Lands’ End, the clothing provider that started out in Chicago in nautical equipment and whose headquarters is now in Wisconsin, just entered the Culture Wars big time.
Its new catalog has just arrived at our house. It has an enormous, worshipful spread to radical “feminist” Gloria Steinem, who, among other things, is a Democrat Party activist and an abortion radical, supporting even partial-birth abortion. She’s famous for popularizing the phrase “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I have been significant Lands’ End shopper for over 40 years, starting with its first outlet store on Chicago’s near north side (on Clyburn or Elston, as I recall) and I have been looking at its catalogs for at least as long. The same can be said of my wife. Before this we have never seen Lands’ End take a political stand, ever. I don’t think it will be able to get this genie back in the bottle for a long time.
This is almost certainly the end of our patronage of Lands’ End. Why oh why would a major national retailer, which given the type of clothing it sells probably does much, much more business among conservatives than liberals, take a side in the Culture Wars at all, let alone side with the extreme left-wing? Perhaps some Madison Avenue advertising/catalog consulting firm thought nothing of it. After all, doesn’t everyone who counts support partial birth abortion and the killing of infants born alive after botched, late-term abortions? Actually, those two "procedures" are disturbing and beyond the pale even for some pro-choice people I know.
It seems ultraliberals wake up every morning wondering about what new non-political space they can politicize. Lands’ End, a public company with shareholders, is free to enter the Culture Wars if it wants to, but why would it alienate most of its customers? This is a massive error in management judgement, and heads should roll. I wouldn’t be surprised to see shareholder lawsuits if sales drop off.