This is a very rare occasion. Something has gone down in the sex toy community that has left a bit of an unsavoury taste in my mouth, and unfortunately, a few tweets aren’t really going to cut it. For the first time on The Big Gay Review I’m hashing my thoughts out on a company debacle to make my personal position more clear.
So around 2 years ago, a brand new UK based silicone dildo maker burst onto the scene with some quirky and colourful silicone creations. I was definitely caught up in all the hype, and January last year, they sent me a dildo to review and I was thrilled. That dildo was the ADAM and the company was Godemiche.
Godemiche is run by husband and wife team Adam and Monika, and it was their passion for making pleasure products that got me excited. It was so refreshing to see a company that was truly living for it’s work, and engaged with their customers on social media to generate buzz and excitement.
But somewhere, along the way, something has gone terribly wrong. My initial love and admiration for this company has started to wither and die, like that potted plant you bought to ‘brighten up the place’, and now sits in the corner of the room, wilted, mouldy and is possibly the reason why you are constantly Ill.
What is really upsetting about the whole situation, is I’ve seen other bloggers and people belittle or gaslight other bloggers for having an opinion about the situation, one way or another, and that’s something that really doesn’t sit with me. And that’s why I felt compelled to put my thoughts down on a subject that has proven to be extremely controversial.
So where did it all go wrong? Let’s go back a few months. I follow Godemiche on Snapchat, as Adam is a very lively guy, and provides an insight into their working environment, and what makes them tick. Initially, I thought this was a fantastic idea, and it was where I saw my own Ambit dildo be made. Not very many companies do that sort of thing. Unfortunately, Godemiche’s reliance on Social Media got them into a bit of trouble, when one night, one of Adam’s friends got hold of the snapchat account, and posted a video, asking for ‘tit pics, no dicks’. On a social media channel designed to represent your company, this doesn’t exactly send out the best message.
A few bloggers had brought this up with Adam, and he apologised, and claimed he didn’t know what was being said, but agreed that it wasn’t acceptable, and apologised for offence caused. Fair enough. At this point, I’m ready to let things go because yeah, it was a very silly mistake, but at the time, I felt that this was something they could move on from. I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a series of mistakes that would ultimately turn me away from the brand.
The second ‘fuck up’ occurred just a few weeks back, when once again, on a social media channel designed to represent the business (this time, Instagram), Adam made comments on pubic hair that would be deemed as body shaming. Once again, there was an apology for offence made, a promise to better educate themselves on body positivity issues etc. For some, this was already too many mistakes in too short a time. But for me, I was still prepared to hold on, because I had met Adam. I understood his personality is quite loud and brash and it’s not for everyone. And once again, It seemed things were going OK. They had reached out to a few bloggers and had some articles written for their blog, and I had hoped that this was going to be the end of it.
But sadly, it wasn’t. The past 72 hours in the sex toy and sex blogging community has been… well, it’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least. I will do my best to explain as concisely as possible. So in the past week, a video was posted by VICE UK, titled ’10 things you’ve wanted to ask a Dildo maker’. If you want to view the video, you can do so at this link: https://video.vice.com/en_uk/video/vice-10-questions-you-always-wanted-to-ask-a-dildo-maker/59819db524674d6f21c8bd07. In the video, Adam answers 10 questions in his big, brash way, and revealed that the ADAM dildo was inspired by his own penis. Now, that doesn’t sound like a big deal. There are plenty of dildos on the market that are inspired by, or actually moulded from real penises. And for me, personally, it wasn’t a huge shock. I knew the ADAM dildo was named after Adam, as he is the creator and owner of the company. But I didn’t know that his own penis was the base for the actual product.
Now, after thinking about this long and hard, this issue alone, isn’t such a big deal for me. But I can understand why for many people, the fact this information was not widely known (and believe me, MANY people didn’t know); might make them feel uncomfortable. For many, it boils down to an issue of consent. I spoke to a few bloggers, to get a better understanding of why this was a big deal for them:
“For me it’s 100% a disclosure issue. When you buy a Fleshjack porn star dildo, you know what you’re getting and therefore can consent to it.
… like you’ve fucked a nonconsensual dick pic”
I hadn’t really thought of it as an issue of consent before.
“…the fact that they are now making a big deal about it being inspired by his penis… I feel like it goes beyond the norm. Like he’s sexualized it AND NAMED IT AFTER HIMSELF! If it was upfront that it was his penis then fine.. no problem”
“I think the difference between this and the Fleshjack dildos is that we very clearly know they’re modeled after certain people’s genitals. I’m also concerned that the “molded after a real dick” or whatever the phrasing is only occurs on a couple of the Adam product pages. If you’re not getting the flesh one, or I forgot what the other one is, you wouldn’t know”
For others, there was the issue of the fact that Adam is the head of the company, and many people are going to be interacting with them in some form or another; whether that’s as a blogger, writer or a consumer. It over-steps a boundary of being able to separate the product from the person. I would love to get some of your feedback on this.
But we need to move on. Following this revelation, twitter exploded into a frenzy of opinions. Some felt this wasn’t a big deal. Some said they believed this to have been common knowledge. Many felt uncomfortable and felt this is information that has been missed. Whatever your thoughts or opinions, I was shocked and disgusted to see so many people tone-policing other peoples thoughts and feelings. It was mostly those who didn’t have a problem, telling those who did have a problem, that they were being silly or that this was a non-issue. How dare anyone ever tell anyone their feelings are not valid. I’ve seen some truly shocking behaviour from people who I have followed and liked/respected; and to see such animosity was heart-breaking.
And yet, even after all of this, I thought there was no way it could get any worse. How very wrong I was, and this final incident was the straw that broke the camels back, for me. On Tuesday 8th August, at 10pm GMT, Adam and Monika hosted their usual live chat session on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The chats generally consist of them catching up on the weeks events and discussing what’s to come. This chat session was… well it was something else. You can currently view the video here:
Vice video, Out of office, Q&A https://t.co/Pxn8RUB9IA
— GODEMICHE (@GSilicone) August 8, 2017
Adam opened the video with a run down of the VICE video, that had caused the stir in the blogosphere. As Adam begins to explain how the VICE video came about, I noticed that his tone was quite.., pointed. When he gets to talking about the inspiration for the ADAM, the tone changed to one of aggression and condescension.
“So let’s CLEAR things up, VERY CLEAR, so you ALL UNDERSTAND.”
As I sat and watched the periscope broadcast, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy. The entire time, I felt like a child being scolded by their parent. I genuinely felt like I was being talked down to, and I couldn’t believe the tone that was being broadcast here. The fact that this is the public face of the company, made this feel so much worse.
So where do we go from here? Can Godemiche turn it around? Is there anyway they can salvage what reputation they have left? I’m not sure. That is entirely up to them. But here is what I DO know.
As a community, we’ve been through a lot together. The fight for sex positivity never stops, and it is indeed tiring, exhaustive and often, a thankless task. Calling out a company for bad behaviour is not something we do lightly, and contrary to what some may believe, it’s not about ‘causing drama’. We do it so you can spend your money wisely, and support companies that are working tirelessly to create and promote body safe products, promote a healthy body image and spread love and inclusivity. If you don’t care about that, then that’s fine. That’s your choice. But WE DO. If you want to support companies like Godemiche, then please, be my guest. But how dare anyone tell us that we shouldn’t be upset, or offended, or for wanting to push a company to change their behaviour and attitudes.
As for Godemiche, I currently cannot support them at this time. Too many mistakes in too short of a time, with no clear sign that they have really understood and learned from their mistakes. I want to end this with a statement that I DO genuinely hope that Godemiche can turn this around, and pick themselves up and better themselves. And i’ve learnt a lot about myself, as well. In the past, I would usually have been someone who would have just looked the other way, ignored everything and pretended it wasn’t a big deal. Because it’s easy; no one wants to be the person to rock the boat. But there comes a point when you have to say ‘enough is enough’.
How would I handle things going forward? I think Adam and Monika need to seriously re-consider having someone else running their social media. It’s great that Adam wants to be so involved, but I believe ego-driven blinkers are on, and this is leading to severe lapses in judgement. Sure, it’s going to cost money; maybe a lot… but if it helps save and build a reputation, rather than letting it fall down in tatters, surely that’s a good thing? Focus on what you are good at (making dildos) and let someone else cultivate and grow the social media following.
And for the sake of it, update ALL examples of the ADAM product pages with the information about the inspiration for the product. Customers should be able to make a FULLY INFORMED decision about the products they are buying. This is just common decency.
Well I appreciate this is a really long ramble, and i’m not inviting anyone into a long discussion or debate. This is how I feel, and as I stated earlier, I felt compelled to write something, as this is something I have been conscious of being a bit… slack on.
Until the next time…