The latest in WTFF (what the fresh fuck) news: a reporter at the Daily Mail found that women in Mauritius creating t-shirts for The Fawcett Society, whose slogan is “Working for women’s rights since 1886,” that say “This is What a Feminist Looks Like.” are living in dormitories that house 16 people at a time and make roughly a dollar a day. The shirts retail for £45, or $70 US.
If this whole ordeal isn’t a perfect example of irony, I don’t know what is.
Last year, Elle UK had a special feminist issue in which many A-list celebrities such as Emma Watson, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Pegg, Josh Whedon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Common, and many others wore these very shirts to promote that feminism isn’t just a women’s rights issues, but a human rights issue that everyone should get behind. The campaign followed the heels of Watson’s inspiring speech at the U.N.at the height of her #HeForShe campaign. More recently, British politicians have been seen sporting these tees. How horrible do you think they’d feel knowing that these shirts were made by women whose rights they are trying so very hard to support?
— ELLEUK (@ELLEUK) October 27, 2014
The Fawcett Society, who’s responsible for selling these ironic t-shirts, issued a statement regarding The Daily Mail’s report on the working conditions of the sweatshop:
“We have been very disappointed to hear the allegations that conditions in the Mauritius factory may not adhere to the ethical standards that we, as the Fawcett Society, would require of any product that bears our name. At this stage, we require evidence to back up the claims being made by a journalist at the Mail on Sunday. However, as a charity that campaigns on issues of women’s economic equality, we take these allegations extremely seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them.”
The air is thick with the scent of bullshit. If they care so much for women’s rights, they would’ve looked into how these t-shirts would be manufactured in the first place and make sure that the people making them were being paid a fair, livable wage, in a safe work environment. While on a tour of the factory, the reporter from the Daily Mail found that the women can make 300 shirts for $14. It would take exactly two weeks for them to even be able to buy one of the shirts they make.
As for doing their “utmost to investigate” the situation, all they need to do is look at the pictures accompanied in the Daily Mail’s exposé. That ought to be proof enough that they’re dealing with some fucked up, un-feminist bullshit.