Last month, ASU's Undergraduate Student Government Tempe released a flyer with a simple message: ‘Go F<3CK Yourself.'
The flyer was advertising a "shame-free" masturbation seminar initially scheduled for Feb. 13. But, after negative news coverage from right-wing websites such as Breitbart and Nation One News, the event was cancelled, even after its name was changed to "Go Love Yourself."
USGT President and business and marketing senior Brittany Benedict said there was a "negative vibe around the event" and that USG will be taking student voices into consideration when planning future events.
"We wanted to direct our energy toward a more positive workshop, so we went back to the drawing board," Benedict said.
According to the flyer, the event would be centered on "pleasure-focused discussion" and would feature sex toy giveaways.
“Masturbation can be a great way to explore your body and better understand yourself," the flyer read.
Natalie Treacy, a "pleasure professional" at O.school, an organization that promotes sex positivity and education, would have hosted the event through video chat.
Hannah Grabowski, a justice studies and women and gender studies senior and USGT director of sexual well-being, originally organized the workshop.
She said nobody in student government objected to the name until negative media coverage surfaced from outlets like Breitbart.
"The administration's hesitancy to support our event shows students that ASU values their reputation in the eyes of the radical right wing media over students' wants, needs and commitments to the overall health of the community we serve," Grabowski said.
The name "breaks down barriers" of how students talk about masturbation and opens a much-needed dialogue, she said.
"It is more than appropriate to be explicit, not graphic, in our dialogue as sex is just that – at times messy and explorative," Grabowski said. "I think that even with a different name, our event would have received pushback. This is not about the name of the event, but rather the silencing of youth voices."
In her position at USGT, Grabowski organizes events and reaches out to the student body to promote an open dialogue about sexual well-being and sexual violence prevention.
“During her term, she has put on a lot of great events,” Benedict said.
Desirae Taylor, a junior undergraduate psychology student who studies human sexuality, said the cancellation of the event was unfortunate.
"With a hope to teach sexual health, I think it is important we talk about sex and our own sexuality," Taylor said.