How a Feminist Bake Sale led to Death Threats

by Kaleigh Wright

How do you prove that gender inequality and sexism still exist? The easiest way, as the University of Queensland discovered, is to throw a bake sale.

As part of the Australian university’s annual “Feminist Week,” the University of Queensland’s Student Union hosted a Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale last Tuesday. Cupcakes and brownies were sold with prices set at $1 and discounted in proportion of the dollar females (and some males) earn relative to white men. The numbers were based on Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which reports that women make, on average, only 83% compared with their male counterparts.

Discounts were also given based on race, sexual orientation, and career field. As explained on the UQU Event Calendar, “For example, if you are a woman of colour in the legal profession, a baked good at the stall will only cost you 55 cents!”

But the heat on the event was rising before the batter was ever mixed. Keyboard warriors took to the Facebook event page, as well as the personal pages of the organizers, in an ironic attempt to discredit sexism and the pay gap.

Comments such as “Kill all women” were a common theme on UQ StalkerSpace, a Facebook page followed by 37,500 people, most of whom are students of the university. Threats of violence and rape flooded the page days before the event:

“Feminists are fucking scum, they should be put down as babies.”

“I want to rape these feminist cunts with their fucking baked goods.”

Though the backlash on the Internet was plentiful, the bake sale went off without a hitch Tuesday afternoon. The stall sold over 200 baked goods in less than an hour, with many men happily handing over the full dollar.

And while the bake sale was meant to start a conversation, no one imagined just how loud that conversation would become. The very real issues of sexism and discrimination that women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community face on a daily basis were made loud and clear by those who refuse to believe those issues even exist.

Who would have thought a cupcake could prove just how much we really need feminism?

Image via Instagram

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