It’s 2018 and the future is female, but companies like TC Electronic are still using sexist techniques in their marketing strategies. Musicians including Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and Braids’ Raphaelle Standell-Preston have taken to social media to criticize the company’s use of sexist language to title one of its guitar effects.
The criticism began on Monday when TC unveiled the “Pussy Melter”—a preset guitar pedal sound created in collaboration with guitarist Satchel of the California-based comedy hair-metal band Steel Panther. A description for the effect on the company’s website reads, “When we met up with Steel Panther’s oh-so-humble guitarist, he had only one condition: that the tone be as wet as the ladies on the front row.”
A petition to “Take down the ‘Pussy Melter’ Preset on TC Electronic Effects!” was started by musician Jessica Fennelly, who called the TonePrint’s description “offensive” and “obviously sexist.” Braids shared a link to the petition on Twitter, adding “As a female guitarist and just a female in general this makes me super disappointed!” Emily Reo wrote, “ew what the fuck, i thought making pedals that break all the time was bad enough,” in a comment. As Ted Leo pointed out, this all could have been avoided if companies were to hire more women and consider their female base.
As of this writing, a search for “Pussy Melter” on TC Electronic website returns no results, and the link included in Fennelly’s petition returns only a 404 error.
Steel Panther are known for such classy hits as “Poontang Boomerang,” “Gloryhole,” “Goin’ in the Back Door” and “Fat Girl,” so who is really surprised by this less-than-thought-out marketing decision? In a 2017 YouTube video in which Satchel introduced the TonePrint, he stated that he was given permission to “name it anything [he] wanted.” We only have one suggestion: Do better.