A College Welcomed Female Students With A Joke About Spitting And Swallowing

Picture yourself as a young women just starting off at a brand new school. University, in fact. It’s a new chapter in your life, higher education, and so, so exciting. You open up a pack of materials send to you from your university to welcome you to campus and amongst the usual maps, coupons, and brochures, there’s a placard with a weirdly graphic close up of a woman’s mouth full of white, viscous liquid paired with a joke referencing fellatio. Hmm.

This is what happened at the University of Sussex, according to Buzzfeed News, and according to a tweet from a student named Raquel Rosario Sánchez. Sánchez photographed the insert from a company called Brush Box, which reads, “Whether you spit or swallow as part of your (twice…) daily oral regime, place your oral health on autopilot with Brushbox.”

Not terrible oral hygiene advice, but when paired with this image, it has a completely different meaning:

You can see that the woman’s mouth appears to be filled with toothpaste foam, and the text is a double entendre about semen. If you have any doubt about that, ask around to see how many people swallow a mouth full of used toothpaste after brushing. Blech!


A lot of people were pretty disgusted with the implied message. Not that there’s anything wrong with oral sex, but you definitely want your school to stay out of it. Many also found it gross that women were being reduced to a gaping mouth on their first day of school:

The University responded on Twitter and also told Buzzfeed, “We were very disappointed to find this promotional material in our Dig-In boxes, and will be reviewing whether to renew our contract with this supplier.”

A BrushBox spokesperson gave BuzzFeed the following statement:

“We are really sorry if anyone has been offended by the promotional image used in the Dig-In boxes. We now realise it was inappropriate and misguided of us to use this type of image as a way to raise awareness of dental health issues.

“We completely understand that the image could be deemed as derogatory to women and for that we are truly sorry – this was never our intention, and we take full responsibility for any upset it has caused.

“BrushBox is a company which prides itself on its family and ethical ethos and we are very disappointed that something which was meant to encourage good health habits amongst students has caused any offense.”

The company that puts together the boxes is called Dig-IN, and the’ve also apologized, saying,”Dig-In would like to apologize unreservedly for its part in distributing Brush Box’s promotional material. This insert, distributed in our Freshers boxes does not in any way reflect our high ethical standards and we have put immediate measures in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Good to know. Next time, when you’re deciding what goes in a box, ask yourself if it’s something you’d be comfortable with a professor handing you.