Tits and Ash: Why Weed Sites Cater to the Male Gaze

When six frustrated pot entrepreneurs got together to launch TheNug.com, an Oakland-based site dedicated to "weed, women, and other important stuff," they thought they'd stumbled on an Internet gold mine. Who knew that weed sells better when it's accompanied by pictures of hot naked women? And who knew that, by larding a website with boob pictures, it's possible to jack up traffic and maybe even yank your product from the snowy hinterlands of the Internet?

Everyone did, apparently. Including Nug content curator "T Bone," whose most recent Nug article discusses the objectification of women — or rather, innocuous, bikini-clad promo girls — at cannabis events. In fact, cannabis sites have a long history of pandering to the so-called "male gaze," trying to hook readers in with nude model pics that have no apparent connection to the product at hand.

That actually makes very little sense, says "PMad," co-founder of a San Francisco site called GGDub, which touts itself as more progressive and woman-oriented than most of its competitors. When you think about it, he says, weed is just like lavender. It's a light, feathery herb; feminine, even.

Yet most weed sites seem unapologetically tailored for a male demographic: boob slideshows, bikini chicks, inane action-figure cartoon shows featuring characters like The Nug's "Master Kush." PMad blames their advertising model. Since Google Adsense prohibits sites that sell drugs or drug paraphernalia, weed sites have long had to use alternate avenues, he says. Many of them courted porn advertisers because they occupied the same taboo zone.

"Adult Friend-Finder, or any of those types of ads ­— they'd always accept you," says PMad.

But it doesn't have to be that way, he says. When PMad ceded day-to-day operations of GGDub to his wife, she helped add many feminine touches, including a "weediquette" video cribbed from Vice Magazine, and a Health & Living section with posts on breasts — advice about them, rather than pictures of them — and a recipe for vegan chocolate mousse. Even the web fonts seem softer, girlier, and more pastel-colored than they are on other sites. There are photos of girls, but they're less overtly sexualized than The Nug's, even, nearly, artistic: Shots of women smoking from bongs, close-ups of buds, smoke tumbling from mouths. The focus is different, more relevant; here, the pot is the porn.

Granted, the acronym "GGDub" is a reference to the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise. PMad says their site began as a spoof on 420 Girls, a 20-year-old webzine featuring 15,000 pictures of naked girls smoking weed (updated weekly). He and his wife got serious after they started receiving fan mail and submissions from female readers — not just girls looking to start a nude modeling career, he says, but actual real-life potheads with a keen interest in pot paraphernalia. It turns out there's plenty of them.

 
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4 comments
sneadh
sneadh

Works for pot, same as it works for car and beer ads.

floydthursby1941
floydthursby1941

Men like sex, women like drugs. Sure some women like some sex, some men like some drugs, but overall men like sex way more than women do as women are free but men are always asking women for it, when a man goes home from a bar after trying for a hookup without he feels bad, women don't feel bad they feel normal.  Men often pay women for it.  However, women often become more sexual with marijuana and if a guy has pot, they'll hang out with him for free pot and when comfortable, often have sex with him.  I don't even like pot it makes me vomit but once when I gained weight and went 6 months without sex and couldn't take it anymore I became a pothead, got laid a couple times, then went off pot and focused on weight loss.  I think about it all the time and just couldn't go any longer and didn't have money for hookers, just enough for pot.  I also wanted real sex, making out, etc., didn't want a hooker.  But I found really hot college girls would hang out and end up having a lot of sex with me if I paid for the pot.  It's no different than paying for dinner or drinks.

elizabethfrantes
elizabethfrantes

This sort of pornvertising makes dispensaries "hostile environments" for females.  Brownie Mary never would have been used as a model, and she did more for sick people than all those thugs ever have or ever will.  Sure, their girlfriends have pain from their implants, so they "deserve" free pot, whereas the sick, the homeless, those in SROs, who need the pot the most, can't afford the artificially high prices.  


elizabethfrantes
elizabethfrantes

This is just proof that pot is run by thugs, and medical marijuana is a sham.  It's so expensive that real patients simply can't afford it.  It's expensive only because of the huge rate of taxation, both direct and indirect, and the politicians, their minions, and the lawyers and others parasitizing pot are costing california BILLIONS every year.  The only reason it's expensive is because the supply is kept artificially low, and the price high, by this "taxation without decriminalization"  I say, grow it, smoke it, share it, barter it, but sell legally only to the dispensaries so that that the most needy have what they need.  BTW, for elected/appointed officials to be collecting ANY revenues from dispensaries is TECHNICALLY racketeering, so why aren't the Feds going after them?  Round up the usual suspects . ..

 
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