Friday, December 09, 2005

Trying to be a socially responsible sexy person

A really interesting comment on the Target post got me thinking.

Where CAN one buy socially responsible underwear?

Pepsi, Pixar, FedEx and Weight Watchers all make the lists of socially responsible companies but no place to buy underwear makes this list or any of the similar ones I found.

So perhaps we'll try process of elimination.

  • I'll concede that Walmart isn't the place to go for this.
  • Target is indeed just as bad or almost as bad as Walmart by most social responsibility indexes. Which is too bad because their Gilligan O'Malley line manages to be lacy without being prissy.
  • Victoria's Secret (which has a new flagship store right near me, something that really deserves a post of its own) is owned by Limited Brands. They are currently being boycotted because they Send too many catalogues I have to wonder if any of the people behind this are on libereal-beloved L.L. Bean's mailing list, because I am and damn, I think I get something from them every two days. If you consider giving to Republicans a sign of social irresponsibility (which I don't really, but some people who post here seem to) Limited Brands gives 73 percent of its PAC money to Republicans, a higher percentage than WalMart.
  • Frederick's of Hollywood gets a lot of its undies from a company called Gelmart that is notorious for nasty labor practices.
  • Leggs, Hanes, Gossard, Loveable, Bali and Wonderbra are owned by Sara Lee. Sara Lee seems to be a better choice on the whole, especially if you're pro-Isreal and.or for gun control. That said, gay rights folks are justifiably peeved about this billboard. But a fair amount of their stuff is still produced in East Asia.

It's a rough ol' life, trying to make a better world.

who swears she only spent half an hour or so on this.


Anonymous said...

There are a few companies that sell underwear.

Underwear is the most difficult thing to buy responsibly. The rest of it... clothes, household items I can get at the thrift store.

FYI- gifts for family and friends: there are some really great gift items at A good friend of mine is the fair trade director there.


Anonymous said...

*sigh* The Co-op America link has a "No WalMart Holiday Pledge" link at the bottom. This really really really frustrates me since I believe pretty strongly that focusing on WalMart misses the point. If you want to change the nature of work at the bottom of the economic sector you need to change labor laws. Period. Attacking individual corporations strikes me as a stupid waste of time since even if you get rid of them they will be replaced. I realize that WalMart is the hot thing to hate right now. But why aren't we being called to boycott big box stores, or chain stores instead? Grrr... I just get annoyed when social justice idealism doesn't seem to connect coherently with reality.

Anonymous said...

Are we discussing utilitarian underwear or sexy underwear?
I've been getting mine at Costco.

LaReinaCobre said...

It's not just too many catalogs, apb - but catalogs that are made from old growth forests. And I guess they send out a huge number.

Apparently, the philosophy is that if you get one visible company to change, others will follow suit. There is some history that lends itself to this idea.

Anonymous said...

I work in the printing industry, and deal with paper mills on a regular basis, and I find it impossible to believe that their catalogs are made from old growth forests.

Paper mills buy the cheapest wood (when they don't grow it themselves- Weyerhauser actually farms trees), and old growth forests are NOT cheap wood. Do you think they waste expensive furniture grade redwood or oak by pulping it? Logging is much more lucrative- the only old growth wood paper mills wind up with is logging scraps. Now I'm all in favor of restricting the logging, but that's a totally different issue.

LaReinaCobre said...

It doesn't make sense to me that they'd spend so much money on catalogs and mailings, period, but they do it anyway. Maybe I should have said endangered forests instead of old growth, but some of the old growth is in endangered forests.

Of course there is always the possibility that the Forest Ethics folks are lying.

Anonymous said...

They spend so much on catalogs and mailings because it works- they get sales. Perhaps the best way to save the forests might be to buy only online, or from bricksnmortar, and never from a printed catalog! I'd back a campaign like that.