"Let the Catcalling Commence" : Burt's Bees and Street Harassment in Advertising

On November 14th, Hollaback! issued a petition urging Burt's Bees to apologize and stop distribution on their GUD product with offensive labeling that encouraged users to "let the catcalling commence." The community response was overwhelming.

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  1. On Thursday morning, Hollaback! created a Change.org petition, bringing light to the issue and requesting that Burt's Bees and GUD issue an apology and stop distribution of the product.
  2. Supporters quickly stood up, arguing that the decision to publish "let the catcalling commence" on Burt's Bees labeling was unacceptable.
  3. One of the main points brought up was that the ad implied that women "desired" catcalls, or street harassment.  Many supporters dismantled that belief, writing that street harassment can be scary, objectifying, and depressing.
  4. Hollaback!'s Change.org petition took off, with hundreds of signatures piling up.
  5. In response, Burt's Bees and GUD issued an apology on their facebook page.
  6. We would like to address a topic that has recently caused concern for many of you. First, we apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone. güd, from Burt’s Bees, in no way encourages gender-based harassment and the objectification of women. güd is a brand built on positivity. Our products are designed to make women feel good on the inside and out. We want women everywhere to be able to enjoy amazing smelling natural personal care products that will leave them smiling, not attracting undesirable and disrespectful attention. This product will only be on shelves while supplies last.
  7. But Hollaback! didn't back down, calling the apology a "non-apology" and continuing to push for the company to apologize and stop production on the offensive labels.
  8. Many found the "fauxpology" triggering, claiming it was another example of social justice concerns being dismissed.  Supporters took to twitter, asking more of the company and pushing them to implement change in their advertising department.  
  9. Hollaback! continues to challenge Burt's Bees to do better.  In the past few hours they have collected over 800 signatures and counting.  The nonprofit remains committed to opening a dialogue with Burt's Bees about street harassment and advertising and continues to reach out to the company.
  10. Step up and join them!  Sign the Change.org petition and challenge victim blaming and street harassment in advertising!
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