Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spreading the Word

Deep down I am an activist. I want to change the world and make it a better place. Deep down I am also a coward who is fearful for my safety.

The internet is a great place for me to be an activist, because I can say what I need to say and you can take it or leave it. It relieves each of us from accountability.

In this case, I am taking action and inviting you to join me.

Tonight, I came across an issue that is a bit disturbing: Victoria's Secret shut down a viral campaign called "pinklovesconsent.com", because they were using their brand name, "pink", and heart logo. This campaign was merely trying to create a catchy parody that would capture people's attention long enough to educate them that "consent is sexy". Pink loves consent campaign was working to combat the culture of rape that is rampent in our country. This is a good thing, so why does Victoria's Secret want to shut it down? Because this is "confusing" their customers. But I digress...

If you want to more information read HERE and at the Huffington Post.

Below is the letter I wrote to Victoria's Secret customer service. It was a small step toward activism and I am getting the word out on Facebook and here. However, the reality is that a big company like this isn't going to make changes simply, because they will loose my business. But imagine if they lost hundreds of peoples business, especially during the holiday season? That might make them listen. And if they lost thousands of peoples' business from all over the country? That might make them change.

Man or woman, I urge you to get involved: write an email, post the article, tell someone you know about this issue. We need to combat the culture of rape that is prevalent in our society and lend our support, our money, and our voice to those, like FORCE who are trying to create a culture where consent is sexy.

Dear Victoria's Secret Customer Service,

I am an Angel Credit Card holder and exclusively buy my intimate apparel at Victoria's Secret. I like the styles, the fit, and easy accessibility. In the past I have been disappointed by rumors of poor working conditions for your garment makers. This is just heresy, because I have not been able to find any direct studies that show that Victoria's Secret's garments are made in sweat-shops. However, your garments are made in countries like India, Shri Lanka, and China, to name a few, which are notorious for their dangerous working conditions, measly pay, and loose labor laws. I considered pulling my business and encouraging others to do the same, but I did a little cross comparison and realized that most intimate apparel is manufactured in countries with similar working conditions, pay, and labor laws. I decided to keep my business with Victoria's Secret. 

Now I am reading about the issue with the FORCE website, "pinklovesconsent.com". As an advocate for consent and as a woman, I am appalled that you are fighting for your brand over educating the public about consent. As a company, you should be HONORED that FORCE is using your brand to create awareness on this very important subject. I am not sure about the legality surrounding the use of your logo and name, but FORCE  says that parody is protected under the 1st amendment. Either way, it is just tacky and offensive that you asked and then compeled them, through lawyers, to take it down. 

I was already contemplating taking my business to competitors, because of the labour issue and have not been very impressed with the products or customer service recently. Now, I am definitely taking my business somewhere else, unless Victoria's Secret can change their tune. Get on board with consent! Change the culture of rape that is rampent in our society. As a store mainly for women, you should be empowering women. FORCE is trying to do just that, so you should be supporting them, funding them, and thanking them, not getting in their way. Your argument for making them take down the website was that you did not want your customers confused. This customer is not confused: it is crystal clear to me that you are A company I no longer want to support. 

Robyn Hall