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.

Join the Conversation

  • johanna

    Kudos to Scarlett, Jessica, and everyone who wrote to Wal-Mart! Feministing on foxnews.com – my day just keeps getting better!

  • feministorbust

    (!!!!!!)
    How exciting. I discovered Feministing very recently and from the beginning have been so impressed by the level of engagement by readers/commenters. It’s great to be part of such an impassioned community!

  • DrkEyedCajn

    Woot!

  • http://prolefeed.tv/ ccall

    Great work!

  • ZsaZsa

    Right on!!!
    A nice high point of the day :)

  • EverythingisImage

    wow, now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ bout! Go Scarlett and everyone else who take action on this!

  • UltraMagnus

    Awesome. :)

  • nerdalert

    And right when I was getting all blustered up about the trolls on the original thread!
    Weeee! :) :) :)

  • Kmari1222

    Cool effingreat. calling us morons. what does that accomplish.
    anyways, the way I see it, feministing achieved something great. So woo hoo to you guys!

  • afarerkind

    Your victory has meaning for me, and I am enjoying it.

  • http://fr.youtube.com/profile?user=jennaow jennao

    Awesome news! I do find it ironic that the Walmart spokesperson is calling them “holiday inspired undies.” If you are going to pull something sexist off the shelves I am all for it, but call it like it is!! I mean, like it really is!! Boooo on you walmart!!!

  • Blitzgal

    What really bothers me about this whole issue (besides the ick factor, natch) is that Walmart is so quick to censor or block the sale of items that aren’t “family friendly.” They sell radio edits of CDs (I know, b/c I bought one accidentally before I started boycotting the store), some locations put “racy” magazines like Cosmo in brown paper wrapping, and they flat out refuse to sell items that don’t fall in line with the right-wing pro-family propaganda machine. Clearly that’s their right. But the reasoning for these actions has always been to “protect children” and to be family friendly. What the hell is family friendly about underwear with prostitution implications? It’s like Bill O’Reilly decrying the dirty smutty lesbians on The OC while playing the video over and over and over again…just to point out how dirty it is, you see. Meanwhile of course the same guy owns both channels.

  • UltraMagnus

    Way to get quoted Jessica and Scarlett. On a right wing news site no less, and they didn’t call you humorous feminists? Wow. :)

  • Laurie Anne

    Yay! That is fantastic!

  • Kate

    Jeannao – Jezebel reports that the back says something like “when you have santa”, so they were holiday themed. though you are right to assert that that does not preclude them from also being sexist themed.
    Also, Blitzgal is so right. I mean, was it really parents who complained as the FOX headline implies? or does Monty count?

  • Liza

    When I read that headline, in my head I heard ominous music in the background. “Would you want YOUR daughter wearing these?” dum dum DUMMMMMM

  • Laurie Anne

    Okay, I just read the Fox article…I was just going to comment as others did that it was Scarlett and Feministing that brought it to Wal-Mart’s attention, not the unnamed source called “parents.” Ah, Fox. You can always be counted on for bias and lameness!

  • Allytude

    WELL DONE! FEMINISTING IS THE BEST
    Though the FOx headline “Suggestive Panties get Yanked” was pretty darn funny

  • SarahMC

    Wow! How cool! We made a difference.
    Disappointed you can’t buy a pair for your daughter, g1ward?

  • ckbro

    Great Job laidies! Now why don’t you get Walmart to pull their softcore porno products like SI swimsuit edition, and all their mags like Stuff, Maxim and the rest. It’s this kind of junk that leads directly to things like the panties you were so successfull in getting rid of.

  • nerdalert

    ckbro: Stuff went out of business. :)

  • http://feministgal.blogspot.com galinab0x

    Yeay! I hope my letter helped, this is what i wrote :) – just to share:
    To Whom It May Concern,
    I recently noticed a product you are selling in the junior department at which I was appalled. I am referring to a pair of girls’ underwear that reads, “Who needs credit cards…� written across the vagina. Upon immediate reading, I took this underwear to imply that young girls should prostitute themselves for cash. Although I am sure this is not the message you intended to portray when promoting this item, based on Wal-Mart’s high standard of family values and all, marketing these underwear sends a message of girls bodies as commodities. It promulgates the erroneous notion that all girls have to offer is their bodies, oh and sex. Especially since this message was written on the crotch region, I immediately took it to imply that Wal-Mart believes girls’ biggest asset is in between their legs. Not only does this promote the sexualization of children but also the idea that girls and women should use their sexuality to acquire things.
    If you do not yet see the severity of this issue, I encourage you to pretend this phrase was written on a pair of boys’ boxers. Could you ever imagine, “Who needs credit cards� written over the crotch where the boy’s penis is intended to be? Although this product would be equally as unacceptable if it were marketed towards boys, it would also never happen.
    Sexually charged clothing for junior girls (and boys) is unacceptable and until this item is pulled from Wal-Mart, I will refrain from shopping at Wal-Mart again. I will also make everyone I can aware of this atrocious product.
    -Concerned Consumer
    (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…)

  • sgzax

    Awesome. I just wish we could get results this fast on the trafficking issue.

  • rvman

    We have something the feminists and the conservatives can agree on – prostitotting preteens with sexually suggestive phrases on lingerie is over the line! It is the start of a new bipartisanship…
    I suspect whoever runs censorship at Wal-Mart never expected to need to monitor the women’s junior’s underwear buyers. They probably didn’t realize underwear comes in more varieties than “Hanes” or “Jockey”. There is no chance these would have slipped passed a vigilant bluenose.
    Question – context matters, what if these were in some kind of herbal shop or whole foods or whatever, and were made out of hemp? Could you then read it as an anti-consumerist message rather than pron? Because that was my first read, until the whole ‘and Wal-Mart would stock that, why?’ reaction cut in. (Of course, I’m old enough that I still boggle that it became fashionable to stick a cluster of cherries on little girls’ underwear. I half expected to see a knockoff version where the cherries were split open.)

  • Laura Jean

    I love that FOX described them as “hipster briefs.” No wonder nobody wants to be a hipster.

  • MissMay12

    This is fantastic – kudos to everyone who worked to get these “yanked.”
    I have to say I’m really getting tired of the argument “don’t you ladies have something better to complain about?” That is not a real argument, and besides, when we “complain” about our reproductive rights being taken away, rape, inequality, violence against women – it’s not our fault that Fox “news” doesn’t see those issues as front-page headline worthy as a pair of underpants.
    Every little piece of hostility adds up to a culture, and if we have to take it apart one pair of inappropriate panties at a time, so be it.
    We spend a lot of our time “complaining” about a wide variety of inequalities – any small victory that makes the world a less hostile place for women and girls is a good thing. It’s called activism for positive change. I just don’t see why some people can’t understand why sexualizing “juniors” is a bad thing.

  • strawberyfields

    Way to go Scarlett and Jessica! And everyone who wrote in to Wal-mart!

  • ravenhairedmaid

    Wow, a lot of anti “right wing” remarks. I had hoped a “feminist” website would be at least one place women could avoid sounding exactly alike.
    Perhaps I was wrong. Groupthink lurks everywhere, it seems, even where diversity and tolerance are the trendy mantra of the day.
    In any case, when I went shopping with some friends who were strippers (it was college, I was young, free, and dumb), you’d have to go to specialty stores to get the skank-wear you can now buy at Target, Macy’s, and Walmart.
    Parents on both sides of the ideological spectrum have completely dropped the ball.

  • Harker

    I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this is really a minor victory, but congratulations on taking such swift and effective action. It’s a shame that your victory has, in a sense, been slightly hijacked by right-wing ‘moral’ campaigners, though.

  • ravenhairedmaid

    As illustrated by the post above, my case rests.
    I thought that denegrating an entire group of people based on the actions of a few was called “prejudice.”
    No wonder right wingers want to keep their guns.

  • sgzax

    Ravenhaired maid:
    Wow, a lot of anti “right wing” remarks. I had hoped a “feminist” website would be at least one place women could avoid sounding exactly alike.
    Perhaps I was wrong. Groupthink lurks everywhere, it seems, even where diversity and tolerance are the trendy mantra of the day.

    This is not a “feminist” web-site. This is a feminist web-site. Scare quotes are not necessary.
    Does it surprise you to find that feminists are mostly liberal? No group-think necessary there. Usually when a person decides that things like equality are important that person is also going to discover that they are liberal. And that person is also likely to independently discover that right-wing people largely oppose any social movement that would alter the existing power structure. Go figure.
    “Trendy mantra of the day” sounds like a great idea for a new feature, by the way. May I suggest “STFU” as the first trendy mantra? Just for you?

  • ravenhairedmaid

    How original: Hurling insults that those who disagree with you.
    Awww, whatcha gonna do now? Beat me up after school? LOL Because that’s the intellectual level you’ve aspired to :))
    It’s quite clear that feminism shouldn’t be defined by narrow minded creatures like yourself, who can’t even treat others who point out the glaring flaws of such thinking with respect.
    I’m not a liberal yet I believe in equality, and you obviously can’t handle anything threatening your vile worldview in a way that’s not steeped in hate, or that requires you to step outside that worldview.
    Some “liberal” you are. You’re a disgrace to the very word.
    Please, go back to your bong, because it can certainly no longer harm your brain.

  • Jessica

    Enter….troll-be-gone! Buh-bye.

  • sgzax

    Great! Back to my bong…

  • SarahMC

    What makes the troll think everyone who’s “anti-right-wing” is exactly the same?
    Obviously the right-wing is very anti-feminist; of course feminists are going to oppose wingers. They don’t promote pro-woman policies or attitudes. Kind of a no-brainer. So off with my bong I go.

  • roro80

    Trolls make me giggle a little. Boo trolls. Hooray bongs!
    Anyway, good job on the swift victory.

  • http://arianeily.blogspot.com Ariane

    Awesome :)
    One small step for feminists!

  • A male

    I must admit to some surprise. I’ve seen things work on the local level, but grassroots on the national level? Within days? I cannot cite another example.
    Very, very good work. I’ll need to find the story myself and learn why Wal-Mart caved, since they sold them to begin with.

  • Entropy

    I disagree with the product, but I do not think that people should be celebrating this type of censorship. In effect, you are attempting to force your own morality onto the majority whether they like it or not. Just because you disagree with something doesn’t necessarily give you the right to censor other people for attempting to sell products like this.
    If this type of merchandise is unacceptable enough to be pulled from the shelves, what other products should be censored as well? Should the work of Nietzsche be censored, for example, because of his misogynistic tone that is embedded in his philosophical writing? Where do you draw the line, exactly?
    I am a fully grown adult, and I don’t appreciate having complete strangers tell me what I can and cannot purchase, simply because they don’t like it themselves. Who among you thinks that you are qualified to decide for me what I can and cannot read? Or what clothing I may wear? Do ANY of you think you are qualified to make such decisions on my behalf?

  • Marissa

    Entropy, this is not censorship but removal of hate-speech from CHILDREN’S popular culture. No one is promoting erasing a history of sexism by censoring books. This is the removal of a product that promotes a hateful message about the bodies of teenagers. This is asking a corporation to take responsibility for the types of hateful messages about marginalized groups that it is promoting to the world by selling a hateful product. One, no is promoting a banning of books. And two, and this point is more controversial on a number of levels, there is a difference between free speech and hate speech.

  • Marissa

    Not to mention that it is also asking a private corporation to take responsibility for the messages it promotes, not a government censorship. Besides, Wal-mart already does this by hand-picking the types of music it finds “family friendly.” If anything, the feministing readers asked Wal-mart to extend their notion of family to include positive messages about sexuality for teenage girls.

  • realityfighter

    Yeah, maybe it makes me a poor civil libretarian, but I think Wal-Mart’s product decisions should NOT be afforded the same protections as genuine non-corporate speech.
    Beside which, I hardly see how Wal-Mart voluntarily pulling the items is “censorship.”

  • SmallTownPsychosis

    Entropy, are you saying that you want to wear a pair of children’s panties with sexually suggestive messages on them?

  • idyllicmollusk

    Was danger that heads would have started exploding over at Fox the reason the first line of the article couldn’t just read:
    “Suggestive pink Santa panties targeting young girls are being removed from Wal-Mart stores after FEMINISTS objected to the offensive undergarments.” ?
    Because for some reason they accidentally wrote “parents” instead.

  • A male

    “I disagree with the product, but I do not think that people should be celebrating this type of censorship. In effect, you are attempting to force your own morality onto the majority whether they like it or not. Just because you disagree with something doesn’t necessarily give you the right to censor other people for attempting to sell products like this.”
    I want to understand the sentiment, but I see the important difference as being Wal-Mart, the retail giant with one of the world’s wealthiest families, the largest private employer in the US, always had a choice. Government censorship or fascist book burning is a clear denial of choice. Wal-Mart could easily have brushed the complaints off and waited for picketers, a national boycott, or an actual lawsuit they would probably win anyway.
    Wal-Mart therefore deserves a belated thank you in this one instance. Now I’m off to buy some canned cat food, some rabbit leashes and a sack of guinea pig feed. RIP, Sam.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theliterateloser Mike

    Congradulations on getting the subtly sexist panties off the shelves on Shit-Mart. Now,if only we can unionize it, get listenable music, and promote more women to authoritve positions then we will be accomplishing something.

  • A male

    Hijack: I’d forgotten about that. Women being denied management positions because they cannot fill BS requirements like hoisting large sacks of dog food and putting it on the shelves. Costco and Home Depot are clever. They have these wonderful inventions called “forklifts” that can move entire pallets and crates. We’re not talking about firefighters climbing the South Tower with a hundred pounds of gear, a mask, and fifty feet of hose here.
    I’m a man, but I can’t be expected to lift or transport a patient who weighs more than myself, either. Not if I want to keep my back till retirement. That’s why there are three to six people called “clinical assistants,” backboards, electronic hoists, wheeled chairs and beds, and up to six compassionate coworkers called “nurses.” You know, to help out.

  • http://www.corporatebabysitter.org Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter

    I am thrilled. IT CAN BE DONE! Great work.

  • Entropy

    “Entropy, this is not censorship but removal of hate-speech from CHILDREN’S popular culture.”
    The underlying premise behind this protest revolves around attempting to define what is and what is not acceptable for women – not just children. Also, hate-speech seems to be invoked far too quickly, especially in this case. I will explain why later.
    “No one is promoting erasing a history of sexism by censoring books.”
    I gave two examples, one which parallels this discussion. Censorship takes many forms, not the least of which via government intervention. Film-makers, for example, try very hard to create a film that does not get rated “NC-17″. Now you may be thinking that a rating system appears rather harmless, except for the fact that no movie theatre nowadays will show movies with that rating; this is an effective form of censorship because the MPAA can now effectively regulate what type of content people are exposed to. Whether or not the people involved are private corporations makes no difference – it is a form of censorship, which denies widespread access to a particular type of content. Banning clothing is a parallel example of this.
    “This is the removal of a product that promotes a hateful message about the bodies of teenagers. This is asking a corporation to take responsibility for the types of hateful messages about marginalized groups that it is promoting to the world by selling a hateful product.”
    The objection I am raising involves what constitutes “hateful” and what doesn’t. You have your own definition of what hate-speech is, and I have mine. Which one of us is correct? According to you (and other readers of this site), your own subjective interpretation of that clothing is more important than everyone elses – so much so, in fact, that you are attempting to ban the sale of that clothing. Is it possible that some people find this clothing objectionable, but not “hateful” in any meaningful sense of the word? If that is the case, then it is also possible that people are not willing to sacrifice the liberties of our neighbors in order to pursue an ideological goal – in this case, banning the transmission of certain types of content through clothing (or through books, or through television, etc).
    “Not to mention that it is also asking a private corporation to take responsibility for the messages it promotes, not a government censorship. Besides, Wal-mart already does this by hand-picking the types of music it finds “family friendly.” If anything, the feministing readers asked Wal-mart to extend their notion of family to include positive messages about sexuality for teenage girls.”
    Please see the above point regarding government censorship. Just because this doesn’t involve the government does not mean that it is not a form of censorship. I also do not agree with Wal-Mart’s policy of “family-friendliness”. If we take the logic that Wal-Mart employs to its conclusion, we might one day see a world where only certain types of products are able to be bought, while anything found to be unacceptable by even a small group of people is unable to be sold at all.
    In order to effectively argue for this type of behavior, you must at a minimum demonstrate the following:
    1. Exposing young girls to content of this type will alter their perception of the world in a negative way.
    2. The long term effects of exposure to stereotypes of this sort will ingrain a particular type of mentality into the child.
    If the above points can be shown conclusively then the argument will have some credibility. I do not think that merely exposing children to words printed on a piece of clothing will have that type of effect. If you can demonstrate that it does, then I will agree that it is hate-speech. I have confidence that a child wearing this type of clothing will not have their entire world-view altered to the point where they will emulate the stereotype presented in this case. Yes, there is a larger culture that promotes a negative attitude toward women, but I don’t think banning clothing, or books, or television shows is the correct way to make an impact on society. I find it hypocritical.

  • sgzax

    Wow, that’s a lot of typing.