In light of the recent controversy surrounding Lands’ End, we would like to share our thoughts on this issue.
While we understand that Lands’ End is a large corporation with specific customer satisfactions that need to be met, their reasoning behind their taking down the interview and the way they handled the backlash thereafter are regrettable.
Let us analyze their official apology that was posted on Facebook. The following is the sentence we have the biggest problem with: “It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue, so when some of our customers saw the recent promotion that way, we heard them.”
Ironically, the backlash is centered on anti-abortion sentiment, although nowhere in the article is abortion mentioned. Furthermore, the discussion of feminism in the article is not even radical enough to spark outrage, unless Gloria Steinem’s explanation of why she thinks we need an Equal Rights Amendment is factored in. In that case, we find that troubling too.
Equal rights should not be a “divisive” issue. To the people who say that equal rights are, at the moment, a divisive issue, we agree. Currently, there are many people who disagree with the idea that women should have the same social standing as men. However, the word “divisive” itself has negative connotations, thus perpetuating the idea that we should not hold these discussions of feminism because they are too controversial when, in reality, these conversations help people learn more about oppression and social justice and therefore learn how to empower women and inspire others to care and take action.
Feminism should not be something anyone should be ashamed to talk about.
Lands’ End’s dedication to “some of [their] customers” was unfortunately a blatant dismissal of their other customers: women and girls who believe in female empowerment. Yes, they have the freedom to endorse or not to endorse stances on particular issues, but after displaying their support of Gloria Steinem and her work, they wavered and changed their mind, which is disappointing.
We would like to emphasize that we are here to convey our opinion and nothing more. We are not here to force our opinion on anyone else and to pressure them into accepting it. We want to help encourage debate and discussion within the Archer community.
Audrey Koh ‘17 and Hollis Dohr ‘17