The bookstore at a university in Pennsylvania has given some campus feminists a textbook case of the vapors by retailing a six-inch inflatable doll described as the “perfect female specimen.”
The site of the ongoing inflatable doll squabble is West Chester University, a midsize public school about 25 miles west of Philadelphia.
The fracas began on Friday when a student used social media to post an image of the small, bright orange box containing the tiny doll, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The massively offended student had dutifully brought the $7.99 doll in its packaging to a class to show it off as an example of sexism. The professor teaching the class was Lisa Ruchti, West Chester’s director of women’s and gender studies and a fan of Lilith Fair, notes NBC Philadelphia.
The box’s packaging shows a poorly-drawn cartoon woman wearing a black, two-piece bikini. “Inflate for an instant date!” the box declares in comic sans. “Self-inflating. No talking. No headaches. Disposable or reusable.”
After the student’s complaint, the bookstore pulled the doll from shelves and issued an apology.
— WCU Campus Store (@wcu_bookstore) September 18, 2015
But the fierce feminists at West Chester U. refused to be placated. On Wednesday, some 40 students appeared at a protest to hold up signs and continue to complain about a six-inch inflatable doll.
Also on Wednesday, West Chester president Greg R. Weisenstein sent a campus-wide email describing the protest by 40 students over a gag gift as a critical, teachable moment.
“This tasteless and offensive merchandise raised concerns from many on campus who correctly view it as demeaning of women and encouraging of behaviors antithetical to WCU’s mission and values,” Weisenstein wrote, according to the Inquirer.
Protest organizer Irissa Baxter, a WCU graduate student, promised a Thursday morning sit-in at Weisenstein’s office.
Baxter and her fellow diehard protesters are making several demands. They seek, for example, more apologetic language from Weisenstein because, they say, the doll “promotes a culture of gender-based violence and misogyny,” according to the Daily Local News of West Chester
The West Chester campus bookstore sold out of a male version of the same six-inch inflatable doll way back in February, notes The College Fix.
A late request to Baxter for comment remained unanswered at press time.