Today’s Burlington Free Press brings news of a returning product line at Burton Snowboards: a series of snowboards featuring Playboy bunnies. They tried this once before, and suffered an intense barrage of criticism for exploiting women’s bodies.
Somehow, Burton was shocked by that. I guess he was too deeply immersed in snow-bro culture to realize that much of the world has moved beyond the objectification of women.
And still is, since he’s bringing back the Bunny boards. But he’s ready for the critics:
“Since Burton was founded nearly 40 years ago, we’ve supported freedom of artistic expression. Board graphics are artwork, and we understand that art can be offensive to some and inspiring to others. I strongly back our latest snowboard collection with Playboy and was involved in the project from the beginning.”
How noble. How high-minded.
What a pile of horse hockey.
Look, I don’t mind if Burton wants to plaster naked Bunnies on snowboards. I think it’s tasteless, but I’m not in their target demographic.
I do mind the utter bullshit about artistic expression.
This isn’t about art. It’s about money. It’s about designing snowboards and equipment that will appeal to Burton’s audience, many of whom are testosterone-fueled young dudebros.
So please, Jake, just be honest. It’s not that hard. Try this on for size:
“We are a business, and we have an obligation to our employees and shareholders to market products that appeal to our customers. We see an opportunity to expand our line and form a partnership with an iconic brand.
“It is not our intent to offend, but snowboard art is often transgressive. We offer a wide array of snowboard designs to appeal to all kinds of athletes.”
Is that so hard? Just admit you’re a businessman, and that profit occasionally trumps principle. You might still face some protests, but hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?
Just stop insulting us with your transparent appeals to “artistic freedom.” Just stop.