(Pictured above: Gloria Steinem)
Land’s End – the Wisconsin-based clothing retailer – provoked controversy recently when it published an interview with renowned feminist writer and icon Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog.
As part of the company’s “Legend Series,” Land’s End intended to underscore the contributions Steinem has made to the advancement of women’s equality. Instead, it attracted the ire of anti-choice advocates who pointed out Steinem’s support for abortion rights.
“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,” a statement from Lands End read.
In response to the interview, some religious schools have announced that they will cease purchasing uniforms and other goods from the company. Anti-choice advocates are calling for a boycott.
The interview was shaped around an appeal for shoppers to donate to the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition (ERA) – an organization whose aim is to pass a new amendment to the United States Constitution to explicitly “prohibit discrimination against girls and women on the basis of sex.” The option to give to the organization now appears gone in the wake of the interview’s backlash.
Unfortunately, the opportunity for a thoughtful and engaging dialogue about the advancement of women’s equality was cut down by the first sign of controversy. Doubtlessly, the ERA Coalition would have stood to benefit from Legend Series initiative. Instead, a worthwhile organization has witnessed another potential revenue stream dry up.