US State Department Sends Sexist Spring Break Tweet, Apologizes

US Department of State
image: USA Today

The US Department of State has a Twitter account (@TravelGov) where it shares all sorts of travel-related information.

They tweet about passport information, travel tips,  travel safety and more. When it comes to safety, its probably best that they refrain from trying to be witty or funny in the future.

Yesterday the State Department sent out tweets related to Spring Break with the hashtag #springbreakbadly.

Here are a couple of useful tweets:

  • If u are ill or injured abroad, US embassy can help u find medical service & tell your family/ friends.
  • If you are traveling overseas and notice an ongoing demonstration, don’t join in! 
  • Apply early for your passport so you don’t miss your spring break trip!
  • Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity left! Some countries will turn you around if not.

I think you get the idea…

They also tried to be funny but it didn’t go so well….

@TravelGov tweeted “Not a “10” in the US? Then not a 10  overseas. Beware of  being lured into buying expensive drinks  or worse- being robbed. #springbreakbadly

Many took offense to the tweet finding it to be sexist or that it implied that unattractive Americans are easy targets for con-artists. (Do better-looking people not get scammed too?)

In the end the State Department deleted the offensive tweet and apologized.

I don’t know about you, but I found the tweet to be funny in some ways and don’t really think it was the intention to offend. However, they definitely could’ve came up with a better way to get their message across.

What do you think about the US State Department’s tweet? Offensive or funny?

11 thoughts on “US State Department Sends Sexist Spring Break Tweet, Apologizes

  1. How in the world is this sexist? No gendered pronouns were used, and last time I checked with male and female friends, both genders use a 1-10 rating scale to rate people’s attractiveness. This could apply to both men and women.

    Maybe your way of thinking is sexist if you think this only applies to one gender.

  2. The tweet made no mention of specific sexes/genders, so I don’t see how it can be sexist. It’s biased against ugly people, possibly, but I never heard of ugly people demanding equality. Just another example of #ShamelessAmerica .

  3. Your headline is sensationalist. The tweet wasn’t sexist at all – it applies to both men and women and suggests that, if you are getting more attention than you are used to while being overseas, people may want to scam you. Anyone who has travelled to the third world knows that this is true.

  4. I had no problem with it. Sure, it could have been phrased better, but lots of scams or worse do take advantage of attraction. If a gorgeous woman approaches me when I’m traveling, I’m immediately skeptical because that doesn’t happen at home.

  5. I thought they were funny and well done. They were targeting a specific population (young and social media savvy, going on spring break, meaning: sees much worse than this every day) and attracted attention. The message is undoubtedly valid.
    The usual professionals of outrage decided it was too much… good for them if they want to call that a win. We all lost when a good, not obvious message was taken away from the travelers.
    We’ll have to start adding disclaimers to tweets the same way we have them at the end of drug commercials.
    I find your clickbait title similarly annoying. Sexist? Please…

  6. D- I found it somewhat funny but still don’t think it was the best way to get their message across.

    Lawrence- Tons of people found it sexist and that was why the tweet was removed. While no pronouns were used, a 10 typically refers to women.

    The term 10 comes from the movie “10”. From Wikipedia: “The title refers to her physical attractiveness being “a perfect 10″, on a rating scale of 1 to 10”. I’m not so sure that many men are described as 10s.

    Flyer- See above.

    Pat- See above.

    Nezafazeme – Are you surprised by the political correctness and how people take offense to just about everything these days?

    John Smith- Why? The term “10” typically refers to women. Westerners traveling the world do get extra attention due to locals assuming they have money. The gov tweet implied that looks would play a role for getting more attention and then getting scammed.

    dan- See above.

    Everybody Hates A Tourist- Agreed.

    Ben- A good message? Really? Like I said I did find it funny but tons of people found it sexist and offensive and thus the tweet was removed. Funny or not, the message could’ve been delivered in a better way. If you consider a tweet saying if you’re ugly at home then your still ugly overseas a good one, then enjoy. Sorry to have annoyed you! LOL

    1. Apologies, I had missed your reply.
      I do find it to be a good message, for a simple reason: it is a helpful reminder to be skeptical of “too good to be true” attentions, and unless I am mistaken you find it to be a good one as well, as you agreed with @Everybody Hates a Tourist. If you think about it, your joke on my comment is similarly childish, and you are perfectly right to make it.
      I do find it curious that at the end of your post you ask for opinions (I quote: “Offensive or funny?”) but then you proceed to belittle people who answered your question. If your opinion is formed and you are unwilling to have a true discussion / change opinion, maybe don’t ask?
      Also interesting to note that none of the (quoting you) “tons of people who found it sexist and offensive” felt compelled to write in, but 9 people took the time to disagree (in civilized tone). Maybe there was some truth in my comment re: “professionals of outrage”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *