Press Release: Burt’s Bees product tells women, “Let the Catcalling Commence.”

Former customer Colleen Kiphart joins Hollaback! to demand the company issue a real apology and immediately stop production of products that legitimize street harassment

WP_20131114_009Colleen Kiphart stewed over the packaging for months before she decided to speak up. Now, Kiphart and Hollaback!, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment, are working together demand that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop production.

The offensive tag line goes as follows: “Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence.”

Colleen Kiphart says, “I deal with catcalling regularly in my neighborhood. It is uninvited, unwanted, and demeaning. I stand up for myself, but many women can’t or don’t know they can. I am frustrated to see a socially-conscious company like Burt’s Bees perpetuate the myth that women want to be objectified by strangers on the street. I look forward to them seeing the error of this labeling, to them changing it, and to them joining the millions who stand against street harassment.”

Street harassment, commonly referred to as catcalling, is the most common form of gender-based violence globally. Long-term impacts include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and at ihollaback.org, victims report missing school, changing jobs or moving homes to avoid exposure.

“Burt’s Bees and Güd are perpetuating the myth that street harassment is a ‘compliment.’ We’ve received over 5,000 stories from people around the globe telling us that street harassment is scary, demeaning, and traumatizing. Last time I checked, that’s not what a ‘compliment’ feels like,” said Emily May, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!.

Güd’s response to Kiphart and Hollaback! was noncommittal, stating, “we apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone.”  (Full link: on.fb.me/1e61y1Y). Hollaback! considers this an example of the commonly seen non-apology apology. According to Wikipedia, “A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations.”

In light of Güd by Burt’s Bees’ response, Kiphart and Hollaback! have stated that they will remain steadfast in their efforts. A link to the petition demanding that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop producing pro-harassment packaging can be found here: chn.ge/1a8eDHi

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2 Responses

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  1. J says:

    Don’t we just want them to change the copy on the container? They don’t need to stop making the product.

  2. admin says:

    Yes J – we are focusing on the container, not the product itself. We’ve incorporated your feedback into the press release. Thank you!

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