Media comprehension key to “Date Grape” backlash

The Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory opened a few weeks ago, sporting a highly offensive drink name called “Date Grape Koolaid,” a wordplay on a serious and sensitive issue, date rape. Protesters have expressed their dislike of the drink name by protesting outside the bar, creating a Facebook page to attract attention, and contacting SDDF’s advertisers to make them aware of what they’re endorsing — an establishment that finds rape jokes funny. The owner of SDDF has responded through social media in juvenile ways, lacking professionalism in handling a severe issue. For example, on the SDDF Facebook page, a status was posted stating, “Come on in! We are having a Grape Time!!”

Rather than focusing on just punishing the owner’s insensitivity, we need to focus on educating those in our community. When people in Spokane can’t recognize that making fun of rape is truly horrible, it means we are failing them.

Although I am appalled by the owner’s lack of tact, respect and dignity in this situation, I am also concerned for the backlash that protesters have suffered from their own community.

Not everyone in the community is offended by the drink name. Several posts on Facebook from Spokane residents have bashed those who have taken action against such an insensitive drink name. Comments such as “Why don’t you people focus your energy on something that actually matters in this town?” and “People just need to toughen up” have littered various Facebook pages over the past week. One commenter on a Facebook page protesting the Daiquiri Factory posted, “I went there and had the drink. I immediately wanted to date rape somebody.”

It shouldn’t take an incident like this to rally the troops. We should be constantly advocating for the understanding of how media outlets have deeply embedded a passive attitude toward rape into our society. We should be constantly educating people on media literacy — to analyze the meaning behind advertisements which implant expectations and falsehoods into people’s minds. We should be constantly learning and thinking — how can we better media representations of people?

This incident brought inconsistencies to light. Although I immensely admire the protesters’ recent advocacy of this issue, it shouldn’t stop even though the Daiquiri Factory has made a slight, still offensive, alteration to the name. This is an ongoing lesson that the Spokane community needs to address, as made clear by the uninformed remarks stated by some Spokane residents.

Chrissy Roach Opinions Editor

Contact Chrissy Roach at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

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