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Milk brand Oatly threatened with boycott after asking if ‘woke’ parents share their pronouns

Vic Parsons February 1, 2021
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Oatly threatened with boycott by people offended by advert about pronouns

An Oatly ad on a trams in Barcelona, Spain. (Jeff Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Swedish vegan milk brand Oatly is under fire for taking out a full-page advert in the Guardian asking readers how “woke” their parents are.

The advert, aimed at young people wondering if they need to “parent their parents”, takes the form of a quiz that is titled: “Gender pronouns and green credentials: how ‘woke’ are your parents?”

“Are your parents desperately out of touch or do they know a thing or two about social media protocols and veganism? Take this quiz to find out,” the Oatly advert reads.

Ten multiple-choice questions then ask readers about their parents views on sustainable living, late capitalism, Donald Trump, plant-based diets, and sharing gender pronouns online.

Where do your parents stand on sharing their gender pronouns?” Oatly asks, with a choice of three responses: A, “They are cheerily oblivious to any contemporary developments in thinking on gender, and are probably a bit hazy on what a pronoun actually is”; B, “They have them prominently plastered on their Twitter feeds and email signatures”; and C, “They regard the idea of sharing their gender pronouns as a deeply suspect imposition on their personal liberty.”

The Oatly advert “seems to want to provoke a generational war by mocking ‘desperately out of touch’ parents who don’t put their pronouns in their email signatures”, one person said on Twitter.

The advert has attracted the ire of online transphobic activists who think people who use pronouns are part of a “misogynist cult”.

Yikes. Will avoid this Oatly brand entirely. ‘Gender’ pronouns are a badge of one of the most virulently sexist, regressive ideologies I’ve seen,” one person responded.

What the hell have pronouns got to do with milk?” another person asked.

Inevitably, calls for a boycott of Oatly have now begun.

Time to boycott Oatly along with all the others,” one “adult human female” wrote on Twitter. “There’s a lot of ‘separating children from parents/turning children against parents’ going on.

“The first thing I think of is paedophiles, as it’s exactly what they long to do. Won’t touch this lot with a bargepole.”

It’s not the first boycott Oatly has faced. In September 2020, consumers launched a boycott after it was revealed that the vegan milk company had been invested in by a private equity firm that allegedly contributes to Amazon deforestation.

The row over Oatly asking about gender pronouns comes just weeks after the brand’s first TV campaign, which saw viewers offered advice on how to talk to their dads about switching from dairy to plant-based milk.

Related topics: pronouns, The Guardian, woke

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