- Gloria Steinem pictured during her Ms. magazine heyday circa 1971
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem bizarrely popped up in the most recent Lands’ End catalog. The brand is experimenting and has never had a celebrity featured before in something called the “Legends” feature.
- Steinem here in the Lands’ End catalog, which has now been redacted
Even though the feature was a glossy lightweight feature about Steinem, not mentioning anything controversial, this new editorial insert has ignited a firestorm in America and seriously impacted Lands’ End brand – after they apologised to customers who made complaints about her use in the catalog.
But why her and why now? Because of her stance on abortion.
- Steinem in her later years has been outspoken about abortion rights
This is a political year in America. People are lining up on either side of the abortion debate, and there’s the late Antonin Scalia’s slot in the Supreme Court that needs to be filled.
Many opponents of abortion view Steinem as a gender hustler in the same way that Reverand Al Sharpton is viewed by many as a race hustler.
But after Lands’ End issued an apology for featuring her, that caused another backlash from people on the other side of the opinion divide saying they would boycott the brand as well.
Last night on Last Week Tonight on HBO, host John Oliver highlighted the predicament Steinem put Lands’ End in, and how the retailer has put everyone on either side against them with their campaign.
A frequent expert commentator for Monsters and Critics is Rebecca Brooks, co-founder of marketing firm Alter Agents.
She spoke with me about Lands’ End and Steinem this morning and said the brand’s attempt to be “relevant” in its catalog interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem gets an “A” for effort and an “F” for execution.
Brooks says: “Lands’ End was naive about the impact this would have and are unprepared. If they knew what they were getting into, it could have been a defining, brand-changing event for them.
“But the wishy-washy retraction just made them look foolish and now they’ve lost both sides.”
Many viewed Lands’ End’s use of Steinem as cosigning to her fight for feminism, which they equate with abortion, divorce, LGBT Culture, dysfunctional homes and “the war on men”.
Lands’ End acquiescing to these demands has now riled up the pro-choice post-feminist and feminist crowds who are boycotting based on their bending to the conservatives.