Sex, Drugs, and Dan Bilzerian - The Problem With Sexism In Cannabis
There was a time I followed Dan Bilzerian on Instagram. I have a thing for bearded men, and I didn’t really mind that he was posing photos of almost-naked women all the time. I didn’t really mind the guns, either, and I was amused by his love for pot.
But I woke up one day and just lost my appetite for his posts. They were no longer entertaining, so I hit unfollow sometime after he announced he was getting into the cannabis space by launching his company, Ignite.
I have no problem with Dan Bilzerian entering the cannabis space, but the issue is that he’s tainted it with his brand of sexism. Considering we’re working hard to fight the current stigma of cannabis, sexism is the last thing the industry needs. Ignite’s massive outdoor billboards in California have ruffled feathers – understandably, because they’re shouting sex.
“Bilzerian has nearly 26 million Instagram followers, a measure of fame he’s earned by touting a lavish, bro-centric lifestyle. He’s adopted a similar MO when it comes to branding Ignite, rolling out an Instagram account flooded with women in thongs and lingerie and a “Spokesmodel Search” for ten ladies to represent the company at events including parties at the ‘Ignite Estates’,” said VICE.
This isn’t something we should be supporting. The misogynistic advertisements are not needed in any form; we should be promoting cannabis as a medicine and touting its healing benefits instead of associating it with women and sex. Cannabis companies should be working to become more inclusive and not the opposite. It’s exploitation.
To make matters worse, it all makes Dan Bilzerian just one more of the many straight white men who dominate the cannabis industry. When it comes to cannabis, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community have all been marginalized, face higher risks of assault and harassment, and so much more in the real world – they shouldn’t have to deal with this if they want to use cannabis for ANY reason.
Sure, Dan Bilzerian isn’t the only one who’s perpetuating sexism in cannabis, but he’s in the spotlight because he’s just so damn famous. And that isn’t a good thing.
The sad part is that tight restrictions in cannabis advertising only allow Bilzerian and other moneyed people the ability to advertise in the way they do. Advertisements are overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a federal body that still considers cannabis to be illegal.
How You Can Help Fight Sexism In Cannabis
Discrimination in any form is not welcome in cannabis. It has no place in the world, and certainly not in the cannabis community. But you can help change that.
Stop supporting Ignite and other sexist cannabis brands. Your dollar is your vote. Don’t hire booth babes to help promote your booth at cannabis trade shows. Make your voice heard and use the internet to protest against these brands.
Stop using women as a form of entertainment and marketing for cannabis.
Instead, support women-owned cannabis brands and products, and acknowledge the many ways women are trailblazing this industry. Understand that women can not only be sexy, but they are also intelligent creatures who can have great positive influence in the cannabis industry if you let it.
Sexual objectification in cannabis is everywhere: just look at sites such as ganjaporn.com, girls4ganja.com, 420girls.com….. all of these websites feature women with almost no clothing on. It’s like porn with pot. Yet, women ALLOW themselves to pose in suggestive photos, knowing fully well that it could arouse some men. It’s their choice, but we have a choice not to support it.
The power in cannabis that is available to people should be shared and not hoarded. While we shouldn’t support the women who allow themselves to be objectified, they also must not be shamed. But we should focus our attention on encouraging both genders to have a positive impact on a wider audience while working on breaking the stigmas of cannabis; stigmas that have strip the dignity from both cannabis and women.
Bigotry – whether it’s racism or sexism, are already part of our culture. It’s a problem. But those in the cannabis industry are given the unique advantage to rebel against bigotry, and we should do whatever we can instead of promoting it.