disagree. And you know what? That alienates people and makes them afraid to identify with the movement at all.

        Disagreement is good. Debate is good. Debate also generally leads to the best outcomes in the long run. If you’re truly confident that you are correct, be confident that you can win out in a debate; don’t just assert that you are correct because a man’s penis is preventing him from understanding the enormous harm of rape. Not only is that cowardly, but it hurts the entire feminist movement.

        • Swing and a miss, my friend. I’m saying it’s inappropriate to tell someone that they are wrong when they are offended by something and that it’s sometimes difficult to understand why that offense was taken if you don’t deal with the in-your-face, daily misogyny that women contend with everyday.
          It analogous to white people who don’t see racist slights — an outfall of the “white privilege” phenomenon.
          I very much consider myself a feminist and have since I was old enough to understand the term. I’m also willing to open my mind and LEARN when confronted with new thoughts on the subject, particularly from women.

          • Brad

            Cool. Guess what? Every single man deals with the same in-your-face misogyny on a daily basis.

            I’m not just saying we see it; the fact is we are affected by it too. You know how it affects me? It means that many of my female co-workers resent me for (unjustly) having higher pay. You know how else it affects me? It means that I can’t express myself the way I want to without being ostracized because it isn’t “masculine” enough. I could go on and on and on.

            I am systematically oppressed by the patriarchy just as much as any woman. Maybe not in the same ways, but certainly to the same extent. The problem isn’t that men are men and therefore they can’t understand what women deal with. The problem is when men don’t even recognize that they, too, are being oppressed; much in the same way that many women (Ann Romney, anyone) don’t realize the extent to which they are oppressed.

            Women don’t have a monopoly on patriarchal oppression. Yeah, Dan is probably wrong, but you should make it easier for him to understand why it is offensive rather than tell him that his penis is stopping him from understanding.

            Moreover, I am glad you are a feminist. As I said, I am as well. Nowhere did I claim you are not one. I simply think that with comments such as the one above you are inadvertently alienating people from the movement who are affected by the patriarchy just as much as we are.

            Dan: This can be taken offensively because it implies that it is okay for Dominos to force something upon you even when you say no, much in the same way a rapist forces something upon you despite saying no. Moreover, see the original post’s commentary on the Yale boys. Confusing the definitions of “no” and “yes” is something often used in rape culture. Perhaps Dominos did not *intend* for it to be seen in this context – I tend to think it was an accident and that they intended for it to be read the way you read it – but they still should have had the foresight to see how so many could interpret it offensively.

          • I think we’re done here. Any man who claims he experiences the same level if misogyny that a woman does is clearly not going to listen to anyone telling him how absolutely absurd that is.
            I did, apparently, misunderstand you when you said this:

            “I am a man. I am a feminist. I think more men should be willing to call themselves that. You obviously don’t, because apparently in your world the opinion of a male feminist is inferior.”
            I thought you were suggesting I don’t call myself a feminist so mea culpa. You have, however, with that statement, COMPLETELY mischaracterized my comment and my position.
            Given your attitude, I feel certain there are a LOT of women out there that would question YOUR claim of being a feminist and I would tend to agree with them. And it’s not because you have a penis.

        • Origami_Isopod

          Boo hoo hoo, feminism hurts teh poor menz’ fee-fees! Baw.

          • Brad

            Origami_Isopod, did you read my comment(s)? Or did you not catch the implication that I agree with you? Or did you choose to ignore all of that? Or do you just not understand what I said? Those four things are the only possible ways to explain your comment.

            For the record, I agree that this is offensive. I also agree that Dan is misguided. The ONLY thing I disagree with was the chosen method of dealing with Dan’s interpretation. In case all of that wasn’t abundantly clear.

          • John

            Brad – your sentiment is sort of correct imo, but you are confusing misogyny with effects of the patriarchy. The comment about being resented for earning more is a bit weak, but there are real legitimate issues that men deal with on a daily basis brought on by the patriarchy. Affected women very much play into it as well, but only after they are oppressed into vying for a ‘breadwinner’

            Having said that, I think rape culture apologists are the most misguided people in the world. 50% of them are women by the way(several have commented here), which shows just how bad it is. Of the rape survivors I know, one was ostracized from even her family because it was found out she was raped. How can this be? Rape culture is fucking disgusting and it makes it difficult to enjoy anything simple really knowing that the opinion that people apparently hold in their minds is that rape is terrible but, what, doesn’t really exist!?

            Rape culture apologizing is what we’re doing here by explaining away this ad slogan.

    • Dixie

      No means no. This is a phrase that conjures up women saying just that. To belittle it is more mysogeny. No never means yes. Get IT?!

    • Origami_Isopod

      I love it when teh menz mansplain to me what I as a woman should be concerned about and what I shouldn’t.

  • Bryan Sheehan

    This campaign is so tone-deaf, it could have been penned by Mittens himself.

  • I agree with this article, but with one caveat: It’s not only men who rape and it’s not only women who get raped.

  • MaineSenior

    DKE is still there and still at it? I seem to remember their being censured back in my day (1968) for obnoxious and insensitive behavior. It takes some effort for a fraternity to be seen as obnoxious and insensitive, since giving opportunities to be just that is why most of them exist.

  • Sorry but it is just called a snowclone. I get that no means no, but the marketing does not say “no means yes”, it says “____ is the new ____”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowclone

  • burntcustard

    EVERY SENTENCE BEGINNING WITH THE WORD “NO” IS AN ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN!

    Please, refrain from starting your sentences with this dreadful word. For years men have made this mistake and have degraded women with these two letters. NEVER AGAIN I say!

    WOMEN! It is your responsibility to put men in their place in this UNCONSTITUTIONAL use of the word, writing long articles on the internet about how sexist jokes against women and general three-word phrases, which may have been used in anything to do with rape, damage society and make every womans life a living hell. Another good response to this, is a few sexist jokes aimed at the men, a telling off, and then no sex for THREE WEEKS.

    I hope TOGETHER we can stop this madness, and finally get rid of any form of possibly-but-not-really degrading women. Thank you for your time.

  • burntcustard

    Am I correct in assuming my previous comment was removed? I understand it could have been taken offensively, but no harm was intended :)

    In case my comment is lost forever, I would like to again point out, less theatrically, that the statements “No is the new yes” and “no means no” only share one word which is at the beginning of the phrase. Here are a list of other common phrases beginning with the word “no”:
    – No-brainer
    – No die
    – No holds barred
    – No laughing matter
    – No rest for the wicked
    – No way, Jose

    Only at times of considering these expressions (or “no means no”) along with “no means yes” can you see any correlation between them. I therefore put forward that it is unlikely Dominoes is making a joke specifically about “no means no”, or any other of these expressions.

    Even if a company did use a slogan on purpose like the writer is implying, would it be so bad? For example using: “No means.. oh go on then”. That would clearly be “making fun”, but it would not mean anyone using it is saying that rape is okay.

    • Yes, I deleted your snarky comment because I found it insulting. This isn’t a joke. That ad campaign is, in my opinion, very clearly a play on “no means no” which is firmly and forever attached to the effort to stop rape and unwanted sexual advances, mainly on women who are disproportionately impacted by sexual violence.
      I’ll leave this one up but I emphatically disagree with your assessment. As someone who was molested as a boy and who has known countless female friends, lovers and relatives who have been raped, I find this to be no laughing matter. Regardless of whether or not Domino’s was intentionally making a rape joke, their ad campaign is offensive to me and many others and should be ended immediately.

      • burntcustard

        At the end of line 12 of my comment I meant “no is the new yes”, not “no means yes”.

        Sorry to have insulted you. Rape is clearly not a laughing matter, but I think the article is blowing out of proportion an unintended misunderstanding. I’m sure if enough people personally write to Dominoes after seeing the advert they will realise and stop promoting their pizzas with the slogan, I do doubt the amount of people who connect the two slogans will be high, and the amount of people who take offence by it after realising the similarity will be high though.

        I think we will have to agree to disagree. I will be interested in hearing an official response from Dominoes if one is made (or the advert pulled).

      • David Summers

        ‘Regardless of whether or not Domino’s was intentionally making a rape
        joke, their ad campaign is offensive to me and many others and should be
        ended immediately.’

        The ‘intentionally’ bit is important though. For one thing, the title of your piece is ‘Bain Capital-owend Domino’s Pizza makes a hah-hah rape joke with its new “NO IS THE NEW YES” campaign.’ To ‘make’ a joke, even one that isn’t funny, you have to intend it, or at least realise something is a joke after you’ve articulated it.
        If enough people see some sort of connection between the slogans (it’s still a mystery to me but others seem able to see it) and find it offensive, it should be taken down, but the issue of intent still makes a big difference in whether we now view Domino’s as a misogynist, rape-belittling organisation, or one that made a genuine mistake.
        As I posted earlier, it does seem very odd that a group of professionals paid to come up with slogans would actually sit down and say: “hey, I know what the public wants more of….!” when the subject of rape is one that most people want to avoid talking or thinkng about. Like I said, they risk alienating over half their consumers and they MUST have been aware of that if they realised there was any kind of link. Conclusion: they cannot have been aware of it.

  • It’s me, the refugee from yesterday’s Kos post, ‘I saw an old tree.’ I need to come up for air. That was abusive. I can’t believe how people parsed for their own preconceptions. Some must’ve been set-ups, but I don’t know. Anyway, I saw you had your moments, too, and I’m thinking that was pretty brave~~~. And still no one touched Bain. Hey thanks. Suzanne

    • Thanks, Suzanne, and thanks for your support in the Kis post. I was pretty pissed and really disappointed at some if those responses. Some of it seemed like willful denial to me.
      Ever onward…

      Thanks again.

      • That’s why I wanted to make contact, other than getting rid of the heebie jeebies; my first time in the pool, so to speak. If a third of them were just in ordinary denial (!), a third unable to parse language, does that suggest a third were TRYING to obfuscate/derail/something-like-that? YUCK. You have a hard job.

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  • I think your overreacting.

  • As a feminist (and a copywriter) I must say this headline does not bother me. Someone wrote it without realizing how sensitive some may be to the language but I strongly doubt it was ever ill-intentioned or meant as a “joke”. Perhaps if it said “yes is the new no” it would be a more dangerous (though still unintentional) interpretation. But they’re saying just the opposite. We can’t decide that all uses of the words “no” and “yes” are meant to relate to sexuality and rape. There is far more sexist and more harmful advertising out there. Let’s focus on that.

    • I’m a feminist and copywriter too and I completely agree with you.

  • You must be kidding me. The headline includes Bain capital suggesting somehow Romney was affiliated with an organization that doesn’t take rape seriously? This article is nothing more than a partisan political stunt.

  • What is it with Repubs and bad pizza?

  • b. reasonable

    “That frat, to which both Bush Presidents belonged at one time…” huh? what’s the point of that? Dick Clark and FDR did, too… why not mention them? Oh yeah, because this is actually, first and foremost, a political smear- not actually an article which has real feminist merit. Stop being merely a tool for the patriarchal progressive movement ! I really believe you are smarter than this… there are REAL issues that deserve your attention and your platform!!

    • b. reasonable

      so i call foul… as if the whole Bain thing weren’t spurious enough, you just truly jumped overboard and you’re now skiing with the Fonz- really, what’s the point? There are srsly COUNTLESS perfectly legitimate criticisms of Domino’s, ad campaigns, Bain capital, Tom Monaghan, and that IDIOTIC fraternity that do NOT require this REDONCULOUS conflation and confabulation! Carry on and try harder! :)

    • I mentioned the two most famous DKEs of all time to show that this isn’t some small town, backwater frat and you go riding off into the “political smear” sunset with it.

      Get a grip.

      And I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what the “patriarchal progressive movement” is. Sounds vaguely like something you pulled out of your ass.
      LOTS of things get talked about on this platform and putting one thing up doesn’t stop others from being talked about, as well, so rest assured that your favorite progressive topic wasn’t bumped in order to bring you this piece about a very obvious play on “no means no” which is strongly and forever tied to the anti-rape efforts of countless women’s groups.

      If Domino’s didn’t know that, they fucking SHOULD have and they should pull this offensive ad immediately.

      By the way, I’m deleting your second offensive comment.

      • b. reasonable

        that’s just so strange- i said nothing that was offensive in the other comment. O_o look, we’re on the same side! i’m just calling you out on what is, in my estimation, baloney. that’s all. there are bundles upon bundles of legitimate criticisms of Monaghan, Domino’s, Michigan’s legislature, Bain Capital, Republicans, and that childish fraternity that don’t require this sort of conflation and confabulation. i think you’re hurting the cause, that’s all. i think this ad campaign is a snowclone- nothing more nothing less. However, if enough people are offended, they should let Domino’s know, and Domino’s should come up with a new slogan. tying that to Bain Capital obfuscates that point, and stating that the slogan is “clearly a mashup of… no means no” has no basis of fact- it sure isn’t clear to me. where are your sources? … and the tagline is “no is the new yes”, not “yes is the new no”. big difference! good luck.

    • Accurata

      Language is what Dominos’ campaign is all about; so, let’s look at the language used. Gee, it’s the ‘language of smear’, giving it ‘real feminist merit’, all right! Do you typically respond to people with whom you disagree with language like ‘I really believe you are smarted than this…’? Your condescending language make it clear that you don’t think the writer is smart at all, but is, in fact, too stupid to recognize your unoriginal poor rhetorical device invented at least 200 years ago by Cicero.

  • CarliRotten

    I agree with most of the statements in the article, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t making a rape joke when they made the god damn pizza boxes. Jeez.

  • Zack

    Although you’ve criticized other males in this comment section for failing to recognize that people may be offended by this or interpret in it an offensive way, you need to recognize the limitations of your own interpretation in relation to this slogan. This is to say that just as the fact that you believe a conspiracy theory doesn’t lend it credence, that you can be offended by something as banal and trite as “no is the new yes” is more indicative of your particular mindset and beliefs than it is of any concrete basis for this interpretation.

    Why this is important is that this sort of narrow interpretation – and your outrage at people who don’t share what is frankly an outlandish perspective on this ad campaign – contributes to the alienation of the everyday person who should and could be pissed off about the majority of oppressive policies and structures. Stuff like this is easy fodder for ideological opponents to dismiss our ideas as crockpot trifles. Fight the real battles, not those waged over pizza.

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  • scottishguy

    Just want to say, I agree with you.

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  • I am a proud Democrat. I am liberal, gay, and a feminist. I do not support Domino’s pizza. But this is absurd. This isn’t even political correctness. This is someone looking for something to write an article about in an election year. You deserve to have your blog shut down for stupidity.

  • “By the way, I’m not being an overly-sensitive liberal weenie here. Others have noticed this, too.”

    No, you’re still an overly-sensitive liberal weenie. You’re just an overly-sensitive liberal weenie with company.

    I’m a liberal too, but calm the fuck down.

  • Gooby

    Can’t make pizza without feminists going crazy anymore.

  • Gooby

    You dare to bitch at us for being sexist, and then go make such remarks about how all men think as if you know all me? Sounds like you’re the sexist one here.

  • josephine Defrance
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