The Sexist

Weed Culture Is Boob Culture


Why aren't there more female marijuana activists, Marijuana Policy Project employee Laura Greenback asks in High Times. Ooh! Pick me! I know the answer!

It's not that women don't like smoking weed. We do. And it's not that we don't care about the ass-backwards war on drugs—despite Greenback's fears, half of the MPP's top staff are women. It's not that there are too few pop-culture stoner females, as Double X suggests—though we're getting warmer!

Women don't identify with marijuana activism because weed culture is dude culture. On the surface, a lot of the trappings of weed culture are coed-ready: women, too, can get high, blast Phish, play hacky sack, and stuff miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups into our faces. But even if we're allowed to strap on a fucking hemp necklace and toke up with the boys, we will still have to deal with the tits. Let's check out the advertising paired with Greenback's piece:

There's the sexy vaporizer shot (above). There's the weed bikini shot (below):


And then there's this:


Seriously? Pot vagina? No strength of medicinal could calm the nausea that ad just inspired.

Here's what these advertisements say to women: Weed isn't for you. It's for men. (Also for men? Your boobs). And the targets of those advertisements—high school and college guys—often echo those misogynist attitudes.  You know what's even more annoying than a misogynist? A misogynist who is high out of his mind. No wonder we tend to skip the pot rallies.

MORE: Why misogyny in the counter-culture is more annoying than mainstream misogyny.

  • stoner_stuff

    As female marijuana activists/bloggers for we do NOT agree that "Women don’t identify with marijuana activism because weed culture is dude culture."

    There are several prominent female activist who will find this post insulting and counter-productive to the hard work they have performed. Shame on you...we think you owe people like Jodie Joanna Emery ( and Michelle Kubby (, to name just two, an apology for your stupidity.

  • Regina

    Hey stoner_stuff, did you READ the post above or look at the images? that's disgusting sexist bullshit - regardless of the actual presence of women who smoke weed and/or participate in activism for its legalization.

    The kind of images & associations made by the images above are sexist, objectifying and gross. Period.

  • Booby

    It seems like everywhere I look, boobs are advertising EVERYTHING, not just fake weed and crappy vaporizers. Yes, our whole mainstream culture is sexist. Do I need remind you about the Coors girls?

    The counterculture as whole, however, is much more feminist and progressive, especially when compared to mainstream culture. Hippies really don't care what you look like, which is awesome. Any culture that supports hairy legs and armpits isn't sexist.

  • Cindy, parent of two

    I'm not sure what this was supposed to imply, but it seems way off base as I am a female activist, and have enjoyed a long 7 years as such. The adds you have in your article are from artificial herb dealers, they are repulsive I agree, but they are also no different than the half clothed girls they use in alcohol marketing, or any other commodity that is marketed using sexual insinuations as most of our products are today. Just look at Carls Jr. commercials these days, its unreal. But to make something out of nothing to try and promote your own agenda is not a wise idea, especially when everyone can see right through it.


  • Magnetic Crow

    ...Who sent in the illiterate trolls?
    Because really, if they'd read the article (WHICH CONTAINS A CAVEAT POINTING OUT THE PRESENCE OF SOME REALLY RAD FEMALE LEGALIZATION SUPPORTERS), they wouldn't have the complaints that they have.
    Amanda's point is that Weed culture, just like any other marketing culture in this country, is friggin' sexist. That there are fewer outspoken female activists than male activists is due to this-- a lot of women don't want to bother speaking in a forum where they assume they'll just be disregarded. Which is a huge shame, and something that needs to be dealt with.

    She's not saying that there are none at all--that's closer to the point made by the original question she's responding to.

  • Dunlap

    Sorry to say but this article is misguided. The key fact here is this - Correlation does not imply Causation. That is to say; the 18-25 year old males like weed. They also like tits. This does not mean that the two are related in any way.

    The pictures you posted were all from one site, not that I doubt you could find others elsewhere, I'm just saying. does not sound like a "weed culture" site at all. In fact, they probably don't want weed legalized, considering the fact that if something that actually got you high were legal, they'd probably go out of business in a heartbeat. This is marketing - and we all know that sex sells.

    Now, again, I'm not at all denying that guys, and especially stoned guys, like tits. This is a given. But to say that it dominates the culture any more than anywhere else, to say that "Weed culture is dude culture" is totally unfair.

    I don't know that I can think of a more female-friendly group of people than potheads. In what other group can a girl show up in baggie pants and an oversized hoodie and be welcomes with open arms? NORML does not have a centerfold. The MPP is not paying women to pose nude and say, "I'm naked for weed!" (A parody of a series of PETA ads, as I understand it? What sexist bastards.) No. For the large majority of respectable "marijuana culture" groups, this article could not be more off base.

  • Dunlap

    Crow - I think any fear that women would be 'disregarded' by the pot-loving community is a fear that has originated in their minds. If it needs to be dealt with, it needs to be dealt with by the insecure women who feel that way. Name any one single incident in which a female activist was in any way disregarded, ever. It just doesn't happen.

  • BettyJames

    While I see the points Amanda offers, I understand what her real message is.
    I think the real issue here is much bigger than drug culture or womens rights, and the underlying problem is that we have a civil rights dilemma in this country right now. While racism is a civil rights issue that has been briefly touched upon for the moment there are still many more that issues here that need to be addressed; such as how women are portrayed in this nation, drug users, homosexuals, minorities, immigrants, and people of different religions (or no religion!) and the list goes on and on. There are many disadvantaged groups out there right now, but rather than separate to different causes it is the civil rights movement needs to be embraced. Now more than ever!

  • Hunter

    It was images like these that made me stop buying "High Times." And it wasn't just advertisements that were sexist; they were pictures (including covers) published from HT. When a woman wrote to the editor and complained about it, the editorial staff were total assholes - they told her to loosen up from her "repressed sexuality." Finding images such as these offensive means you have a repressed, distorted sexuality? Please. I really didn't want to support that magazine anymore. I do think using these types of images will aleniate some women (and some more progressive men) from some avenues to support the movement. (Note: it was quite a while ago; probably 7 or 8 years ago).

  • Kim

    As a female cannabis activist, I too am put off by the sexism. Even the local smoke shop down the street has huge posters all over the store of half dressed babes selling papers, pipes, vaporizers, whatever. They don't get any business from me. It's uncomfortable. And they obviously don't care how I feel.
    Old Corporate Boys Club...even here. Sad.

  • Numismatics

    Dunlap--I think there's a little more to this...

    Whether you accept it or not, the constant message that our ass is what matters is alienating, disappointing, and isolating. And it is UBIQUITOUS. Not only that, it really hammers home the message that this is not a woman's domain-it discourages us from achieving. I'm not saying this because I am an angry feminist who hates men (I am an angry feminist who LOVES men!) but I am really surprised at how some men can NOT understand some of the mindfucks women go through (not that you don't get your share, too) and then it occurs to me that many don't seem to care, and many just constantly parrot "There's no sexism anymore! It's all better now!" Well, if that helps them sleep at night....

    Ads that have this sort of advertising (and, more specifically, AN OVERREPRESENTATION of this sort of advertising) are really being blatant about the role women have to play in this context, and frankly, that's a message many of us have heard enough of. I know it's marketing; I know sex sells, but to me, boobs aren't sex. And yet I am supposed to read them as such, everywhere I see them. Like, is that supposed to turn me on, too? (Don't answer that.) Getting to define 'sexy' is a power I would like to have, too. But I am not encouraged to do so--I am encouraged to cover my face with paint and keep my body as thin as possible. Sex being used to sell has a lot of pernicious effects on our minds and bodies, and by 'our' I mean both men and women.

    With regard to your comments to Crow, I don't believe the fear of disregarded comes from women's minds--I believe it has been put there, and reinforced, and reinforced....And I think 'disregarded' might have a slightly different meaning for the two of you: this doesn't necessarily mean 'rejected', it means 'not given a platform'. Seriously, 'hot' women being given more of a platform than normal looking women DOES happen. If you don't see that, then I'll drop this whole thing because we clearly inhabit different realities.

  • Numismatics

    Op! sorry--"fear of being disregarded" in that final paragraph....smoking too much.....

  • Justin

    Magnetic Crow +1

  • Samantha

    Stoner stuff, both of the women you mentioned campaign with their husbands.

    Does this imply that women campaigners are only safe and acceptable if they have a man supporting them? How many women out there are big figures in the politics of prohibition on their own?

  • Badfish

    I couldn't agree more with this article. I used to write angry letters to High Times about this, to no avail (except one time they printed a letter of mine c. 2006 Oct). They litter the pages with scantily clad females and put porn princesses on the cover (making a Hustler pin up the Stoner Of The Year!), routinely run a Miss High Times pageant while blatantly ignoring the many requests to run a Mr. High Times in the interest of the gay male or straight female readers, then wonder why we won't get more involved. And how many years in a row did they feature a woman in a bikini on the monthly cover? Sheesh.

  • Badfish

    Also, someone summed it up in a similar way that I have before, that when we see the female body being used to advertise, we're being sent the message that whatever is being advertised is not for us. While this is ok in moderation, our society has boobs plastered to sell products just about everywhere. To say this sends the statement that nothing in this world is made with women in mind (except to exploit their image to manipulate men) is an understatement.

  • Tim

    Weed or not, it's for everyone!

  • Steven

    Your arguments are unfounded and from what I have read of your blog thus far, often taken out of context. You're not helping the movement at all, whether that be for the females or the female pot smokers. Dunlap really covered most of it but to simplify things, we can assume from the marketing that more men are going to read high times or the ads in the back than women. Perhaps more guys are interested in Legal Buds than women are. So the companies are correctly marketing as such. But to say that weed culture is dude culture or imply that the movement or the culture in itself is inherently sexist is simply not backed up at all.

    There's plenty of sexist things you can fight against in this country. If Legal Buds, Coors Light and Carl's Junior want to market their products towards men, they have every right to. Men respond to images of the female body and sex. That's what we like. Leave pot and pot culture out of this debate.

    Also, have you ever been to a pot rally? Anecdotally, I know just as many female stoners and activists as male ones. Do some research before you make these claims, I'm glad you've received the comments you have, this simply is not good journalism.

  • Cash

    It is really telling, when reading through the comments, that most of the commentators who think this is a nonissue are men, and the ones who say this DOES have an impact are women. Its just interesting how women come out and say "I am put off by this kind of advertising. It does have an effect on me, and on the women I know" and then the men come here to basically say "No it doesn't! I don't see sexism anywhere! You're wrong!"

    To the commenters like Steven: How can you say this isn't an issue when there are women commenting before you, telling you that it did have an impact on them? Doesn't that make it a problem, for at least some women? Or do you think their opinion and experiences don't count?

  • mearainwonderland

    See, this is part of the reason why pot is such a dude thing. I'm a girl, and one of the biggest stoners in town, and I never get to hang out with any other chicks because none of them smoke, because of shit like this. Now, I, being bisexual, don't mind the boobs in and of themselves, but the message they send in advertising like this can alienate most females from it.

  • kris

    Maybe it wouldn't be a dude culture if these chicks ever bought their own bag instead of smoking all of their boyfriend's stuff.

  • kris

    mearainwonderland, didn't it ever occur to you maybe the other chicks just don't like to smoke, or maybe yet, just don't like you. "I’m a girl, and one of the biggest stoners in town" that comment right there show's you're still in that juvenile state where you think your smoking makes you cool and different.

  • Anon

    boobs = sexist?

    Why can't advertisers show sexual images?

  • Pingback: Sexist Comments of the Week: Counter-Culture, Misogyny, and Weed - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Samantha

    Agreed. I recently joined a marijuana forum and have found an overwhelming amount of sexist/misogynistic crap posted all over it. I'd love to see a magazine/group/whatever for female pot smokers. It's lame we have to separate ourselves (apologies to Gloria Steinem), but I'm tired of seeing naked women writhing around in pot or seductively stroking bongs. Enough already.
    Heads Magazine (RIP) was a great publication that had wonderful photography and fascinating articles, but they too succumbed to the "420 girls" nonsense. But it was never as bad as High Times with their insanely slutty advertising.

    Let the boys have what they want...but can't we get some too? Ladies? Anyone...? Bueller?

  • Tanya Derbowka

    Thank you for writing this. I am a longtime marijuana activist. I have been writing and organizing rallies for years. There is no doubt that pot culture is dude culture. Many prominent activists freely spew anti-gay and anti-woman attitudes. It is a source of great aggravation and disgust with me. I had to quit posting at cannabisculture forums because of it. I am so tired of the way women are treated in the movement and it is about time that we did something about it. I have often contemplated quitting pot activism in favor of joining a feminist group. But maybe an activist group for women would be a better solution.

  • Mechazawa

    I feel the women responding to this who identify as activists and are stating they are offended by the article are taking it too personally. You're acting as though she's simply pretending you're not there. She's stating that there's a shortage of women like you because of this problem. Kudos to you for disregarding any effect these images have on weed culture, but realize that women like me are dissuaded from being more active because of this very thing.

  • Ariana

    Cash states: "Or do you think their opinion and experiences don’t count?"

    That's is right there Cash. Men don't think women's opinions matter.

  • Brian

    Hey Regina, you probably don't shave, do you?

  • Travis

    It's true... despite there being just as many chicks that are involved in marijuana, most of it's "catered" towards men. Sort of like video games...

  • Samantha

    Hey Brian, maybe you and Kris should get together and beat off to High Times. I'm doubting you have any other options.

    And to Kris, I've always purchased my own bags. All of my male friends mooch off of me. I'm waiting for THEM to chip in one of these days.

  • DirkJohanson

    Amanda and others - Why are you so sure the ads are directed at guys, and not chicks that kissed a girl and liked it, or chicks that kiss girls and more all the time? In that regard, I dated a girl earlier this year that smoked $35 of weed a day, deals it, and even steals it, and guess what? She prefers girls to guys.

    I dated another girl a couple of years ago who was wake and bake - guess what? She was heavily into girls, too.

    Amanda, look up the definition of the favorite word of women today, "misogynism," which you use (or its derivations) multiple times with respect to this issue. From Webster's online it means "Hatred of women." The ad is appealing to - people, guys, lesbians and bis - that LIKE women. You have it backwards. Maybe that explains why you and so many others see misogynism everywhere, including places where guys and girls who like girls flock.

    A real misogynist would hate the girls in the advertisements for the fact that they can make big money posing naked - they wouldn't buy products they endorse, or support their causes. In your book I'm a "misogynist" if I like naked women - fine, then, I'm a "misogynist," and proud of it. Its about time us guys - and the Guyinism movement- took ownership of the word, anyway. Thank you. I'm now happy to scream "I am a misogynist" from rooftops.

    Lets be honest, for once - you and many of the other women that don't like the ads don't like them since you don't look like the girls in the ad. Just be honest. I don't like the ads that are all over the place with hot guys in them, and I'm not too keen on all the ads featuring rich guys, either - I admit it - why can't you, without spewing forth venom at people that don't deserve it?

    There are plenty of ads with mostly-naked women in magazines catering primarily to women - go complain about them, and the "misogynism" of their nearly all-female readerships.

  • Carmen

    I think weed culture very much so IS "dude culture."

    The culture in and of itself is very masculine, and that the culture has been shaped by masculinity, and that means- just like hook up culture, drinking culture, and professional fields like law- women are playing by a rulebook written by men. The idea that it's caused by images like these is debatable, although I am no stranger to hearing Sublime echo that "date rape is the only way I get laid," and I definitely think there's merit to the idea that women aren't perceived as classic "stoners." Idolatry for smokers means Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, not Janis or Grace Slick.

    No need for defensives here; claiming marijuana and blazin' teens is feminist is almost sillier than laying the leaves on someone's anatomy.

  • Baked Life

    There is nothing sexist about using boobs to advertise. Those advertisements are aimed at people who want to see boobs. High Times and every other advertiser has the job of showing people what will get them money, or they go out of business. The problem lies in the fact that it works. Why are our teens so obsessed with sex. Maybe it's because our culture is so prude it's deforming the minds of our youth. We're constantly scaring and warning our kids away from sex. We never have "joy of sex" classes, because we're afraid. The imbalance of sex in the minds of our society comes from an imbalance in education and conversation. We're creating children who will need porn, and "raunchy" sex inputs, they need it because we try so hard to sterilize public sex language.

    It's not normal for people to have to struggle to control themselves, in any way, and definitely not with sex. In a proper and balanced environment sex shouldn't be a moral battle ground.

    There's no reason for us to think that those pictures above are gross, or terrible. What those who find it objectionable are really objecting to is the fact that it simply doesn't make sense. Why have almost nude girls promoting weed. It really just doesn't make sense. The only reason they think it's wrong is because they are just as mentally warped about sex as the guys who are enticed to buy the magazines because of the girls, just to a different extreme. What if they had a bunch of photos of weed covered in spaghetti, all the time. The only people it would attract would be people from strange alternate universe where everybody loved spaghetti, but they never learned but from birth they were made to fear staring directly at it, and could only eat it after 20, and even then it was hard to come by, unless you went put on industrial goggles, because it can kill you, and ate it once a week in a dark room. And if they ever tried to talk about it they were flushed with awkward feelings. Hope that makes sense, it was supposed to show the strange taboo obsession we have with sex is.

    Anyway though if you don't like it don't buy it. But not buying something because of sexual content is just as weird as buying it because of it. It's part of the oversexxed state of mind.

    Anyway, if any women out there want to share the female perspective on marijuana culture regularly, I could use your help at

  • Sam

    I am a female and I happen to like those advertisements. And yes I am a lesbian.

    Just because the advertisements show partially naked females doesn't mean weed culture is dude culture. If that's all it took to make something "male oriented" Victoria's Secret should sell nudie magazines and blow up dolls.

    But if you are going to use this as "evidence," at least say it's directed towards bi, pan, questioning, curious, or straight men as well as bi, pan, questioning, curious, or lesbian women.

    Generalizing isn't cool.

  • Bush

    and can we not forget that in a bust the men take the weight is totally ok with the judge who knows "men are beasts"?

    I dispise lots of advertizing because it distorts, generalizes and just plain mis-directs the consciousness around decision times. It is pure cynical crap and it dehumanizes me even as I look and compair or whatever I am supposed to be doing but am surrepticiously drooling at an impossible sex goal of a woman.

    What freaks me out is the bastards that dip the first quarter inch of cigarettes into nicotine juice and then pack em up and advertized the evil for women because they are such great, independent thinkers as to smoke cigarettes. And I am not a bit keen nor proud to see pictures of a Chinese old man smiling his beautiful smile out in the countryside with a damned ciggy hanging out of his mouth.

    Ladies, can we all try to make conscious how we train little sons? Behavior doesn't come out of the air. We guys need to work on it, too.

    If we don't like or want attacks on our individuality and choice making energies tapped on by cynical exploitation of our genuine instictual and unconscious needs, then we need to turn this gently because I assure you, no sudden jerks of rejection or such can possibly work.

    Did I just say men's sex is often triggered by unconscious expectation? There are no exceptions from this for either gender.

    I am Christian and to me, these titty ads are attacks on my integrity and my self determined flow and rate of experiences. This crap highjacks everybody for money.

  • Christopher

    I enjoy the ads, and more importantly, so does my bisexual girlfriend. Saying that the ads' only message is that "only men like weed" is an offensive erasure of the perspective of bi and queer women.

  • Garp

    The blurring of boobs and porn,hip hop, sports,video games,... with cannabis,........BAD IDEA.
    Thanks for this article.It highlights how lame High Times has become.(They're not alone on this).hey
    This really shows who reads this crap-the lowest common denominator,knuckledragging, pot-is-everything flathead.

  • DB

    i love all the dudes posting on here and proving Hess' point. LO[n]L

    though i do agree that this blog is often sloppy in research, generalization and logic leaps, in this regard at least the spirit of this post is right on. One could get the impression reading high tomes, cannabis culture and the myriad of other blogs & sites that 13-year-old douchebags are grossly overrepresented in the population of users.

  • El

    Who said boobs are for men only? why don't you quit being so stereotypical and sexist OP. jeeze.