Since April, Domino’s Pizza has used the slogan “No is the New Yes” to sell their Artisan Pizza.
The small type that you probably can’t read in that image explains that customers aren’t able to request changes on these fancy-dancy pizzas because their chefs “created each of our four Artisan pizzas with the ideal combination of ingredients to produce the most distinctive, delicious flavors possible.” The idea: “NO, you can’t change the toppings, but YES, you’ll love it!”
I’m sure they’re proud of their Artisan pizzas, and I know they’re loving being able to charge more for them, but how can they be proud of needing to resort to rape culture in order to explain and promote their new menu items?
Here’s the part where I could say: “Oh, well, they didn’t mean it like that. It’s about pizza, not people. They aren’t actually associating pizza with rape.”
But I’m not going to say that. Because that’s bull. That’s rape culture.
Excusing the use of the term, “No is the New Yes” is saying that it’s acceptable to use that kind of language for any reason. And it’s clear what that phrase means. Electablog shares a few examples. Remember the 2010 story from the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale? Members marched around campus one night, loudly chanting, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” Their actions resulted in the fraternity being banned from the University for five years.
There’s also the recent story out of Michigan of State Rep. Lisa Brown saying on the floor of the House, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.” After the national uproar against Brown being banned from speaking, Republicans claimed that it wasn’t that she said, “vagina;” it was the implied rape reference of saying, “No means no.” Really? They’re the ones who want to decide what happens to the female body and when, and then they complain when someone likens that sentiment to rape?
“No means no” has a long history by now of being associated with rejecting rape. (And that’s problematic as it is, because it assumes that what stops rape from happening is saying ‘no, thank you’ rather than addressing the aggressive, patriarchal culture that normalizes and accepts instances of rape.) Domino’s new ad slogan claiming that “No is the New Yes,” can have no other interpretation. Rape and rape culture are unacceptable, and anything that suggests, however subtly, that No Means Yes, is dangerous.