There’s a reason I roll my eyes at t-shirts and other ephemera emblazoned with feminist messages. Feminism isn’t fashion, but it’s treated like a commodity across industries, from pop culture to the media and even politics. While I acknowledge the sincerity of every feminist who has ever purchased a t-shirt, hat, badge or other accoutrement emblazoned with a feminist message, I also deeply question the motivations of the companies selling them.
Enter, @FeministApparel. Last week, the company’s CEO, Alan Martofel, an admitted sexual abuser, was exposed by his staff for his crimes against women. In a Facebook post on his personal page, Martofel admitted to putting ‘a woman’s hand on my dick while she was sleeping’, along with knowingly committing other non-consensual sexual acts against women. Creating the FA brand, was, apparently, his redemption arc.
When his gross piggery was discovered by staff—many of them women, and feminists—who confronted him, Martofel fired them. Confessed sex offender Martofel had used these staff, as well as many talented artists, to build his 'feminist' empire, and all were blind-sided by their boss' violent history and subsequent reaction to his outing. One staff member told @Refinery29, ‘It was so hard to hear that Alan had done those things and hidden them from us, because that meant that we had been working for an abuser who was taking money from abuse victims.’ FA staff have set up a Tumblr to tell their stories and celebrate the artists that collaborated with FA. The site functions as something of a support network, and one of the healthy by-products of the #MeToo era is the newfound naturalness with which women can share their trauma, strengthen one another, and move forward together. You can find the site at feminist-apparel-facts (dot) tumblr (dot) com. And remember kids: political movements and capitalism don’t often mix!
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