As part of Feminist Week at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, a group of women students decided to explore the gender disparity with some tongue-in-cheek humor in the form of a Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale on Tuesday. The response? Rape and death threats.
The pricing scheme corresponded to one's demographic. "Each baked good will only cost you the proportion out of $1.00 that you earn comparative to men (or, if you identify as a man, all baked goods [will] cost you $1.00!)," the Feminist Week Facebook event page reads.
And that's when the deluge began. The more innocuous objections included calling the women hypocrites with "asinine comments" and describing the initiative as "completely sexist and discrimination against men."
However, as one of the organizers, Madeline Price — who also serves as the student union's vice president of gender and sexuality — wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian on Tuesday, other comments were considerably uglier.
Among them, says Price, were these:
I'm so glad I know this event is on, now I won't have to sort through all the ugly chicks when I'm out clubbing cos they'll all be at feminist week instead.
One person kept it simple with a suggestion to "kill all women."
Price explained how alarmed and surprised she's been at the furor this bake sale stirred up, watching the story swell from local to national to international news. The way the bake sale tailspun was evidence in and of itself of how desperately the conversation around gender disparities is needed.
"The threat to the safety and lives of women, the silencing of women in public spaces and the wage disparity around the world are still very real issues that impact upon women and other marginalized groups in everyday life," Price wrote
"The bake sale may be over, but this discussion is just beginning," she concluded. "And it all started because a couple of male students were upset that they would have to pay $1 for a cupcake."