Remember when the worst surprise hate mail you could get was glitter?
Well, now there’s “Wash Your Box,” a gag gift (in the same vein as boxes of poo or Nothing) that encourages angry people to anonymously send someone soap and a loofa -- a not-so-nice way of telling them to clean up in aisle V.
The website was created by Eva Stara as a joke between herself and her friends. As a group, they go to yoga pretty regularly and have classmates that don't always smell too great. The idea of giving them a less-than-friendly hygiene reminder followed.
Stara told MTV News that they had no intention for the site to have misogynistic undertones, but are aware that those claims have been made. She said she's tried to avoid the touchy history of dirty vagina rhetoric throughout the site.
"I've tried to avoid the issues [of misogyny] by keeping the copy rather light," Stara said. "I think it [could] use a few more changes to soften up the message a bit. I certainly wouldn't want this to be something for [misogynists] to attach to."
“This is all in good fun,” their website says. “I doubt anyone is going to take getting a bottle of soap and a loofah as the worst thing that's ever happened to them.”
...Here at MTV News, we think this stinks of bullsh-t.
Is It A Bad Odor Or A Bad Friendship?
MTV News spoke to CUNY Law professor Rick Rossein about the legal implications of sending someone this unwanted/unwarranted package, and he cautions potential senders to think twice. He's handled cases in schools and workplaces where similar gag gifts weren't well-received and says it can be a risky joke to make. If the recipient is offended (which, duh), or made to feel unsafe or antagonized in a work or school environment, they have grounds to make claims of sexual harassment.
"It depends on where the gift is being sent to and where it's from," Rossein told MTV News. "Sexual harassment is basically defined as not-wanted, unwelcome conduct; if it is pervasive, hostile or abusive, it could become unlawful."
He said that it's important for the sender to know how their friend will react to make sure they won't seriously be hurt or offended, and even then he encourages some extra thought — the joke may not be worth it.
"It can backfire on you in so many different ways," Rossein said. "If you’re doing it for a hateful purpose, it’s off-limits. You should ask yourself, 'Is it healthy for me as a human being? Why am I feeling so hateful?'"