Just when I think things are looking up I pick up the paper and anger and depression resurface all too quickly. I just finished reading an email with two pieces of good news — from Rebecca Malotke-Meslin, member of NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force

1) Meijer’s (retail supercenter) corporate headquarters is issuing a NATIONAL RECALL of the offending Problem Solved t-shirts. They are pulling the remaining shirts. They could not have been more apologetic. When informed that it’s probably a good thing because local women were organizing a demonstration against sellers of the shirts, the Meijer corporate spokesperson replied, “Oh, no, we don’t need that.” (However, the change has not yet affected their website and the shirt is still being advertised, and we’re keeping an eye on this as we certainly hope they don’t plan to leave it up until the next ad comes out.)

2)People Called Women Bookstore is organizing a Kmart Protest in Toledo, Ohio
Date: Sunday, January 21, 2007
Time: 1:00pm
Place: Outside KMart at Alexis and Jackman
What: Protest of sexist and violence-promoting t-shirts being marketed to young boys (and men at other locations)
Who: Parents of slain women, survivors of violence, concerned citizens, kids against violence
Details: The morning of the event, formal letters of complaint and pending girlcott will be hand-delivered to all local area stores known to stock this shirt. Signatures for the letter are being collected by women planning to attend as well as at People Called Women (3153 W. Central). Tshirts from the Clothesline Project will be on display, and Silent Witnesses will be in attendance. KMart was chosen as the first stop on the girlcott tour as 1) they were the first to market it, 2) they chose to market it to children and 3) corporate has already publicly responded they will NOT pull the shirts; however, depending upon the response from other stores which stock it, more pickets may follow.

In case you’ve forgotten the introductory sentence before the two pieces of good news, there’s horrible news. For the second time in less than a month, the front page of my local paper has the story of a domestic murder. Last month it was of 13 year old Anthony Tucker trying to get his sister and mother out of the house when he was shot and killed by his mother’s partner. Yesterday Rhonda Reynolds was shot in front of her small children by her husband Richard Reynolds from whom she had a protection order.

What part of violence against women and children does Kmart still find “lighthearted” enough to market to children? You cannot divorce the insidious messages this culture gives to young boys that violence is an okay way to show you are a man. That message isn’t going to change until the 95% of men who don’t abuse women and children step up their action and raise their voices to make it known that real men don’t slap, kick, punch and kill those who are less powerful then they are.

From: “Jess Morgan”
Reply-To: NOW Young Feminist Task Force
To: “NOW Young Feminist Task Force”
Subject: [NOW YFTF] Just wondering…
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 11:05:23 -0500

Hello young feminists! My organization is trying to get Kmart to pull a t-shirt for children that promotes domestic violence, and is stereotypical for girls and boys. If you’d like to see this ridiculous t-shirt, the url is http://www.hardygirlshealthywomen.org/i/tshirt.pdf.
I’d like to know what you all think, you know, if its convenient. Thanks, and g’day!
Jess Morgan
ps- More info about what we are doing is at www.hghw.org.

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