It is summer and ads everywhere are about seasonal clothing sales, travel deals, and food discounts. Many people dream of getting out of town, or getting out of the country to beat the heat. Amidst the summer ad language, there is a frequently used marketing phrase that continues to give me a chill—“getting the most bang for your buck.” While the origin of this saying cannot be proven to have direct vulgar connotations, the term is cringe-worthy because of its allegations as a derogatory term used to describe how much a man hopes to get for what he pays for prostitution. In my estimation, less than 1% of people nowadays ever using the term, whether it’s for marketing purposes or just in personal conversation, are intending ANY association with this suggested meaning. But, as individuals who care about the reality of human trafficking happening in our midst, some prudence in avoiding this phrase is a good idea. Let’s be open to acknowledging the places where we may be contributing to cultural blindness around this injustice, and one tangible step is to consider how best we can alter our language on this particular front.
Action steps: Prepare to have another phrase in mind to take its place. Anytime you hear the “bang for your buck” phrase come up in conversation, use it as an opportunity to share about the reality of human trafficking with friends. Write companies who are constantly sexualizing their marketing materials to increase sales of any kind. Consider what other phrases in our everyday vernacular also may be damaging to, or objectifying, of others.