Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory dumps ‘Bottle of Boobs’ product after claims of sexism
A popular organic chocolatier has scrapped its “Bottle of Boobs” product after activists accused the NSW company of being sexist and dehumanising women.
Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory has been selling containers of the chocolate – depicting disembodied women’s breasts – for about 14 years, but after Collective Shout began a social media campaign this week, the product was quickly removed.
Collective Shout spokeswoman Caitlin Roper told NCA NewsWire the chocolatier had reduced women to sexualised parts “for literal consumption”.
“This is an example of everyday sexism and the casual dehumanisation of women,” she said.
“It’s not about offence … it’s about the known, established harms of objectifying women.”
Junee managing director Neil Druce told NCA NewsWire the company donated a portion of the profits to breast cancer charities.
He said it first started when women raising money for breast cancer awareness approached the company about making the chocolates, which they were happy to do.
“Our staff followed it up and made it happen,” he said.
The chocolates were sold all-year round, with a small percentage of sales going to charity, he added.
Mr Druce said the company removed the link for the chocolate online to “have a think” after they were contacted by Collective Shout and others.
“We did a survey of our staff … everyone said ‘no, we’ve got to keep it — it’s a great cause’,” he said.
Only one person from a team of 60 employees — of which only four are men — raised concerns.
Mr Druce likened it to telling a joke where everyone laughed except one person.
“Is that still a funny joke that I keep telling? If it hurts them, you stop doing it,” he said.
The company will now instead promote its pink almonds to raise money for breast cancer awareness charities.
Mr Druce also hit out at some people online who he claimed had “harassed” and “threatened” his company and staff.
“A lot of ladies in our organisation are upset with them,” he said.
In a social media post that came after Mr Druce spoke to NCA NewsWire, the company said when the product was launched, it was met with overwhelming support, but had now been the focal point of “direct attacks”.
“We would never intentionally hurt or ‘dehumanise’ our customers and general public,” the post read.
Ms Roper said sexualising breasts to raise awareness about cancer only served to trivialise the issue and reduced women’s worth to having perky breasts, rather than it being about saving women’s lives.
She further noted there were many breast cancer survivors who had endured mastectomies.
“So that is quite a slap in the face,” she said.
Collective Shout supporters have used social media to weigh in on the debate, expressing outrage towards the chocolatier.
Melinda Liszewski wrote: “These companies use breast cancer charities as a way to boost ‘awareness’ of their brand, not the other way around as they claim. This is self evident – if they cared about women’s lives they would not sexually objectify us.”
Renee Chopping posted: “Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory have demonstrated a refusal to see this for what it is – appropriating women’s body parts for $$$. Just because a portion of the profits are being donated doesn’t make this OK.”
But supporters of the chocolatier were equally vocal, saying it was a shame the product was being discontinued.
Leanne Pilotto Pow wrote: “I myself am a breast cancer survivor and I think the more in your face it is, the better. I do not take any offence to what you have done. And I had a double mastectomy.”
Desley Malin Twiner commented: “I am so sorry to hear this; as a breast cancer survivor, I appreciate your efforts. I have also bought them for my surgeon and his nurse a few times and they loved them. So sad to see them go.”
Originally published as Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory dumps ‘Bottle of Boobs’ product after claims of sexism
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