Lands’ End has pulled back on a feminist marketing strategy.
The retailer featured an interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem as a part of its newly launched “Legend Series” — and then removed the post from its website, according to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. The feature was reportedly in the company’s Easter catalogue, as well.
According to the news site, the since-removed feature was an interview with glamorous and stylish CEO Federica Marchionni. Jezebel notes that the company also had an option to donate to the ERA Coalition’s Fund for Women’s Equality “in honour of Gloria,” which has also been removed. (Jezebel has captured screenshots of both the removed interview and the donation option.)
But Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that the company was met with criticism for featuring Steinem, and that two Catholic schools said they would no longer purchase their uniforms from Lands’ End, as Steinem is associated with promoting abortion, something the schools do not condone.
ABC 17 reported that one of those schools, Tolton Catholic High School, issued a letter explaining why it would terminate their relationship with Lands’ End.
“We believe unequivocally that all life is sacred, from conception until natural death. It would be contrary to our school’s very identity to support a company who celebrates the work of someone so opposed to our belief,” the school wrote (via ABC 17).
LifeNews.com wrote a post criticising the feature, too.
Customers wrote irate comments on Lands’ End’s Facebook page.
“Still can’t figure out why you think a 80 year old woman who wears a tee shirt celebrating abortion is a good face for your brand — especially among the young people you so hope to attract — polls consistently show people age 18-29 are more pro-life than their elders. Maybe your new CEO should move from New York to Wisconsin — she might meet some people who actually buy the clothes Land’s End sells. Unfortunately, my family won’t be among them as we are done with Land’s End,” one female commenter wrote.
“I have been a LE customers for at least 20 years, and I have spent a lot of money on clothing and accessories for my family of 6. I have shopped with you because your clothing has been the most modest, stylish, and best value for my family. After looking at your latest catalogue however, I was horrified. You obviously don’t know who shops with you, or maybe you do and don’t care. In the midst of the celebration of Easter (life), you interview and glorify a woman who fosters a culture of death. If you put aside morality, from a business perspective, you are celebrating a woman who promotes abortion, which kills the children you want people to buy your clothes for. Badly done, LE, badly done. I won’t be shopping with you anymore, and will be informing others so they know what you advocate as well,” another female commenter wrote.
As a result, Lands’ End released an apology statement (Via ABC 17 ):
“We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalogue with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality. We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t. For that, we sincerely apologise. Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance.”
Now, their strategy is backfiring once again. People are furious, claiming they will never shop at Lands’ End again.
I spend a lot of money at Land’s End. I guess I won’t anymore. https://t.co/BooketR6Ks
— Abby Swingen (@AbbySwingen) February 25, 2016
The Facebook page contains an amalgam of furious comments — those who want to abandon shopping at Lands’ End for featuring Steinem, and those who want to boycott it for removing the interview from the website and apologizing for featuring it in the first place.
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