Any beauty product that suggests you'll get catcalled after using it seems like a terrible investment.
The packaging for a new Vanilla Flame Body Butter released by Güd, a sub-brand of Burt's Bees, reads: “Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence.”
The label suggests that catcalling is something desirable that women enjoy or encourage -- which is far from the truth. According to anti-street harassment activism group Hollaback!, catcalling is the "most common form of gender-based violence globally." And it's far from harmless. Long-term side effects include anxiety, depression, and even PTSD. Many of the women who have shared their stories on iHollaback.org have written about the ways in which catcalling has disrupted their lives, including "missing school, changing jobs or moving homes to avoid exposure."
In response to the backlash Burt's Bees received on Twitter and Facebook, the company released a standard non-apology on the Güd Facebook page: "We apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone. Güd, from Burt’s Bees, in no way encourages gender-based harassment and the objectification of women."
Hollaback! drafted a Change.org petition to Burt's Bees asking them to issue a real apology and redesign the product's packaging. According to the petition, "[Burt's Bees] are trying to sell lotion with the promise of the male gaze, when really all we want is lotion from a company that endorses our right to feel safe and confident in public space."
Your move, Burt's Bees.