Sex Sells, but When It Comes to Female Pleasure, the New York Subway Isn’t So Sure – The New York Times

Supported by
In her words
A sex toy company is suing the M.T.A. for banning its advertising, calling it a “double standard.”

You’re reading In Her Words, where women rule the headlines.
Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox. Let me know what you think at [email protected].
“Our mission is to close the pleasure gap.”
Alexandra Fine, co-founder of the sex-toy company Dame, which is suing the M.T.A. for rejecting its advertisements
Riding the New York City subways is not exactly a wholesome experience. There are rats skittering across the platforms, men constantly spewing lewd and crude comments, and the ever-present stench of urine. By comparison, the ads that grace train cars and station walls are tame, even the ones that are more adult themed.
There are advertisements for condoms, breast augmentations and the Museum of Sex, some of which include images of bare or nearly bare body parts, particularly breasts.
And then there are those memorable ads from Roman and Hims for erectile dysfunction medications — posters that included a close-up photo of a man’s crotch and shots of droopy or rigid cactuses (get it?).
But when it comes to showing female sexuality, there appears to be a different standard.
In December, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s subway system, rejected an ad campaign by the sex-toy company Dame Products, which featured its small, colorful vibrators along with the tagline: “Toys, for sex.” Why? Because Dame is “a sexually oriented business,” the M.T.A. told the company.
Dame, which is among a recent surge of products that embraces feminism as part of its marketing, announced this week that it was suing the M.T.A., citing censorship and sexism in its complaint. Dame also called it a “ridiculous double standard.”
“There’s plenty of space for erectile dysfunction drugs, but none for innovators making sex enjoyable for women,” Dame said on its website in a post about the lawsuit.
Dame is not the first company to take issue with the M.T.A. for these reasons.
After an outcry last year, the M.T.A. said it would work with the sex-toy company Unbound to permit its ads, after originally rejecting them. Like Dame, Unbound had accused the M.T.A. of a gendered double standard. However, those ads never ran.
Remember Thinx, the menstrual-underwear company? In 2015, the M.T.A. rejected its ads, which featured halved grapefruits and women in shirts and underwear, along with the phrase: “For women with periods.” Eventually, the ads did run.
And last week, the same week that Dame announced its lawsuit, Boston’s transit authority rejected an ad campaign by the women’s co-working space The Wing.
The ads — which included the phrase “Want to mute the mansplainers and start your own conversation?” — apparently violated the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s policy against ads that include “political issues or matters of public debate.”
What do you think?
[MORE, from Opinion: Vaginas Deserve Giant Ads, Too]
No, we shouldn’t need a handbook. But the workplace still isn’t equal. In this special section, we teach you how to dodge the land mines, fight bias and not burn out in the process.
This week, the sociologist Marianne Cooper shares concrete advice on what to do if you’re being sexually harassed. Check out the full series at
Here are five articles from The Times you might have missed.
“This is what happens to women who come forward.” President Trump again denied sexually assaulting the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, above, in the 1990s, saying he wouldn’t have done so because “she’s not my type.” Our executive editor, Dean Baquet, revisited how The Times handled her allegations. [Read the story]
“White men’s electability advantage is a myth.” A new study found that in large part, women and people of color are now as likely to win their elections as white men. [Read the story]
“We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.” While some countries are strengthening L.G.B.T.Q. rights protections, others are clamping down in response to a wave of conservatism. [Read the story]
“I’ve changed genders.” Here’s a look inside the office debut of Maeve DuVally, one of Goldman Sachs’s few trans employees. [Read the story]
“Knitting has always been political.” Ravelry, a popular website for knitters and crocheters, banned pro-Trump content, and reactions flooded in. [Read the story]
For Pride Month, we’re looking back at The Times’s coverage of L.G.B.T.Q. people and issues.
“Singing, chanting, clad in festive and arresting garb, thousands of homosexuals marched through mid-Manhattan.” That’s how The New York Times described the Christopher Street Liberation Day march, a precursor to modern L.G.B.T. pride celebrations, in a 1973 article. (The first march took place in 1970.)
Among the participants were members of “Parents of Gays” — which later became the L.G.B.T. rights group Pflag — and the drag queens pictured here. But this picture, taken by our photographer Librado Romero, did not run in the newspaper.
Instead, readers saw a picture of a “lesbian band providing music” for the “large contingent of lesbian feminists” marching behind them.
Read past In Her Words here.
Sign up here to get In Her Words delivered to your inbox!


You might also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *