So, there's this big medical cannabis convention that comes to town every few months to a year, and I went once before but it was pretty uncomfortable for me, as far as noise and seating and lights and overall sensory overload. The samples were awesome, the networking was cool, the different booths were interesting, and I sure did love the chance to try out a huge variety of products, but since my first visit, it seems things have changed.
Suddenly, this medical marijuana expo has become more than a little about exploiting women. Joining the ranks of car shows and comic-con, individual booths hire women to be friendly and wear scanty clothing, and the event itself hosts contests for women that are little more than wet t-shirt contests.
The sexual exploitation of women has nothing to do with marijuana, medical or otherwise, but that it's featured so heavily at an industry event that features professional speakers and the opportunity for patients to connect with caregivers, is really disappointing.
I wrote an email to the generic info address listed on their website. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, I honestly didn't expect to make a difference, but I thought I should say what is true and what is true is that the easy sexualization of women makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and it's particularly inappropriate in a setting that is supposed to be for the MEDICAL cannabis industry. Do we have women in bikinis at diabetes conferences? I'm pretty sure not. Anyway, here's how the emailing went down, verbatim, and it gets all kinds of [sic] down there, be warned.
steph: Hi there, I'm looking at your website and noted a few pictures of scantily clad women in provocative poses. Will there also be scantily clad men at the San Jose Hempcon on 4/20? If so, you should feature photos of them in your advertising, it would be a huge draw to at least half of the population. If there will not be scantily clad men, I would like to request them. Besides, you guys wouldn't want to be perpetuating sexism, would you? Thanks!
Hempcon: Oh please.
steph: oh please.. accept progressive ideas and have a sense of humor about your own failings?
Hempcon: Failings ? A multi-A market Business to consumers MM Convention.
And what have you contributed ?
steph:Wow. I'm really disappointed in your hostile response, here. I'm giving you and your event constructive criticism. I'm not being nasty or rude. I even tried to be a little funny, to take the edge off. Admitting your event has an element to it that is sexist and likely makes at least a portion of your patrons uncomfortable would be a good thing. I don't expect it to change, but I do expect it to be at least respectfully acknowledged.
Hempcon: So sensitive Ms. [steph]? Use your Willed Effort some Where else.
We have In "Compassionate Intent - contributed ",..more to the medical marijuana cannabis Industry In California and Abroad than you can ever imagine.
The Hempcon convention Allows the MM Cannabis Industry to come together for 3 days to advertise,brand,market,network,promote And sell their products & services to thousands of pro-positive 420 compassionate consumers In a well organized,sare & comfortable environment. And If We Have T&A on The Website -so Be It.
Unless You are in The Business To Finance Research,Develop,Launch ,Produce and promote A multi-Market Million Dollar Trade Show, Keep The Line Clear.
Emerson D. Waters
Hempcon Senior Business Relations
steph: Should I attribute quotes to Emerson D. Waters?
I stopped at this point, he never replied to my last email and obviously wasn't interested in opening a dialogue about how to make his event more welcoming to paying customers, and that's sad for him, the event, and the industry. Perhaps I shouldn't have started out with the humorous tone, maybe my super-professional voice would have gotten better results, but I doubt that. People who make money off the exploitation of others are rarely looking to change. But I stood up and said what was true, and now I'm standing up again to say it louder:
This is not ok.
And I will not stop until the sexual objectification of my gender stops. I'll probably be at it until I die, and I'll meet a hundred more condescending, sexist guys like old Emerson up there, but they will not shut me up and they sure as hell won't keep us down. The oppressors of women and other minorities will eventually go out of fashion, be labeled for the bigoted, embarrassing dinosaurs they are, and when they all finally die off, society will be better for it, and we will rejoice.