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 ( http://www.mpbn.net/radio/stories.html ) 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
http://www.kmart.com/custserv/custserv.jsp?contentId=1phone number 1-866-562-7848.

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

2 comments:

Kristin said...

By distributing these shirts nationwide, KMart/Sears is contributing to a culture that condones and makes light of violence against women. Imagine putting this shirt on your own five year old boy? They come in sizes as small as 5/6 which conveniently fits up to 54 pounds. And we wonder why some kids have "attitude." It's time for KMart/Sears to do the right thing, pull these shirts and start promoting policies that support kids and ultimately our society.

CatOHara said...

I just wanted to let you know that I used your blog as a basis for my letter to KMart/Sears. It reads as follows:

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my understanding that after being asked by four 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, Manager of Corporate Relations for Sears Holdings Corporation said "no," claiming that your company "in no way promotes, supports or condones this type of behavior." She went on to explain that the figures are cartoon characters, not real people. Another company spokesperson, Chris Brathwait, declared on a radio talk program in Maine, "In general, Attitude t-shirts are meant to be lighthearted...we serve a diverse customer base." And the manufacturer has said the t-shirt depicts a brother and sister.

The statements of Ms. Freely, Mr. Brathwait and the shirt’s manufacturers are wrong. KMart/Sears does, indeed, promote violence against females by retailing this or any other item that depicts images of violence against females and suggests that violence against females solves problems. Violence against females is not lighthearted and domestic violence against females is not exempt.

On the radio program, Mr. Brathwait went on to note that the Hardy Girls and Boys to Men letter to Aylwin Lewis, CEO of Sears Holdings, was one of the very few that the company had received. KMart/Sears and Mr. Brathwait should be (and probably are) aware that the letter from Hardy Girls and Boys to Men, although written and submitted by only four people, represents the many members of both groups as well as those of us who support their work. Because your company representatives, however, have chosen to believe that the protests of the four letter writers represent them and them alone, I have chosen to add my voice to those that are speaking their disapproval of the shirt and of KMart/Sears for selling the shirt.

As of this moment, I vow not to purchase from KMart or Sears until the Problem Solved shirts are pulled from the shelves of all KMart stores. Furthermore, I will inform my friends and family that the powers that be at KMart and Sears find violence against females to be humorous and will request that they, too, stop shopping at KMart and Sears until the shirts are pulled from the shelves of all KMart stores. I will also request that they tell those in their circles about the shirts and the fact that KMart/Sears finds cartoon depictions of violence against females to be humorous. This will not be a great sacrifice for any of us. After all, there’s nothing on the shelves of KMart and Sears that can’t be found on the shelves of Target, Home Depot, and Pep Boys…except for t-shirts with images of violence against females.

Sincerely,
(my name and city here)


Just wanted to let you know that I've reused some of your wording and also to share in case others would like to use the text for their letter, too.

:)