When does commercial wokeness become too woke? I don’t know that the line is clearly delineated, but you can tell you’ve crossed it when you’re criticizing President Donald Trump’s policies on abortion and even Planned Parenthood won’t take your donations afterward.
That’s the case with Dhvani, an athletic company that decided to protest the Trump administration’s so-called “gag rule,” a change to Title X Family Planning Program which denies federal grant funds to any program “where abortion is a method of family planning.”
What did Dhvani decide was the best way to confront the Trump administration over this? By a series of images in which the president is portrayed as being hog-tied by one woman or having tape put over his mouth by several members of the distaff gender.
Another ad, meanwhile, shows the president on the toilet with his pants around his ankles with another woman taking his cell phone away from him.
If you hadn’t heard of Dhvani before this, you’re not alone. Consider this is a company which, as of early Monday morning, had only 271 followers on Twitter despite having an account since December of 2017. Those numbers are going up quickly, though. By those metrics alone, the campaign — which was unveiled last week and has been slowly rolled out in the interim — is a success.
(WARNING: A bit of swearing and objectionable material ahead. Reader discretion is advised.)
This is not OK.
Attacking Gold Star families is not OK.
Mocking a disabled American on national TV is not OK.
Referring to America’s allies as “shithole countries” is not OK.
Calling white supremacists “very fine people” is not OK. pic.twitter.com/fheP8FctM1
— DHVANI (@DhvaniWear) October 15, 2019
Dhvani went all-in on this one, too, putting the billboard of Trump being hog-tied above Times Square in New York City.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2019
According to TheBlaze, the featured model on that one was Michal Mesa, a Marine Corps vet and middle school teacher. I suppose it depends on how liberal the district she teaches in is, but have fun explaining that one to the kiddies’ parents.
The Hill reported that the rope used to hogtie the president was supposed to represent the “truth lasso” used by Wonder Woman, according to the Dhvani CEO Avi Brown. The storm in the background “represents the inevitable and supernatural power of justice,” Brown said.
The ad is intended to give “a voice to women.” At long last, women are speaking up against Trump, something none of them have done before. It’s almost as if pop culture or the Washington cultural milieu has been devoid of female voices against Trump for the last few years.
If only they’d get a woman in Democrat leadership or on the campaign trail, or maybe make a TV series out of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This patriarchy needs to end.
Meanwhile, the company itself was busy comparing itself to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, taking a knee against the Title X rule changes and other things that are “not OK”:
Today, DHVANI is taking a stand against the Trump administration’s Title X “Gag Rule”. Established in 1970 with bipartisan support, the Title X program provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes.
— DHVANI (@DhvaniWear) October 18, 2019
One of the most beautiful things about America is that we are all free to make our own choices. If you disagree with our stance, vote with your dollars by shopping elsewhere. If you are with us, please join us as at https://t.co/JBBsTlrmXU as we #StandForSomething together.
— DHVANI (@DhvaniWear) October 18, 2019
And then this final post in the thread, which — as a disclaimer — sets some kind of record for lack of self-awareness.
DHVANI produced the images of this campaign to artistically express the frustrations we believe many women share. All images are metaphorical in nature only. DHVANI does NOT and will NEVER condone violence of ANY KIND.
— DHVANI (@DhvaniWear) October 18, 2019
“DHVANI produced the images of this campaign to artistically express the frustrations we believe many women share,” the company stated at the end of the Friday tweetstorm. “All images are metaphorical in nature only. DHVANI does NOT and will NEVER condone violence of ANY KIND.”
We play this parlor game a lot — but try this with any president who isn’t Republican and see how far it gets you. See how long it is before your CEO is on an MSNBC show, answering questions about why a company is culturally suborning the murder of the president. I can see the kind of Starbucks-latte frothing rage Lawrence O’Donnell would be worked into: “How dare you, ma’am? How dare you? How dare you?”
But no — anything that doesn’t affirm the right to unfettered abortion (or funding for those abortionists) is sexist. But you say women are against abortion, too? Well, they’re clearly experiencing some form of Stockholm Syndrome after thousands of years of patriarchy. Thank you, next? (I’m guessing this is their reaction, please don’t tell me if it’s not because I doubt what they came up with was that much better.)
“This is just saying: Let’s put a gag order on him. Enough is enough. We support impeachment,” Brown told The Washington Post. “Our intent is for our brand to stand for progressive change in the face of what we perceive to be steps backwards in the evolution of our country.”
The bravery it must take to come out against Trump at this late stage.
What liberals refuse to concede is that Trump is clearly not a sexist man, this president who’s appointed the first female Border Patrol chief and has more women as top advisers than Barack Obama, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton did. This matters not in feminism-land, where the only true test of your devotion to the cause is whether you support abortion on demand without any restrictions. If you don’t, you’re a misogynist — and every bit as deserving of the “lasso of truth” treatment as Trump was.
The ad went up in Times Square on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported, but drew little notice on until Thursday when it was the subject of media reports, including Fox News.
Donald Trump Jr. attacked the ad in a Twitter post on Friday, and compared it to the coverage given a violent video video that was shown at a conference of Trump supporters at the Trump National Doral Miami. (Note: Some strong language ahead.)
Hey @NYTimes and MSM. Since you had time to thoroughly cover a stupid and tasteless meme seen by 8 people with incredible outrage, I figured you should dedicate the same time and outrage to THIS BILLBOARD IN TIMES SQUARE you hypocrites!
Unless of course you’re just full of shit. pic.twitter.com/fsEF6ClRuv
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 18, 2019
The ad also drew sharp responses from Trump supporters on social media.
As a Veteran myself who still honors my Oath, I would encourage all Military and Veterans to Boycott Dhvani across the country.
Boycott, boycott, boycott. https://t.co/ITJUrQMQ9f
— Tim Pollard (@TimNH2351) October 18, 2019
— Elaine Larson (@LarsonElaineM) October 18, 2019
I dont care who you are, this is disrespectful, tasteless and pure trash! Sadly it says way more about you than him..pathetic! If don’t find this offensive, check your heart, you got a hate problem! #DHVANI
— AmyLeonard (@mrsamyleonard) October 19, 2019
The great irony here is that even Planned Parenthood is disavowing this. According to Ad Age, “Portland-based Dhvani is giving five percent of its gross sales through the end of the year to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.”
Well, was. Here’s Planned Parenthood’s response: “Planned Parenthood does not endorse this campaign, nor will we be accepting funds raised by this campaign,” Melanie Newman, senior vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.
“Our staff members have faced threats and acts of violence for doing their jobs, and many of our patients turn to us as their safe space for care after facing violence in their lives. We do not condone violence or violent imagery against anyone.”
Yes, even Planned Parenthood thinks this is out of line.
Quick, Dhvani — try that Colin Kaepernick line out on us again.
Maybe that’ll wallpaper over what a reprehensible, indefensible stunt this was.
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