Seattle MC Draze and local bakeshop Cupcake Royale continue the roll-out of their “Seattle Sweeties” fundraising campaign, an effort to earn money for Mary’s Place, a shelter for homeless women, children and families. The campaign is for a worthy cause and the partners should be lauded for initiating it. The opinions that follow should be taken separately from how 206UP feels about the campaign but are still relevant because of how intrinsically tied the issues are.
Draze dropped the “Seattle Sweeties” single three weeks ago and 206UP had some things to say about the track’s good intentions but disappointing sexist subtext. The Stranger’s Angela Garbes echoed similar sentiments. Five days ago Draze followed up the single with a music video which you can view below. Similar to the audio, the visual is — again — disappointingly reductive for all the reasons 206UP and the Stranger have already given.
As far as making a meaningful, nuanced artistic statement about the endemic that is institutionalized sexism Draze and Cupcake Royale, with their song and video, have failed miserably. To be fair, however, that’s probably not their area of expertise nor their original intention.
In the Garbes piece, Cupcake Royale’s Chief Operating Officer Nicki Kerbs is notably glib in her response to the charges of the “Seattle Sweeties” campaign being problematic. It seems that, to her, a cupcake is just a cupcake.
Of course you don’t have to be Don Draper to know that in the advertising/marketing game it’s never that simple. The same factors that play inside your brain, convincing you you must have that cupcake now, wage war on the same subconscious battlefield that allows sexist viewpoints to institutionalize themselves and become societal norms. The term “sweeties” — as innocuous as it sounds — carries negative connotations for many women. If Draze and Cupcake Royale intended to usurp those connotations, then more power to them; it’s just unfortunate they did it in the wrong way.