Vermonters, VPR, and Burton Snowboards   Leave a comment

The November 25th (2008) segment on Vermont Public Radio (VPR) featuring Donna and Jake Carpenter, founders of Burton Snowboards, was awkward and insincere, leaving this listener with the decidedly unfavorable impression that the
Carpenters do not want to fully apprehend why there is a controversy over these limited-edition snowboards. Both Donna and Jake Carpenter presented themselves as defensive, arrogant, and irresponsible. Worse, Donna Carpenter’s bumbling effort to revise Playboy images as subjective art forms is disingenuous. Soft porn or not, using sex or the promise thereof to sell snowboards works. They know it and we know it. Sexism, like racism, is insidious and difficult to negotiate. What might be useful is an analysis of the issue, with several perspectives, that connects the politics of sexism with sexual violence against women and men.

VPR exercised poor judgment in airing the segment. Donna Carpenter is a member of the VPR board, and she should recuse herself (and her husband) from such bold self-promotion and rationalization. Vermonters do not need VPR board members grabbing the microphone to justify regressive and unsophisticated rationalizations of the issue. That is
an abuse of public trust.

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