By LINDA MOSS
The new downtown Dairy Air Ice Cream Co. was blasted this week for its derrière-themed name and provocative cow logo, which some found offensive and demeaning to women. The kerfuffle has apparently convinced the shop to revamp the logo and make it more “fun” and less “sexy.”
The controversy started when local merchant Amy Tingle, co-founder and owner of The Creative Caravan, took the ice cream parlor to task for the logo that it is using on its cups and furniture. It depicts a cartoon cow, sporting blond braids and a jaunty French beret, who has a curvy, very human-looking rear end. The cow’s butt has a heart with the initials “DA,” for Dairy Air, within it.
Tingle’s letter sparked a fierce debate on social media about the logo, with many people objecting to it. But there was also a group who bristled at what they considered an overreaction by the politically correct police, or said there were more important issues for residents to worry about.
Following the tempest-in-an-ice-cream-cup, Dairy Air’s manager said on Facebook that the logo will be changed as a result of the complaints.
On Monday Tingle posted an open letter on Facebook to Dairy Air, which is located at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Park Street, asking the shop to reconsider the logo’s design in consideration of Montclair women and the children who may patronize the business.
“It is offensive and sickening,” she wrote. “A hyper-sexualized, obviously female cow with her ass upended and poking through a circle, tail raised up, waiting for what? I’m not sure, but I do know that I am repulsed and offended.”
Tingle, and many agreed with her criticism, drew a connection between the logo and the way women are treated and perceived in America.
“This kind of marketing scheme is the reason we currently have a sexual predator in the White House,” Tingle wrote.
“Because we have let ideas like this one pass with approval again and again and again … Because no one spoke up in your marketing meeting and said, ‘This is wrong.’ This is offensive, not just to women, but to husbands and fathers and brothers and uncles and grandfathers who are trying to raise strong young women in a culture that continuously sexualizes them rather than treating them equally, with dignity and respect.”
In her letter Tingle told Dairy Air to sell its ice cream on its own merit, not by demeaning women.
She dropped off a hard copy of her Facebook letter at Dairy Air on Monday. One of the shop’s owners, Anthony Tortoriello, later that day stopped by Tingle’s studio to discuss the matter.
“The long and short of it is that while we don’t agree about the nature of the logo, he apologized for it and is willing to continue the dialogue together,” Tingle later posted on Facebook.
“He is also going to speak with his business partners about it,” she wrote.
“I am glad we were able to have an in-person conversation and that he listened carefully to my concerns and registered my upset. I hope we will continue to converse, and I hope this leads to dialogue in other venues and with other marketing teams about the importance of sensitivity and respect in advertising and marketing campaigns. This issue goes far beyond Montclair and an ice cream shop. The deeply offensive practice of selling with sex has got to end.”
In an interview Tuesday Tingle said that while Tortoriello said he was sorry that the logo had upset her, “he didn’t see the problem” with it.
“He said it went through a marketing panel” that included women, and that he had showed it to his family and friends, Tingle said.
“Ultimately, they just thought it was really funny,” Tingle said, adding that Tortoriello said that he and his partners had spent a lot of money on the marketing materials.
Natalie DeRosa, Dairy Air’s manager, also stopped by Tingle’s studio to discuss the logo on Monday, Tingle said.
While Tortoriello couldn’t be reached for comment, DeRosa said on Facebook that the logo will be changed.
“We have heard the complaints,” she wrote. “We take them very seriously and we are acting to change the cow to be more fun and less sexy. Our goal was always fun and not sexy.”
DeRosa also noted that the logos plastered on Dairy Air’s storefront are different than the ones inside, and just have the shop’s name depicted along with an ice cream sandwich.
Dairy Air uses liquid nitrogen to make its frozen treats, and its menu lists numerous offerings with names that refer to, or are puns related to, derrières. They include the Backside Banana Split, Keister Key Lime and Coconut, Peanut Butt’r Booty, Oprah’s Favorite Fanny, Backend Bourbon Blues, Bumm Rush, Sweet Cheeks and Chocolate, Devil’s Derrière, Spankin’ Strawberry Moon, Mexican Waffle Wedgie and the Muffin-Top Money Maker.
A large ice cream with two toppings sells for $9.
On Facebook Robert Jones defended the logo and Dairy Air’s owners.
“I am going there to say to support, I hate the PC [politically correct] police,” he wrote, using an emoji of a police officer in his post.
“It really sucks that efforts to combat years and years of patriarchal objectification of women becomes seen as PC,” replied Jennifer Chaky.
Tingle plans to keep the logo discussion going. She had invited people to come to her studio at noon this Saturday.
“I know why it has triggered my own rage and upset, but I’d like to hear from others – whether you are angered by it, upset, and see the larger ramifications on a society that demeans and abuses women constantly, or you don’t get it and think it’s funny,” she wrote on Facebook.