On Thursday, February 2, Nordstrom announced it would be reducing stock of First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line due to poor performance. On Friday, February 3, Neiman Marcus announced they would drop her jewelry brand as well.
In the past few days, I’ve noticed many individuals pat themselves on the back, declaring that voting with your dollar makes a difference. I only notice such behavior whenever a consumer-based holiday creeps around the corner. This time, however, it has to with a particular brand, rather than the idea of capitalism itself.
Since Grab Your Wallet made its debut, I internalized severe criticism that I never truly shared with anyone I know. I empathize with those who choose to boycott brands such as New Balance or Yuengling. I understand that people express distaste for companies that continue to receive profits from Trump’s brand. However, I am not convinced one bit that the movement is productive or meaningful.
A lot of stores I like have profited off Donald and Ivanka Trump’s clothing lines, home goods, jewelry, and shoes for some time now.
After looking at the complete list, I find myself disappointed in my fellow liberals. There are many reasons to boycott these stores, but I don’t think that the Trump family is a good enough reason.
The Privilege to Boycott Such Stores I am specifically referencing that fact that boycotting companies Neiman Marcus, Tesla and Carnival Corporation shows a large amount privilege on behalf of the protestor.
For those taking the list seriously, I have to ask, do you shop at a luxury department store like Neiman Marcus often enough where boycotting is an actual option? How many cruises do you go on every year? How many cars do you own for yourself or your household that warrants a boycott?
If you’re going to refuse to buy a dress from Nordstrom because they have a rack of Ivanka Trump sheath dresses, you may as well go a step further and boycott all your local chain grocery stores. Take into account the poor treatment labor workers suffer from picking your produce.
You should especially consider it if you’re a vegan or vegetarian. The Tyson’s chicken you pass in the frozen food aisle came from a factory farm where animals are kept in atrocious conditions. In fact, grocery stores aren’t even safe from the Trump brand. Think of all the magazines that have featured his likeness in the grocery line. If you live in the Washington DC metro area, that means just about every store is out. Afterall, Washingtonian Magazine featured our new president on the cover last month.
Chances are unless you have a stable income and live in Southern California, you don’t have the ability to go to a farmer’s market year-round to ensure you avoid supporting such atrocities.
Of course, there are plenty of places to shop that aren’t on the list, but if you’re excited that the First Daughter’s clothing line is dropped so you can continue to shop, you come from a place of privilege. There’s a more important reason to boycott stores on the list: the fashion industry itself.
The Privilege to Ignore the Fashion Industry One of the most humorous things about Trump’s demand for domestic manufacturing (aside from the fact that it will never happen) is that neither of their products are made in the United States.
What isn’t funny, however, is the treatment of those employed by Ivanka Trump™. Both Teen Vogue and Glamour reported the factory worker for the brand have been subject to sweatshop conditions. On the executive level, employees have stated they actually had to fight for maternity leave, despite her helping promote it as a part of her father’s platform.
Of course, people are rightfully upset. However, the fashion industry is quite unethical, to begin with. Ivanka’s failure to compensate her employees is the just tip of the iceberg.
In 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh led to the death of over 1,100 people. In the aftermath of the collapse, those who survived were told if they didn’t return to work they would not get paid.
Not only did Walmart house a factory in the complex, but it is listed on the Grab Your Wallet spreadsheet. It makes me uncomfortable knowing people are rejoicing they can go back to Nordstrom now that Ivanka’s brand is pulled. Will these same people rejoice going back to a store that has a history of poor treatment of workers overseas, or any other store on the list, for that matter?
The best way to protest Trump in connection with his brand is simply not to buy his products. I believe that boycotting an entire store only teaches executives that grandstanding will make them a profit. And that is not something anyone part of the resistance against Trump should ever celebrate.