After being completely sickened by the decision of corporate J.C. Penney to include the pages (shown in Part 1) in the Mother's Day edition of the flyer, I have begun to reflect upon where I am in the stages of lukewarmness/acceptance of the direction in which our culture is spiraling.
A couple of years ago, I distinctly remember looking through a mailer that was advertising clothes. The pictures mostly contained happy male/female couple pictures, and the thought that came to mind was this, "I wonder how long it will be until they use same sex couples in advertising?" Here we are.
I tend to ignore pleas for boycotts of corporations because I know in my head that most of them support organizations with whom I would have sharp differences. I rationalize that unless I grow all of my own food, make all of my own supplies, and sew all of my own clothes, I will be in some way giving money to abortion rights, gay rights, and other completely immoral and "make-me-wanna-throw-up" industries. I know that my taxes and insurance premiums go to fund lifestyles and behaviors that I find completely abhorrent.
However, when the immorality of the issue is visible, or tangible, my decisions in shopping change, as well. When Abercrombie & Fitch started selling their pornographic magazines at the counter in their stores, I made sure I didn't patronize. When Bath & Body Works sent mailers that contained photos of nude women, I didn't patronize (and haven't since). And Victoria's Secret? Yeah, I used to shop there, too. Loved the men's and women's fragrances, and lip gloss. When I received a mailer from Lane Bryant that featured a new line of jeans (with topless models wearing them), I didn't make it into the house before speaking with customer service and asking to be removed from the mailing list for that reason. When the Girl's Scouts made their rounds selling cookies this year, we didn't buy. Not because we don't love the thin mints, but because their alliance with Planned Parenthood is just too tight.
Very early in this year, there was a huge issue with J.C. Penney corp. hiring Ellen as their spokeswoman. Although I was aware of the hiring, I didn't really understand the implications it would have for the company. The implications are no longer a secret.
It was clear that J.C. Penney was changing their approach last fall, and though I didn't like it at all, it remained a place that a very hard-to-buy-for big guy could shop. Not to mention the fact that I can still, on occasion, find cute, modest clothing for the girls at J.C. Penney. Their rewards are better than most retailers, and the portrait studio always has good deals.
I don't like the new "fair and square" pricing strategy, the lingerie dept being right in the middle of the store, or the gay male that works in cosmetics who talks so loud that he can literally be heard in surrounding departments. But none of those have forced me to quit shopping there for things that meet our needs.
But now I have a decision to make. This has pushed my tolerance to the limit. Am I done with Penneys? I will start by sending corporate an email. According to the response others are getting, this won't have an impact. They are "happy with their decision." However, I get the feeling that when customers begin chopping up J.C. Penney credit cards, avoiding shopping in store and online, and pass the word to all of their friends, corporate may re-think their poor choice. That remains to be seen.