Think your voice doesn’t make a difference? I know that sometimes I wonder if I am reaching anybody with my blog, but then out of the blue somebody will tell me that something I wrote made them stop and think, or that they learned something new, and I know it’s worth the hours spent researching, anguishing, and finally writing and editing my work. Well, today I am encouraged and pleased to share some good news that shows just how much of a voice we can have when we stand by our beliefs, when we say “I’ve had enough!”
Last October, technology and media marketing specialist Shannon Coulter heard on television the now famous audio tape of presidential candidate Donald Trump boasting in 2005 about habitually getting away with being a sexual predator. Having herself been a victim of sexual harassment by an employer, Shannon decided the time had come to make her voice heard. She began by calling for a boycott of stores selling Ivanka Trump products such as clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags and perfume. Her reasoning in targeting Ivanka Trump’s business? She finds it unacceptable that Ivanka Trump continues to support her father, despite mounting evidence that he denigrates women. “If Ivanka Trump had distanced herself from the campaign I would not be boycotting her. But something changed for me when that tape was released,” she said.
The boycott that launched last fall has expanded to include business that carry Trump products, that endorsed Trump, as well as those that advertise on Trump’s television program, The New Celebrity Apprentice. The success of the boycott was minimal until … Trump signed the immigration ban a week ago. Then people got mad, sat up and took notice, and the boycott is showing some results! A few examples:
- Uber: Following calls for an international boycott against the ride-sharing company, CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from President Trump’s economic advisory board on Thursday.
- Nordstrom: Nordstrom said Thursday that it decided to stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s brand. Though the reason given was declining sales, an insider said it was the based on the pressure of the boycott. Or, perhaps the boycott was the reason for ‘declining sales’.
- Macy’s: Macy’s stopped selling President Trump’s line of menswear — which includes suits, ties, and accessories — in 2015 after the president-elect referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists.”
- Shoes.com: A Canadian online shoe store, ditched Ivanka Trump’s shoe line in November. The company announced its decision on Twitter, saying it was removing the Trump line in response to calls for a boycott against the brand. “We understand and your voices have been heard,” the company said in a tweet that was later deleted. “We have removed the products from our website.”
- Neiman Marcus: Fifteen products from Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line were available on the retailer’s website as recently as Wednesday. But as of Friday morning, all the products had disappeared. (A spokesperson for Ivanka’s company claims the items were removed from the website but are still sold in the stores. I do not know if this is true, but will attempt to find out.)
- Wayfair: Wayfair, which sells furniture and home decor, dropped Trump Home products — a Donald Trump brand — in November.
- Bellacor: The home furnishings company also dropped the Trump Home line in November.
It is only a handful, but it is a start. As my blogger-friend Gronda Morin said in a comment a few days ago, enough small pebbles can add up to a big obstacle. The anti-Trump boycott movement has been branded with the hashtag #GrabYourWallet on social media. A full list of the companies included can be found at https://grabyourwallet.org . I was disappointed to see Amazon on the list, and will be writing them a letter later today to express my displeasure. Since we spent over $3,000 with Amazon last year, I think my voice should count (Note to those who wonder how the heck I spent $3,000 at Amazon, we buy most household supplies, diabetic supplies, pet supplies, coffee, tea, and of course books. Plus, I do 90% of my Christmas shopping through Amazon) Most of the others I will have no trouble staying away from. I’m just thankful I did not see either Kroger or Barnes & Noble on the list, or I would have been in deep trouble. 🙂
Forbes magazine had an interesting article about boycotts on both sides of the fence, including the “GrabYourWallet” campaign, and also boycotts by Trump supporters against PepsiCo and Starbucks for their concerns about minorities in the Trumpian world of today. The article titled The ‘Trump Effect’: Consumer Boycotts Could Become Pervasive On Both Sides, claims that “Boycotts typically have more symbolic value than economic impact.” But it also acknowledges that the new age of social media tends to magnify the effect, as more people have quick and easy access to the information. It’s worth a read.
Another movement that made a difference this week, Representative Jason Chaffetz withdrew his controversial bill that would have transferred 3 million acres of land from federal to state ownership. The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which would have shifted federal holdings to state governments in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming, prompted an outcry among hunters and anglers’ groups. “I am sensitive to the perceptions this bill creates in the current environment.”
In short, the next time you think your voice doesn’t count, the next time you consider not speaking up because you are but a small voice in a sea of many … remember these examples and know that if enough of us speak out for what we believe in we really CAN make a difference. Not all of us are able to march in protest marches or attend protest rallies, but we all have a voice. We are consumers, writers, parents, concerned citizens, and when enough of us speak, we are heard.