StopHazing Statement on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor “Hazed & Confused”
Ben & Jerry’s — Please don’t ruin your ice cream’s appeal with poor taste!
Okay, we get it – but the name of your new flavor is not cute, clever or funny, because being “hazed” isn’t about harmless antics and pranks.
In a formal response to complaints about the ice cream flavor “Hazed and Confused,” Ben & Jerry’s excuses the name by saying it’s simply a “pun.” The common definition of a pun is a “joke exploiting different meanings of a word.” B & J points out that “hazed and confused” is a reference to pop culture’s “Dazed and Confused” and the use of hazelnuts in the ice cream. But regardless of these intended associations, the name is also a reference to hazing — and hazing is not a joking matter.
B & J’s choice to use “hazed” in the name of an ice cream flavor promotes an association between 1) the idea of hazing or being hazed and 2) the idea of something fun and enjoyable: ice cream. To be clear, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or maintaining membership) in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, and/or risks physical harm.” Those who understand what hazing is, and have seen the damage it can create–including lost lives–know that hazing should not be confused with fun.
So what now?
Since Ben & Jerry’s is a “values-based company” and (according to their formal response) agrees that “hazing and bullying have no place in society,” we see an opportunity for the company leadership to act with integrity and rectify this issue. Words are hollow without actions to back them up. If “hazing has no place in society,” why should it have a place in our ice cream cones?
We at StopHazing love ice cream and want to continue to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s with a good conscience. Please don’t disappoint us. Ben & Jerry’s, we ask you to maintain our confidence in your forward-thinking company by using this as an opportunity to educate the public about the problem of hazing and to move quickly to find a new name for your hazelnut ice cream. We would gladly offer you our assistance in making these adjustments and informing your consumers.