Once Family-Friendly Lands’ End Catalog Celebrates Abortion Radical Gloria Steinem
Conservative women are decrying Lands' End for promoting the abortion radical in its spring issue.
Conservative women are condemning Lands’ End’s spring catalog for featuring an Easter egg hunt — and a lengthy interview with abortion radical Gloria Steinem.
“This profile on Gloria Steinem — conducted by Lands’ End CEO Federica Marchionni, no less — is revolting,” Media Research Center reporter Katie Yoder told The Stream. “A feminist who adores abortion and hates religion doesn’t deserve one inch in a catalog that also celebrates Easter and family.”
At issue is the cover of the spring issue of Lands’ End, a leading clothing retailer that was purchased by Sears for $1.9 billion in 2002, but valued last summer at $779 million, according to a Fortune profile of the newly-independent company. It is especially known for its school uniforms, and last year expanded its clothes for mothers of children who wear its brand clothing.
Marchionni has been CEO for a few weeks more than a year, with a goal of turning around the company’s direction.
The spring cover features well-dressed and diverse adults and children at what appears to be an Easter egg hunt. But behind that cover hides the interview with Steinem, who has been a leading pro-abortion feminist since the 1960s.
“I felt that there was an unjust, irrational situation, and that we were just trying to say what made sense, what was rational, what was equal or what was kind,” Steinem told Marchionni, who praised her as having “courage.”
Appearing to reference how her activism began 50 years ago, Steinem explained, “I didn’t feel that I was being so brash at the time, just pointing out unfairness — as I would want someone to say to me if I was doing something unfair.”
“The other thing that I see from your experience that’s very close to my philosophy is change,” Marchionni said next. “You changed the landscape, creating Ms. magazine. What was your first step?”
“We were simply trying to create a women’s magazine that we read — one that addressed real issues in women’s lives and could also publish new fiction writers and new poets and news of women in other countries. We wanted to create something that would be like a helpful friend coming into your house once a month,” said Steinem.
According to its website, “Ms. was the first U.S. magazine to feature prominent American women demanding the repeal of laws that criminalized abortion, the first to explain and advocate for the ERA, to rate presidential candidates on women’s issues, to put domestic violence and sexual harassment on the cover of a women’s magazine, to feature feminist protest of pornography, to commission and feature a national study on date rape, and to blow the whistle on the undue influence of advertising on magazine journalism.”
According to Steinem, women are “still not part of the Constitution of the United States. One reason we need an Equal Rights Amendment is because nowhere in the Constitution does the word “women” appear. We need a constitutional principle of female equality. The Equal Rights Amendment would give us a constitution that prohibits gender discrimination. That’s why we started the ERA Coalition …”
“What is it you’d like to achieve with this amendment?” asked Marchionni.
“It’s a statement of principle. It just says that men and women have equal rights, and that equality under the law shall not be denied. From 1972 to 1982, we tried to get the Equal Rights Amendment into the Constitution, but we fell short by three states of getting it ratified. So now, there is a new national effort to remedy this situation in which discrimination against women is not mentioned in the Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment would be good for men as well as women, and equality is a fundamental American value.”
Who and What Are Gloria Steinem and The Equal Rights Amendment?
“It [abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that,” Steinem has said of the abortion she had decades ago. “I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could!”
Steinem said last year that she became a feminist when, as a journalist, she covered the issue of abortion in the 1960s. “If one in three of us in this nation, then and now, has had this experience [of abortion] at sometime in our lives, why is it illegal, why is it dangerous? Who owns women’s bodies, who says we can’t control our own reproductive lives?”
“Her feminism promotes the ending of human life in the womb and should not be valorized, especially on a holiday when we celebrate the risen life of Christ.” Winnie Obiki
Other statements by Steinem include telling PBS that opposing Planned Parenthood is related to racism and “patriarchy,” and in 2013 saying that former Texas Governor Rick Perry “will go down in history as an authoritarian, a dictatorial, unacceptable American” for defunding Planned Parenthood. She has also blamed the pope for global warming and for not supporting abortion, said that economics classes “should start with reproduction, not production,” and believes that “Reproductive rights are a fundamental human right like freedom of speech.”
The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, reads as follows:
- Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
- Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Among its other goals are promoting abortion and contraception as “equal rights” between the sexes.
Does Abortion Move Women Forward? Pro-life Professional Women Say No
Regnery Publishing Senior Managing Editor Maria Ruhl, who clarified that she was representing herself and not her company, told The Stream, “It’s jarring for an interview with a radical sexual liberation advocate to appear in a spring family clothing catalog. Especially given the front cover image of a traditional family gathering with children happily examining their Easter baskets.”
“Abortion-on-demand has made it more, not less, likely that women will be used and disposed of by men, and it prevents many women from ever coming into this world,” said Ruhl.
Lands’ End has not yet responded to requests from The Stream for comment.
Nigerian-American mother Winnie Obike, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Communications at the University of Maryland, said that “abortion has been the scourge of my generation. There are brothers and sisters who are missing from our lives; cousins, nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, grandparents, and great-grandparents who never lived.”
“Abortion, pushed by today’s feminist media, has forced women backwards, not forwards,” said Yoder. “How dare a movement pride itself on insisting that a woman’s freedom relies on the ability to kill her baby. The claim that abortion is necessary for women’s empowerment is demeaning. It goes against everything I believe as a woman.”
“The story praises Steinem for supposedly paving the way for women and our big dreams and ambitions,” said Institute for Religion and Democracy Evangelical Program Director Chelsen Vicari. “Well, they’re not speaking for this woman as I can’t help but think of the unborn little girls (and boys) whose dreams and ambitions were squashed before they were ever hatched and the post-abortive women I know who are still struggling to find healing and hope all because of abortion’s destructive ends.”
Asked whether abortion has helped move women forward, as Steinem has proposed, Catholic University of America graduate student Sophia Feingold simply said, “No.”
“I do recognize that there are many women for whom bringing a baby into the world is a financial, logistical, physical, or psychological problem — one of my mother’s good friends, for example, had diabetes from a childhood illness, which meant that every baby she carried was a risk,” Feingold explained. “So yes, there are cases where carrying a child is a hardship, a serious hardship. But we can view such difficult pregnancies in two ways. We can either say, ‘Gee, that’s tough — let me help you by removing that THING from your uterus,’ or we can say, ‘Oh, boy, that’s really hard. Let me help you with meals, with clothing, with medical attention, with finding a better job,’ etc.”
“I think most women, if asked, would take the latter option. This is why it’s so important for people — especially for people who consider themselves to be pro-life — to focus their efforts on helping those in need around them.”
“One final note for anyone who’s been asleep for the past ten years or so,” said Feingold. “Sex-selective abortions are very real in countries like China and India, and they tend to target female children. I don’t see how any woman can consider this, and feel comfortable with abortion-on-demand.”
Do Easter and Abortion Mix?
Vicari condemned Lands’ End for its decision to “feature abortion activist Gloria Steinem alongside, ironically, happy children hunting colorful eggs within its Easter edition.”
“As a Christian woman, I must be honest and say I’m not surprised,” said Vicari. “In many ways, this is indicative of just how broken and backwards our culture operates. While not surprising, it is nonetheless heartbreaking to see a catalogue praise a perpetuator of the culture of death instead of celebrate a holiday dedicated to the cross and Christ’s triumph over death.”
“Gloria Steinem’s dogmatic brand of feminism does not allow for other types of feminists, such as the feminists for life, to exist side by side with hers,” Obike said. “Her feminism promotes the ending of human life in the womb and should not be valorized, especially on a holiday when we celebrate the risen life of Christ.”
Yoder was likewise nonplussed about the juxtaposition of what she called “selfless” and “selfish” being put in the same issue. “Easter is about Jesus sacrificing his life so that all of humanity might have life. Abortion is the antithesis of that: the ‘sacrificing’ of another’s life for the sake of one’s own life. One is selfless. The other is selfish. And Lands’ End insults Christians by placing the two side-by-side.”
Ruhl described the placement of “an interview with a radical sexual liberation advocate … in a spring family clothing catalog” as “jarring. … [e]specially given the front cover image of a traditional family gathering with children happily examining their Easter baskets.”
Like her fellow pro-life women, Feingold said Eastern and abortion don’t go together, but was more philosophical about how Steinem and Lands’ End could have put Easter near an abortion radical.
“You’ve got to understand Steinem’s viewpoint here. Most women see abortion as a necessary evil. But for Steinem, and for the limited number of women who are genuinely and ardently pro-abortion, abortion isn’t bad at all. Steinem famously said that she used to try to make herself feel guilty about her own abortion, but she couldn’t. Rather, she said the abortion made her feel that she ‘had taken responsibility for [her] own life’ and ‘therefore it felt positive.'”
“Now, it’s interesting that Steinem, who talks in the Lands’ End interview about addressing unfairness in a ‘rational’ way, has in the past relied so much on feeling rather than reason for her defense of abortion. But it does help to explain how she and the editors of the magazine might have thought the Easter message worked. For them, abortion is giving life back to the woman who’s in danger of losing control of her life to her baby.”
“That’s a very disturbing way of looking at a pregnancy. But that is how ardent pro-abortionists see abortion: you create a greater life by taking a life. I don’t think it’s ethical — I don’t think, even from a selfish point of view, it’s worth it — but that’s the calculus that Steinem and some others make.”
“I find it somewhat ironic, though I’m sure the editors of the magazine did not,” Feingold continued. “The front cover itself is very attractive; the description refers to ‘Sunday afternoons filled with family and friends’ and a ‘crowded lawn … littered with those you love.’ It just sounds a little too traditional and family-centric for a place where Steinem would be comfortable.”
“As far as the Steinem section itself, I find it still more ironic that, when asked about the ‘one lesson’ she’d like people to learn, Steinem offers the following: ‘The truth is that every person is a unique miracle, a combination of millenia of heredity and environment that could never have happened before in exactly the same way, and could never happen again in exactly the same way.’ That strikes me as being quite true. But if it applies to people outside the womb, why not to people inside the womb, as well?”
Will Lands’ End’s Abortion Advocacy Matter?
A spokesperson for a conservative corporate watchdog and a public relations consultant both told The Stream that the Steinem interview could harm Lands’ End’s image.
“The prominent placement of this four-page spread could alienate an entire group of patrons — including women — who feel differently about the issue of abortion,” said consultant Marana Buchhop. “Additionally the feature seems somewhat off-brand for Lands’ End, which has long been considered a ‘family-oriented’ company.”
Bucchop, who said she does not believe abortion moves women forward in society, said that “When considered carefully, the [Easter/abortion] juxtaposition is certainly odd, and even a bit jarring. Although I’ve certainly seen worse, it seems that a more sensitive and tasteful editorial could easily have been chosen.”
Robert Kuykendall, National Outreach Director for watchdog 2nd Vote, said that it was “disappointing that Lands’ End would try to revive its brand by glorifying someone like Gloria Steinem, who has made a career undermining the value of life. 2nd Vote’s research has shown that Lands’ End has remained relatively neutral on matters of policy since the company was spun off from Sears Holdings.”
“However, releasing a catalog that celebrates Easter, and the new hope presented by the meaning of the holiday, while simultaneously launching an initiative to support Steinem’s pro-abortion ERA Coalition is incredibly tone-deaf,” said Kuykendall.
“Ironically, recent media reports suggest that CEO Frederica Marchionni, the writer of the article, is seeking ‘to bring younger customers to the brand.’ Perhaps Marchionni should pay more attention to polling that indicates Millenials hold stronger pro-life views than previous generations, and [she should] realize that social conservatives and people of faith don’t want their shopping dollars to fund pro-abortion advocacy.”
Lands’ End has not yet responded to requests from The Stream for comment.