Opinions

Feminist Apparel CEO Scandal

      If you are familiar with feminist slogans such as “Nevertheless, she persisted”, “Femme ain’t frail” or even “Pizza rolls not gender roles”, you may be familiar with the brand Feminist Apparel that was originally based in Philadelphia, PA. However, the brand is facing a public campaign for customers to retract their business from the company after a Facebook post from CEO, Javier Martofel, emerged where he admitted to various instances of sexual abuse. In 2013, Martofel said creating the company was his way of a “humble” attempt to help fix rape culture in our society. However, several staffers and reporters were misled–this is not the origin story they heard. After he was confronted by his own staff, he stepped down as CEO, but still remained in the company. Ten days later, he fired his whole staff.

      As someone who has bought merchandise from Feminist Apparel, I was shocked to discover this had happened over the summer. How can I, as a feminist, continue to support a company that claims to support women but simultaneously takes advantage of them? This unfortunately follows the trend that men who are in positions of power chose to exploit women for their own personal gain.

      Martofel then has the audacity to ask: “Is feminism an inclusive movement or not? If it is, it can’t simply be inclusive of those with spotless histories,” he said. “If it isn’t, then that’s not the feminism I signed up for.”

      It is one thing to be called out for past behavior, grow from it and use your privilege as a man to help the cause in the future. It is a totally different situation if you are called out on that behavior, and instead of owning up to it and apologizing for that behavior, you instead fire all your staff (that are mostly women) and then claim they do not really know what feminism is. This type of thinking is exactly why I will no longer support or buy from Feminist Apparel until it is led by people who actually know and support what feminism really is.

      Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

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