People are raging over ‘sexist’ beer mats given to University of Sussex students


The University of Sussex has been the target of criticism after handing out sexually suggestive beer mats in their welcome packs, with many calling it ‘sexist'.

Produced by toothbrush subscription box Brushbox, they asked whether students ‘spit or swallow’ as part of a dental regime.

The photo and the accompanying text has been heavily criticised online as it implied oral sex and depicted a sexualised image of a woman’s mouth.

Mumsnet users were the first to spot the beer mats, and some people on the website compared them to ‘pornography'.

The text read:

Whether you spit or swallow as part of your (twice…) daily oral regime, place your oral health on autopilot with Brushbox.

Sharing the photo, one person wrote on Twitter:

Young woman is accepted to the University of Sussex and this is in her welcome bag. WTF Sussex Uni Do you have any respect for women? This is sexual harassment.

"Shocking that a place where people go to expand their minds are subjected to this. Shame on you!" another chimed.

People were appalled.

The University of Sussex’ Student Union apologised for what they called an ‘oversight’ and said the supply company Dig-In had not followed their "procedures and checks".

They added: "[We do] not support or condone the inappropriate material distributed on behalf of Brushboxes, which was found in the Dig-In Boxes delivered to all Freshers this year."

We have been in contact with Dig-In and we have been assured that this promotional material will no longer be included in their boxes and that mechanisms are put in place so that this cannot occur again.

A spokesperson for the University of Sussex has also commented on the issue, stating: "We can absolutely see why this promotional material in our Students’ Union’s freshers packs has sparked such a strong reaction.

We’re sure this discussion will continue and that our Students’ Union and other student unions will feed back the reaction to the company responsible.

The apologies came thick and quickly as Brushbox said sorry for causing offence, too.

A spokesperson said:

We now realise it was inappropriate and misguided of us to use this type of image as a way to raise awareness of dental health issues.

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