Girls Gone Weed: The Smoky and Skanky Evolution of Girls Gone Wild

PHOTO: GangaGirls

GangaGirls

Pot Princess. Bong Beauties. Weed Whore. Kush Queen. One Baked Bitch.

These are just a few of the words used on the internet to describe women who smoke weed... and often it’s the women themselves who are using these adjectives.

The list of terms goes on.

Toke Girls.  Tree Bunny. Stoner Chick. Girls who dab. 420 Barbies.

These nicknames are hashtag terms that are floating around on sites like Instagram, Pheed, and Tumblr. The hashtags generally relate to the images associated with it, often of women in provocative outfits, skimpy lingerie and marijuana leaf nipple tassels. A lot of the images have been posted by the girls themselves.

Michael Smith is the CEO of design company 420 Studios, and regular photographer of girls in weed emblazoned panties. Smith is the creator and photographer TheGanjaGirls.com. This website depicts attractive semi-naked ladies getting sexy with weed.

He, for one, doesn’t condone the use of some of the hashtags that accompany his work online.

“I think its inappropriate to use the word female with bitch,” he said  “I’d never do that [use sexist hashtags], I’d be embarrassed.”

Smith’s reason for starting The Ganja Girls is complex. He had just left the military and was coping with his wife’s recently diagnosed terminal illness. She regularly smoked marijuana to ease the pain and Smith noticed that she’d get derogatory comments from other women for using it. Women who judged her for her “weed” but let their daughters “dress like Paris Hilton; 7 year olds with lipstick and makeup on.”

Smith decided it wasn’t fair that his wife was judged this way, and wanted to take away the stigma of smoking bud.

“I thought whatever hot girls do in public, the media is OK with is, so I decided if I could get pictures of hot girls smoking it might help change the image of weed,” he said. Smith started taking photos in 2009 in his studio, and was soon publishing them online. Very quickly he was overwhelmed with women applying to model for free. He regularly gets over 600 applications from wannabe models a week.

“I only care about showing the sexy side of marijuana and the more I can show it, the more I can normalize it,” he said. “I don’t pay these girls anything. They choose what outfits to wear and when we do photoshoots its mostly just fun, its about what they want to do.”

A quick browse through the site shows that "what they want to do” is flash their ass at the camera whilst seductively blowing smoke and/or caressing a pipe with their breasts.

The Ganja Girls website is an extension of the #weedwhore and #cannabiscuties hashtags that you see on Instagram, but it’s not unique in this field. Numerous other “weed and women” websites populate the web, with content freely available.

But they have more in common that sexy women smokers. GGDub, created in 2005 was originally intended as a spoof of Girls Gone Wild, but gained a large following with their smart and sensitive commentary about the world of weed (and yes, also for their sexy photos).

“Instead of girls getting drunk and acting like fools, the GGDub crew would be chill, sensitive, intelligent, like to hike, swim, surf, practice our photography, burn joints and watch good movies,” they wrote on their website.

Both The Ganja Girls and GGDub have admirable values, but their mandate is a far step away from those using the #weedwhore hashtag on Instagram.

But what’s the incentive for the Insta-Weed girls to pout, pose and then post pictures using derogatory hashtags?

“I think its like an FU to Dad, showing the world they’re not ashamed if they smoke weed, “ Smith said. “Plus, personally, I make really awesome video and photo edits of them and they want to have those.” Smith doesn’t use negative hashtags, but women who take his images and repost them sometimes do.

But it’s not everyone.

Not all girls who post #stonergirl hashtags also use the #onebakedbitch and its ilk. Many girls like to celebrate their love of weed but don’t feel the need to be negative - or perceived as negative -  about themselves as well.

And using terms like #crunkbitch or #onebakedbitch is negative. Really. Even if you use the tag “ironically” or if its used by women who are dressed, and not in lingerie (a search of the term provides a mix of images).

“We argue that “bitch,” even when used by women in a friendly way, or by women and men as a so-called generic, for example, 'That test was a bitch!' or 'Stop bitching!' reinforces sexism, and thus hurts all women,” wrote UNC Sociology Professor Sherryl Kleinman in a paper called “The Social Harms of “Bitch.”

She wrote about the idea that  some women think that using the term “bitch” is a way of reclaiming the word,  using it in a positive way. “To reclaim implies that one had an original claim, one that was taken away by others,” writes Kleinman. “But a “bitch” is a female dog, and the word has been used to dehumanize women for a long time. Young women who greet each other with a friendly 'What’s up, bitches?' admit that they also say 'She’s a bitch' in an unfriendly way.”

Nicole Reyes is Assistant manager of The Nug Brand, a company that sells a variety of marijuana themed apparel, some extremely provocative. She regularly posts images of girls wearing very little on the company's social media feeds. Since she started working, she said that their network has significantly increased; they currently have 5761 Instagram followers and 11463 Facebook likes at the time of writing.

However, she never uses terms like #weedwhore or #crunkbitch

“I think it’s a slang thing,” she said. “Generations now are more brutal than earlier generations. With certain words we would be, 'Woah don’t say that,' and  they are now unfortunately used as terms of endearment.”

Reyes uses a variety of weed-related hashtags to help build The Nug Brand’s profile, but she avoids using terms that could be seen as offensive. “Hashtags are supposed to help get your pictures out there,” she said. “I use the popular weed ones, but don’t think #weedwhore and a lof of those are professional enough. People express themselves different always but we don’t want to do that.”

The Nug Brand isn’t just a marijuana clothing company, it’s also a weed friendly culture . “It’s definitely a lifestyle,” said Reyes. “We don’t think that cannabis should be frowned upon and it should be legal so people can use it.”

In some ways the #weedwhore movement can be seen as positive. Women are clearly comfortable sharing their smoking habits, proud of their images and trying to be playful. The proliferation of these terms is generally used in a friendly context, and though it objectifies women, there is some power to having consciously used these words, rather than having them ascribed to you.

The Girls Gone Weed movement is more refined and less vacuous than Girls Gone Wild,or at least that’s the perception of it.  Sure, we can argue that posting images with illegal substances online might be seen as “worse” than getting drunk and flashing on video - but the marijuana movement supports the #stonergirls, and provides  backup. Girls Gone Wild was purely for objectifying women, but there is more than sex to the Girls Gone Weed movement, despite the issues that exist within it, and that’s a positive takeaway.

The paper was co-authored with  Sherryl Kleinman, Matthew B. Ezzell and Anda Corey Frost Note: No Girls Gone Weed girls responded to requests for a comment.

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More than half of Americans support marijuana legalization. Still, the federal government considers it a dangerous drug. This is a look at the science, the conversations, and the politics of pot.

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