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These Australian feminists got threatened with rape, death for making a certain point with cupcakes

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The fight for equality can be bittersweet.

Madeline Price, a student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, spent part of her weekend planning a bake sale. The main confection would be cupcakes, followed by brownies. But before any frosting was frosted and sprinkles sprinkled, Price’s sugared goods became the subject of uproar online.

The reason was her pricing scheme. As part of the university’s “Feminist Week”, Price decided to charge consumers different prices depending on the groups with which they identified.

White men would pay full price — $1. A woman, by comparison, would pay 83 cents.

These ratios were based on data from the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and calibrated around gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and whether the individual identified as having a disability.

The point was to demonstrate, in a tongue-in-cheek way, the numbers behind the gender pay gap in Australia — where, on average, women working full-time earn 83 percent of what men earn also working full-time. But Price, who serves as the student union’s vice president of gender and sexuality, ended up making another point in the process.

“Out of all the events we are hosting this week, our innocuous bake sale generated the most attention,” Price told The Washington Post in an email Wednesday morning. “It wasn’t meant to be a feature event, yet it riled the most feathers.”

As news of the event began to spread on Facebook, Price and her co-organizers became the victims of online harassment.

With swift ferocity, attendees and event planners were threatened by anonymous commentators who felt that the bake sale discriminated against men and manufactured inequality.

Many questioned whether there is a gender pay gap at all. Others called the bake sale organizers “hypocrites.” And some, in an effort to prove that sexism no longer exists, besieged the student union and women’s collective Facebook pages with sexist, violent messages:

“I’m so glad I know this event is on, now I won’t have to sort through all the ugly chicks when I’m out clubbing cos they’ll all be at feminist week instead”

“I’d punch a chick if she winked at me at the bake sale”

“Females are f—king scum, they should be put down as babies”

“Kill all women,” someone wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

“I want to rape these feminist [expletive] with their f—king baked goods.”

A viral post by a person identified as Ashley Millsteed, a male Queensland student, condemned the sale.

“UQU [the student union], which is meant to represent all students, is engaging in conduct that’s blatantly discriminatory against men to try and make some asinine political point,” Millsteed wrote, according to the Brisbane Times.

Another student, Harry Wood, accused bake sale organizers of tarnishing the memory of Susan B. Anthony.

Price told The Post that most of the negative responses came from outside the university — from overseas accounts, anonymous and fake accounts, and locals in the Brisbane region. As for why people reacted so strongly, Price blamed a lack of education.

“We still have a lot of Australians arguing that inequality does not exist in Australia,” Price said, “so it is hard to get people to focus on a specific aspect of inequality if they don’t believe there is inequality at all.”

She added that just a few years ago, “you could never broach the subject of gender inequality on campus without being quickly hushed.”

The actual bake sale on Tuesday was a success: the group sold more than 200 baked goods in just over an hour, with proceeds going to a nonprofit that provides feminine hygiene products to homeless and at-risk women.

Mike Wood, a Queensland student, told Buzzfeed that he was happy to have purchased $1 brownies for himself and a couple male friends.

“The girls who were selling them were lovely and they asked if I identified as a white male and I said yes,” Wood said, adding that he “wanted to see the keyboard warriors try to protest in real life,” but none of the online opponents appeared to be in physical attendance.

The idea of an inequality bake sale is not entirely novel. The College Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley held such an event in 2011 in support of a different argument — about affirmative action.

According to CBS, white males were charged $2, Asians $1.50, Latinos $1, African Americans 75 cents and Native Americans 25 cents.

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