Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wife beating, Its a dirty job but somebody has to it

Well, imagine my surprise to learn when reading a reader's comment that someone must undertake the dirty job of wife beating. It's almost enough to make me stop reading the "Readers Respond" columns under the stories published in 4 out of the 5 daily papers in Maine about the Kmart Attitude 66 tshirt Hardy Girls and Boys to Men teens asked Kmart to remove from its shelves. While it was painful enough to learn that Kmart and its parent company Sears Holdings Corp. thought the t-shirt's message "light-hearted" even though it was clearly a depiction of violence against a young girl, it's deeply troubling to read the blogs. Clearly they are written by angry men. But why? These men all had mothers and grandmothers and, many no doubt have sisters, aunts and daughters. Do they think that's what those women deserve or is it just that misogyny is so mainstream that they don't even question what they are writing/saying/thinking.

I'll stop now because I really hope that you will follow the link to Bob Herbert's Why Arent' We Shocked and then start to think, especially if you are male, what you can do to reverse this attitude. After all, when you come right down to it, it's really only men who can stop violence against women and children.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Problem NOT Solved

Are they kidding? After being asked, oh so politely, by 4 young people from *Hardy Girls Healthy Women and Boys to Men, to remove a Route 66 Attitude t-shirt making a joke of violence against a girl, Kimberly Freely, Mgr. of Corporate Relations for Sears Holdings Corporation said "no". According to Ms. Freely, the shirt's message is not meant to be taken as supporting domestic violence. She claims the company "in no way promotes, supports or condones this type of behavior." Besides, she says, the figures are cartoon characters, not real people. The manufacturer said the t-shirt depicts a brother and sister.

Hmm, what does they think domestic violence is if not something that takes place within a family? Last night on Maine Public Broadcasting's Maine Things Considered ( ) another company spokesperson Chris Brathwait declared "In general, Attitutude t-shirts are meant to be light-hearted...we serve a diverse customer base". What do they find light-hearted about a crime which 1/3 of women in American report suffering from? And, everyone agrees, the reports are nowhere close to the real numbers. He went on to note the the Hardy Girls and Boys to Men letter to Aylwin Lewis, CEO of Sears Holdings was one of the very few the company had received....or maybe one of the few they are acknowledging.

In case you are thinking of adding your voice to those of Hardy Girls and Boys to Men, here are the three things we've asked the company to do:

1) pull the shirts immediately (and don't dump them in developing countries)
2) become a leader in the efforts to prevent violence against women and children
3) partner with the domestic violence and sexual assault programs in every town in which they have a store to provide their employees with training so that they can recognize, refer and get help for domestic violence or sexual assault if they need to.

Aylwin B. Lewis, President Sears Holdings 3333 Beverly RoadHoffman Estates, IL 60179 Primary Phone: 847-286-2500Secondary Phone: 1-800-549-4505Fax: 847-286-7829E-Mail: Aylwin B. Lewis, Sears Holdings or number 1-866-562-7848.

*the site might be down. we've been overwhelmed with hits but expect it will be back up shortly!