Show stigma the finger: advertising and censorship

Image of the art wall for Hot Octopuss 'Show Stigma The Finger' campaign

I’ve been looking forward to today like a kid looks forward to Christmas. Today, sex toy company Hot Octopuss launches their ‘Show Stigma The Finger’ campaign, in which they’re promoting a new finger vibe by getting different women to give the finger to different types of stigma and prejudice.

Full disclosure: I work with Hot Octopuss, and although I can’t take any credit for the idea (or the shitload of work that went into it), I got to be part of some discussions in the lead-up to it, and that made me very happy. I was ridiculously excited about the campaign because as part of it the bosses did something I’d like to see a hell of a lot more companies try – seeking out women who are underrepresented in the industry and hiring them to be ambassadors for their new product. The homogeneity of most sex toy marketing is at worst actively harmful and at best a tedious joke. As if whoever designs the adverts and product packaging believes that slim, white, able-bodied cis women in their early twenties are the only people who will ever use a dildo.

So: the campaign. The idea was to hire a number of different women to front the campaign, and be ambassadors for the product (a finger vibrator called DiGiT, if you’re interested – I’ll do a blurb about it at the bottom in case you want to check it out), then plaster New York with posters of the women giving the finger to whatever stigma they most want to tackle.

Show stigma the finger

For example: Lori, one of the ambassadors, is a 55 year old woman who is sticking the finger up to ageism.

“I’m sticking my finger up to all those who think that being 55 years old means I’m past my sexual prime. We’re constantly marginalized, especially when it comes to sex and dating. Pushed aside in favour of younger, perkier versions. Older men are called eligible bachelors and silver foxes, while older women are dubbed old maids and spinsters.”

Lori is right, it’s absolute bullshit. She’s one of six campaign ambassadors, each of whom took part in a kickass photoshoot where they got naked and stuck a finger up to a different harmful thing (transphobia, ableism, homophobia, and more) which she is sick and tired of having to deal with in her life. Hot Octopuss are donating 10% of the proceeds from DiGiT sales to charities chosen by each of the campaign ambassadors, to help fight these stigmas directly.

It’s a cool campaign. Unfortunately, it got banned, because it features nudity. Not pornography, which I agree shouldn’t be shown to people without consent, just plain old nudity: these are photos of women’s bodies with genitals and nipples obscured, with a positive message about crushing stigma and allowing people to live their authentic sexual lives.

It’s bizarre that naked bodies are considered so shocking and disruptive that they’re worth banning.

Anyway. Go check out the Hot Octopuss ‘Show Stigma The Finger’ campaign, see all the different charities that each ambassador has picked to send profits to, and find out more about the actual product Hot Octopuss are promoting – DiGiT. It’s a finger vibrator, which you wear rather than hold, so it’s pretty excellent for giving extra clit stim (or nipple stim, or perineum stim, or whatever-you-like-but-don’t-shove-it-up-your-arse-cos-it’s-not-designed-for-that stim) during sex. It’s pretty powerful, because Hot Octopuss don’t generally fuck about when it comes to power. And 10% of the profits go to the charities chosen by their awesome campaign ambassadors.

I know as part of the campaign I’m meant to take a picture of me showing the finger to a particular type of stigma, but I’m feeling very self-conscious and all the pics I took were rubbish, so instead I’m just sharing this and inviting you to check out the awesome pics from other people – #ShowStigmaTheFinger


Disclosure: I work for Hot Octopuss (doing bits and pieces of writing and social media etc), and they also sponsor my website. They didn’t pay me to write this post, I’m mainly writing it because I really like this campaign and sometimes I also like you to know what I get up to when I’m not busy navelgazing here. 


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