The Anti-Trump Luxury Shopping Experience

It has been my mission, the last few days, to urge those of us who are Trump opponents to get our priorities straight. I’ve urged casting a wide net for ‘allies’ in this, the new resistance. I’ve wanted us all to set ideological differences and political purity requirements aside. Are you a #NeverTrump Republican? A Bernie die-hard who wrote a 100,000,000-word social-media post about why, even though she’s the worst person to ever live, you’ll hold your nose and vote for #Her? Are you a Trump voter with buyer’s remorse? Fine by me!

However. A Vogue article, which I found via Andi Zeisler’s Twitter, just slightly tested my resolve. The article, “10 Ways to Wear Safety Pins Post-Election and Show Your Support,” puts a monetizing spin on an anti-fascist gesture that’s already gotten called out (unfairly I think) for being too weak of a gesture and a sign of white obliviousness. (Anecdote time: The only person I’ve seen on the street in New York post-election wearing a ton of safety pins with a not-otherwise-punk look has been a black woman.)

The Vogue piece is an awkward mix of protest-reporting (“[H]ere in the U.S., the trend has picked up in a similar response to President-elect Donald Trump’s views on immigration—from deportation to building that wall.”) and… an attempt at monetizing protest. Readers are instructed to purchase items from an accompanying slideshow (sample item: “Mugler cotton pullover with safety pins, $569”), “then put your money where your mouth is and take real action against the forces of hate.” Zeisler hits the platinum-incrusted nail on the head: This is money that, if you’re concerned, could be donated.

While I do take Zeisler’s point, I’m going to try, once again, to maintain my resolve. Yes, gold safety pin is hilarious in an Edina Monsoon sort of way. But it’s oh so much better than a gold Ivanka bracelet. In a society where everything’s a shopping opportunity, I’d rather see the disposable-income (or irresponsible-spending) set gesturing at anti-racism than the reverse. I’d rather see a jazzed-up safety pin whose profits go to an anti-racist or pro-immigrant charity, but at least no one’s pretending these are that?

Except… and here’s where I’m sort of with Zeisler on this. Yes, the haute-safety-pin-as-political-gesture wearers (if there are any) are On The Right Side, but it’s not the greatest if anti-racism gets marketed as a high-end brand. It’s arguably more alienating than a Clinton surrogate who plays a broke-but-not-poor millennial on HBO. And I’m not familiar enough with Vogue readers’ budgets to say whether these luxe safety pins would be in addition to generous donations, or whether this is a post whose takeaway is, forget the ACLU, just look the part.

Can Activism be Commodified?

Can Activism be Commodified?

Can Activism be Commodified?

Phoebe Maltz Bovy edits the Sisterhood, and can be reached at bovy@forward.com. Her book, The Perils of “Privilege”, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017.

Vogue Suggests Gold Safety Pins as Anti-Racist Gesture

Tagged as:

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

The Anti-Trump Luxury Shopping Experience

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close
Close