A Feministing win: Wal-Mart pulls “credit card” panties!

Yay Feministing readers! The gross “Who needs credit cards…” panties have been pulled from Wal-Mart:

“We have directed our stores to remove this merchandise from our shelves,” Linda Brown Blakely, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, told FOXNews.com Wednesday.
The undergarments had caused a stir on some blogs prior to Wednesday’s announcement. Scarlett, a reader of Feministing.com, alerted the blog to the holiday-inspired undies, which she found on a rack in the juniors department of a Wal-Mart in Cary, N.C.

Go Scarlett! And as Ann just said via Skype to me: File this away for the “online activism isn’t ‘real life’ activism” rebuttal files. Indeed.
UPDATE: This is hilarious; Fox News has the panty story on their front page. Please go look at the headline this instant.

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118 Comments

  1. A male
    Posted December 15, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    “I think that generally a sexual message directed at women is going to be a sexist message in some way.”
    Or likely to offend, even if the message is by women, for women.
    This is why I consider the discussion on empowerment or porn so interesting.

  2. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    This is truely ridiculous…
    Being in the Intimates business (not for Wal-Mart, but a different large retailer), and knowing a few of the WM staff, I can tell you for certain that they did not intentionally put anything bad in their stores. Hell.. these panties aren’t even bad. Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.
    Just a few questions and comments I would like to post.
    -This program is not in the junior department. Despite what FOX news stated. After researching, this is in the Womens’ Intimates department, not Juniors. Just because a larger junior may be able to fit in these, does not mean that they are targeted at children.
    -I don’t agree w/ Wal-Mart’s decision to pull the product. If they gave into every offended person, they would not be able to sell anything. (One reason I think their sales are hurting is due to their unnessesary cooperation with these fanatics so far.)
    -Just because somebody wanted to complain about something, probably because they were bored, the company and investors are eating millions. Please keep in mind that “Wal-mart” is not one person or “The Man.” It is a company comprised of many investors, childrens’ college funds, and employees with families to feed, etc… Every dollar made or spent affects these people.
    Questions:
    - Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts?? That’s a large statement to make.
    - If these are “prostitute panties” What do you think about Victoria’s Secret or the new Italian lines?
    Would you rather there just be non-fashionable, plain white panties in this country instead??

  3. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    This is truely ridiculous…
    Being in the Intimates business (not for Wal-Mart, but a different large retailer), and knowing a few of the WM staff, I can tell you for certain that they did not intentionally put anything bad in their stores. Hell.. these panties aren’t even bad. Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.
    Just a few questions and comments I would like to post.
    -This program is not in the junior department. Despite what FOX news stated. After researching, this is in the Womens’ Intimates department, not Juniors. Just because a larger junior may be able to fit in these, does not mean that they are targeted at children.
    -I don’t agree w/ Wal-Mart’s decision to pull the product. If they gave into every offended person, they would not be able to sell anything. (One reason I think their sales are hurting is due to their unnessesary cooperation with these fanatics so far.)
    -Just because somebody wanted to complain about something, probably because they were bored, the company and investors are eating millions. Please keep in mind that “Wal-mart” is not one person or “The Man.” It is a company comprised of many investors, childrens’ college funds, and employees with families to feed, etc… Every dollar made or spent affects these people.
    Questions:
    - Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts?? That’s a large statement to make.
    - If these are “prostitute panties” What do you think about Victoria’s Secret or the new Italian lines?
    Would you rather there just be non-fashionable, plain white panties in this country instead??

  4. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    This is truely ridiculous…
    Being in the Intimates business (not for Wal-Mart, but a different large retailer), and knowing a few of the WM staff, I can tell you for certain that they did not intentionally put anything bad in their stores. Hell.. these panties aren’t even bad. Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.
    Just a few questions and comments I would like to post.
    -This program is not in the junior department. Despite what FOX news stated. After researching, this is in the Womens’ Intimates department, not Juniors. Just because a larger junior may be able to fit in these, does not mean that they are targeted at children.
    -I don’t agree w/ Wal-Mart’s decision to pull the product. If they gave into every offended person, they would not be able to sell anything. (One reason I think their sales are hurting is due to their unnessesary cooperation with these fanatics so far.)
    -Just because somebody wanted to complain about something, probably because they were bored, the company and investors are eating millions. Please keep in mind that “Wal-mart” is not one person or “The Man.” It is a company comprised of many investors, childrens’ college funds, and employees with families to feed, etc… Every dollar made or spent affects these people.
    Questions:
    - Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts?? That’s a large statement to make.
    - If these are “prostitute panties” What do you think about Victoria’s Secret or the new Italian lines?
    Would you rather there just be non-fashionable, plain white panties in this country instead??

  5. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    This is truely ridiculous…
    Being in the Intimates business (not for Wal-Mart, but a different large retailer), and knowing a few of the WM staff, I can tell you for certain that they did not intentionally put anything bad in their stores. Hell.. these panties aren’t even bad. Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.
    Just a few questions and comments I would like to post.
    -This program is not in the junior department. Despite what FOX news stated. After researching, this is in the Womens’ Intimates department, not Juniors. Just because a larger junior may be able to fit in these, does not mean that they are targeted at children.
    -I don’t agree w/ Wal-Mart’s decision to pull the product. If they gave into every offended person, they would not be able to sell anything. (One reason I think their sales are hurting is due to their unnessesary cooperation with these fanatics so far.)
    -Just because somebody wanted to complain about something, probably because they were bored, the company and investors are eating millions. Please keep in mind that “Wal-mart” is not one person or “The Man.” It is a company comprised of many investors, childrens’ college funds, and employees with families to feed, etc… Every dollar made or spent affects these people.
    Questions:
    - Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts?? That’s a large statement to make.
    - If these are “prostitute panties” What do you think about Victoria’s Secret or the new Italian lines?
    Would you rather there just be non-fashionable, plain white panties in this country instead??

  6. A male
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    “Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts??”
    No, but that was never the point, if you’ve been reading.
    “If these are ‘prostitute panties’ What do you think about Victoria’s Secret or the new Italian lines? ”
    Last month, my wife brought home a copy of the Victoria’s Secret catalog with what I assume was a previous resident’s name in the address, and left in on the table. I looked through it once, then threw it away. But it was nice. Reminded me of the early 1980s era Playboy, when they still pretended to have class.
    “Would you rather there just be non-fashionable, plain white panties in this country instead??”
    TMI alert:
    I’m for choice, but plain, loose fitting cotton panties with no ornamentation on my wife are my favorite. Hanes for Women, I believe. Even if she doesn’t take them off, the plain hem does not cause undue friction and irritation. The texture also makes for an interesting dental dam.

  7. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    (Ok, so what, i lied about the “concerned consumer” part. But Wal-Mart responds better to the business model and my feedback may have more weight if they believe they’d lose a costumer rather than if i notified them that i don’t shop at Wal-Mart to begin with…)
    This is in reference to ‘nerdalert’s letter to Wal-Mart.
    How did you find the panties in the Jr. section if you don’t shop there??
    Mr. Male, if somebody were offended by your wife’s plain, loose fitting cotton panties w/ no ornamentation and sent a letter to Wal-Mart, do you think that your wife would be happy when they pulled the product?
    I just think that it’s ridiculous to make such false accusations and ruin things for other people. I’m sure there are many women that would have bought these. WM supplies to EVERYBODY. Not just YOU.
    “I don’t know the key to success, but I know the key isn’t to please everybody.”

  8. Webbess
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.
    Enlighten us then. How does your healthy, pristine mind interpret such a phrase?
    -Just because somebody wanted to complain about something, probably because they were bored, the company and investors are eating millions. Please keep in mind that “Wal-mart” is not one person or “The Man.” It is a company comprised of many investors, childrens’ college funds, and employees with families to feed, etc… Every dollar made or spent affects these people.
    OMG We’re such horrible people! Did you hear that everyone? Wal-Mart is going to go out of business because teh crazy feminazis told it to pull some panties!
    But seriously, we know Wal-Mart is not “one person”. We do know that it is the biggest retailer in the world, the Walton family is worth billions of dollars and the company is currently faced with the greatest class-action lawsuit in history for sex discrimination. Surely asking it to pull ONE product is a relatively small thing to ask?
    Do you really think Wal-Mart or its employees are out to turn little girls into sluts?? That’s a large statement to make.
    I think Wal-Mart is out to make money. If they can do that by teaching little girls that their bodies are credit cards, they’ll do just that. However, if they know/think that they’ll be faced with a boycott and bad publicity, they won’t.
    I just think that it’s ridiculous to make such false accusations and ruin things for other people. I’m sure there are many women that would have bought these. WM supplies to EVERYBODY. Not just YOU.
    Who’s life has been ruined? Are you kidding? Wal-Mart sells THOUSANDS of products- I doubt this will make a dent in their overall operations. They are OK! Are the women/girls who wanted them really suffering because they can’t buy these at Wal-Mart? Are they suffering any more than REAL child prostitutes?

  9. A male
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    “Mr. Male, if somebody were offended by your wife’s plain, loose fitting cotton panties w/ no ornamentation and sent a letter to Wal-Mart, do you think that your wife would be happy when they pulled the product?”
    Honestly, my wife would not care. My wife has little interest in fashion, and has very bland taste in clothing. I believe she went with Hanes because they were plain and cheap, or to emulate my own Hanes men’s underwear.
    I would go with whatever else she bought that was less likely to offend, because I have never decided on her underwear. I stay out of the girl and women’s underwear departments for obvious reasons.
    Another thing I would not allow my daughter to wear are the girly colored thongs displayed on the main aisles on my way to the DVD and electronics section of my local store.
    “WM supplies to EVERYBODY. Not just YOU.”
    Precisely. Which is why, “Don’t like, don’t buy” or “Stay out of Wal-Mart” does not apply. The mere existence of the message causes offense.

  10. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    “Precisely. Which is why, “Don’t like, don’t buy” or “Stay out of Wal-Mart” does not apply. The mere existence of the message causes offense.”
    The mere existence of the message causes offense in .1% of people. IMO, political correctness is ruining this country. It’s gotten to the point of being so ridiculous, that everybody gets offended and pissed off at everything. Sometimes it’s in the best interest of certain subjects to not exercise your freedom of speech and keep some things to yourself.

  11. A male
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    “The mere existence of the message causes offense in .1% of people. ”
    Perhaps you are missing the bigger context of culture perpetuating an atmosphere of women/sex as commodities which was the real problem. Feminists are not concerned only with these cheap looking panties that would likely bleed in the washer and wear through in short period of time only to be disposed of.
    Yes, PC creates some odd situations, as I noted when Christmas trees were dubbed “holiday trees” to avoid offending non-Christians. Then Muslim, Jewish and Hindu groups came together to make the public announcement that they were not offended at all. The entire situation could have been prevented if someone had simply asked them first.
    Same with products like these. I’m sure you know what focus groups and test marketing are. It is not the feminists’ fault that the (Chinese?) manufacturer, local distributor, or Wal-Mart actually went nationwide with this, allegedly losing millions.
    Wal-Mart sure puts a lot into defending themselves against employee accusations of sexual discrimination, which could cause a lot of ill-will and really lose millions. On the other hand, Wal-Mart, despite all their clout didn’t bother to defend these panties, did they? I wonder why not. Was not selling these panties an even clearer business decision than not discriminating against female employees?
    Do you really believe these would have been that successful? Would it be a wise investment to buy what I can and sell them on ebay?
    “Sometimes it’s in the best interest of certain subjects to not exercise your freedom of speech and keep some things to yourself.”
    Precisely. We call that tact or good manners. There are things I will never discuss on this site. They aren’t holding me down.

  12. McLuvin
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    “Only somebody with a sick, perverted mind, would think these were bad.”
    “Enlighten us then. How does your healthy, pristine mind interpret such a phrase?”
    It is a panty with a phrase on it. Would you think this were bad if they made shirts that stated the same?? Because they do…
    “I think Wal-Mart is out to make money. If they can do that by teaching little girls that their bodies are credit cards, they’ll do just that. However, if they know/think that they’ll be faced with a boycott and bad publicity, they won’t.”
    -Retailers supply demand. I really don’t think that if some woman, or girl for that matter wore these, that she would start screwing the general population for money. If good parenting were put into place, nobody should have to worry about this. I really don’t see anybody becoming a prostitute from seeing or wearing these panties. If they did, I would have to say it was their destiny.
    “Who’s life has been ruined? Are you kidding? Wal-Mart sells THOUSANDS of products- I doubt this will make a dent in their overall operations. They are OK! Are the women/girls who wanted them really suffering because they can’t buy these at Wal-Mart? Are they suffering any more than REAL child prostitutes? ”
    - I guarantee MANY products will be pulled (many that shouldn’t have to be.) Businesses cannot risk being defamed by people that may misinterpret the message or by people that just like to bicker.

  13. Webbess
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    It is a panty with a phrase on it. Would you think this were bad if they made shirts that stated the same?? Because they do…
    So it is just a series of words devoid of any meaning or impact. Hmmm. Interesting. And I would like to see these shirts you speak of before I make a judgment….
    -Retailers supply demand. I really don’t think that if some woman, or girl for that matter wore these, that she would start screwing the general population for money. If good parenting were put into place, nobody should have to worry about this. I really don’t see anybody becoming a prostitute from seeing or wearing these panties. If they did, I would have to say it was their destiny.
    It isn’t that someone will become a prostitute from seeing this. It is simply that a girl will get the message that her body is a commodity to be sold. It spreads a myth that she can and should use it to get whatever she wants.
    - I guarantee MANY products will be pulled (many that shouldn’t have to be.) Businesses cannot risk being defamed by people that may misinterpret the message or by people that just like to bicker.
    Then don’t sell sexist, obviously degrading products! If someone is offended by a business practice or product he or she has every right to boycott and/or complain.

  14. A male
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    “Would you think this were bad if they made shirts that stated the same?? Because they do…”
    “Skank” fashion has been discussed. Like I said, it is not about these panties. And it’s not about girls *choosing* to become prostitutes. It’s about people being conditioned to think the average woman is so. Believing “no” means “yes” perhaps? Believing a woman owes a man sex for a meal or marriage? Believing a woman needs to remain “pure” till marriage, or at least until she meets me? Calling women “bitches” and “hos” just for being born with vaginas? Believing an average woman likes or would like sex like a porn actress, if only she would give me a chance or let herself go, instead of being so uptight?
    Did your parents educate you this way? No? Then how did these perceptions become so popular and widespread, much less believed?

  15. Posted March 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Webbess,
    Businesses have entire departments dedicated to customer feedback for a reason. I work in a customer relations department of a small-medium sized UK business, and what happened here is NOT censorship.
    When the business I work in creates a product, designs advertisements, and generally interacts with the public, every aspect of this is carefully monitored prior to release. We even have headed paper with the company logo omitted for my department, because “we do things properly” could be seen as an inappropriate message for a department that often deals with complaints!
    When we receive negative feedback on a product, we check the product itself and determine whether we personally agree with the assessment, usually several team members will do this together. We will then check the testing and feedback from test buyers in case anything was missed. Next, we will check and see how many similar complaints we have received. A large number of complaints means that, regardless of our own assessment, there IS a problem. In that case, we will forward reports and recommend that the product either be removed or amended, and will apologise to those that wrote in, thanking them for their time and feedback. The recommendation gets passed up the line to those in charge of marketting and creating our products, and they choose to act on, or not act on, our suggestion; sometimes their decision is vetoed by someone higher up. That is not censorship; it is sensible business practices in action.
    And I fail to see how “who needs credit cards” written across the crotch of a pair of panties could be inoffensive to all but a bunch of perverts. The statement is an attempt at humour, and the suggestiveness is an integral part of this. “who needs credit cards” would not be offensive on, say, the front of a t-shirt, but it also wouldn’t be funny or even have any real meaning, because the point of the joke is that the message is focussed on sex. The next part of the joke is the rest of the message on the rear, so it’s a sort-of “haha, you thought I meant that I’m a slut, but really I just love presents!” Without the overtones of prostitution, the entire thing is just a not-very-amusing statement, so it’s quite obvious that the suggestive element was intentional.

  16. Posted March 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Gah! Sorry, Imeant McLuvin, not Webbess… read comments to quickly, got names switched around.

  17. Thereisnogoodism
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Because of sites like yours and because of media attention more exposure has been brought to these panties then would have ever been noticed by teen girls themselves. Maybe if parents acted likes parents are supposed to, panties like these would mean nothing to the girls that see them. I’m sick and tired of parents blaming their childrens problems on society but then have no interaction or control over their children and are not willing to take the time to explain what is right or wrong.

  18. Thereisnogoodism
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Because of sites like yours and because of media attention more exposure has been brought to these panties then would have ever been noticed by teen girls themselves. Maybe if parents acted likes parents are supposed to, panties like these would mean nothing to the girls that see them. I’m sick and tired of parents blaming their childrens problems on society but then have no interaction or control over their children and are not willing to take the time to explain what is right or wrong.
    There is no good “ism”.

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