About that Boycott (2 months later) or Dear Target Part 2
It’s been a couple months since I wrote about my concerns over Target’s announcement that their bathrooms were essentially gender free. With a lot of thought, and significant sadness, I decided to stop shopping at one of my favorite stores. Since then, I have read many responses to this issue and I want to be very clear about where I stood and where I stand now. I would like to say a few things about my stance:
I am not a bigot. Please take my post as it is written, in honesty and believe that I am NOT covering up bigotry with fabricated safety concerns. That is categorically untrue. I would like to re-iterate emphatically that my choice not to shop at Target was not because I have a problem with transgender individuals using the bathroom. Instead it is because I am firmly convinced that this public announcement from Target opens the door to predators having easier access to my daughters and America’s daughters. I do not think that this is a theoretical risk. I am confident that this is a definitive and undeniably dangerous situation that Target is placing the public in. There is evidence of this already being an issue:
*Man uses Women’s Locker Room
*University of Toronto reverses policy due to abuse
*Man undresses in front of children at Walmart
*Jason Pomares records hours of customers in store bathroom
*Man claims to be transgender to gain access to women at shelters
*Man dressed in wig and bra arrested in women’s room quoted as saying he took “a shower in the girls’ locker room for sexual gratification”.
I am not a half-hearted blogger. I saw a few posts that were making fun of the boycott and saying that if there was another launch of a popular brand (Lily Pulitzer, for example), boycotters would drop their “values” and race with their Redcard to the nearest Target. I can’t speak for any one else, but I did not take my decision lightly. This issue is of paramount importance to me and no discount, event or holiday would change my mind. I have not walked into a Target since my post from April. I have not shopped at Target.com. I have not spent the giftcard in my wallet. It’s fine if you disagree with me, but please don’t attack my character by suggesting I am not sincere. Believe me, if nothing else, I am incredibly stubborn.
Many Rape & Abuse Survivors feel re-victimized by this societal turn. A large segment of society is being ignored. For the most part, Target (and businesses that are following in their footsteps) are ignoring the needs of a LARGE demographic: Rape & Abuse survivors. (Statistics are hard to find for this group, but the consensus is that the numbers are high and vastly under-reported.) These individuals have been ignored, silenced and often punished for reporting. Kaeley Triller says this much better than I ever could, please read her perspective.
I won’t be quoting the Bible in regard to this. I’m a firm and committed Christian, but I don’t expect Target (or any corporation) to follow Scripture. Target is not Christian and we can’t expect unbelievers to respond the way believers should. However, I would hope they would respond to their customer’s safety concerns as people of all beliefs should seek to protect the most vulnerable of society.
I understand that Bathroom policies are NOT the biggest issues at stake in our rapidly changing world. I have seen lots of people criticizing bloggers like me because there are bigger problems in the world, and that is absolutely true. I am not saying that this topic is more important than terrorism, starvation, child abuse, abortion, or other scores of social issues. I am speaking up about this issue, frankly, because I am a mother of young children, a shopaholic, and I have always been a loyal Target shopper. Also, coincidentally, my Target does NOT have a family bathroom. So everyone saying “just use the family bathroom” needs to realize that isn’t available in all stores.
Target’s response to their customers’ concerns has been inadequate. From the beginning, I never anticipated Target to reverse the policy. I had hoped that they would clarify it, speaking out against pedophilia and voyeurism. I had hoped they would respond with some clear safety steps to prevent what we fear. I had hoped they would express regret that they were alienating a large portion of their customers. I had hoped for sensitivity. Target’s corporate response can be found here.
At the end of the statement, the CEO compares this scenario to Target’s early use of black models in advertising in the 60’s, which was met with public backlash. I can’t even respond to this, because it’s clear that Target is completely ignoring what millions of customers are saying: “This is not about Transgenders. This is about the very real danger of predators, and a Corporation putting our children at risk.”
Target reiterates: “And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.” Clearly not, in this case. Target’s sales continue to go down but they seem to be blaming it on abnormal seasonal shopping trends, rather than acknowledging that many of us are boycotting.
So for me, I still won’t be shopping there. It will be interesting approaching back-to-school season and the upcoming holiday shopping season, when I typical hit multiple Targets dozens of times. (For those of you who are skipping Target in the future, be sure to follow my blog for all the non-Target deals I round up. ) My wallet will be in better shape from this lifestyle change. With all my spare time not shopping at Target, I’ve managed to do more cooking, a couple of DIY projects, and I even went to the gym and worked out for the first time in four years.
Dear Target, now that I’ve gotten some distance from our relationship, I realize it was never a very healthy one. You were just in it for my money, and you never really cared about me at all. I’ll miss you, but we’re apparently better off apart.