This may come as a shock to some ofÂ you, but the mainstream Sex Toy/Novelty industry isn’t, as a whole, the most feminist/politically-progressive industry so part of our mission at Early to Bed, has always been to seek out smaller, indie companies when we can. We are thrilled that we are able to support a lot of small, woman, feminist and/or queer-owned/run companies that make things like silicone dildos, harnesses, body-safe lube, BDSM stuff and some of the higher end vibes that we sell.
But we also buy toys from large corporations that make a majority of our mass-market vibes, dildos and whatnot – if we want to be able to offer a $9 vibrator, we have to. Maybe these companies aren’t the most politically progressive or feminist, but we trust them for the most part and in the nine years we have been in business, I have seem most of them grow to be more inclusive of women’s needs, making better, safer toys and less sexist, more-informative packaging.
So it made me really angry when I saw this blatantly misogynistic description of a male masturbation toy on a manufacture’s website:
She’s everything you want from a woman, without all the bullshit, with no strings attached–literally! Dress her up in your favorite stockings or lingerie, hide her under the covers in bed, or just fuck her silly from behind all night long–she never says no!
This was written about a pair of fuckable legs (yes, I said fuckable legs) and while I wouldn’t necessarily want that toy in my shop, I don’t take issue with the product itself (or any other of the parts-of-women sex toys this company makes). What I do take issue with is the assumption that women are full of bullshit and our right to say “no” to sex gets in the way of men’s pleasure. I have no idea if this wonderfully-written copy is on the packaging, but since it is on the company’s website, other websites that sell this toy copy and paste this language, so these lovely sentiments gets repeated over and over (there are actually a few items in this series and they all have the same misogynistic descriptions).
Now I have seen a lot of stupid shit in industry but never have I seen such nastiness against women promoted by a major corporation, so I made the decision to phase-out products we sell by this company and this makes me sad. It makes me sad because I thought we were beyond this kind of angry, anti-woman rhetoric but also because they make some toys that our customers really like and I do hate disappointing people.
I know some people might think I am just being a humorless lesbian and should lighten up, but the truth is I started this business to make the purchasing of sex toys fun & safe for all people but especially for women who had been left out of the equation for so long. I wanted to create a space where women were treated as people with valid sexual needs and desires instead of the just the sexual objects that so much of society views us as.Â I feel like I would be betraying these principles if I continued to support a company that thinks it is ok to talk about women in such a hateful way. And yes, I know that our discontinuation of a few toys from this huge company won’t make a dent in their wallet, but at least I can leave work tonight and feel like I took a stand, a little stand, for women.