UPDATE: October 18, 2017, at 4:35 P.M. Three hours after the initial PR blast about the Me Too necklace went out, several Allure editors received the following email on behalf of Adornia, explaining that there was a typo and Adornia would actually be donating 100 percent of its proceeds.
“Apologies for the typo — 100% of the proceeds from this necklace is being donated to RAINN. Designer Moran Amir was inspired by her own experience as a survivor of adolescent sexual abuse to help women speak out loud.” However, I received the following email, as well, which says that Adornia adjusted its donation policy for the Me Too necklace from 10 percent to 100 percent of the proceeds.
It reads, “…ADORNIA runs on a social commerce model where they donate 10% of profits a month to a different charity focused on female justice.” The email goes on to explain that the founder “quickly [realized] how this could be misconstrued and, not intending to profit but simply to help bring awareness to the cause, she adjusted donations to 100% of proceeds.”
“We also must apologize as we never intended to do anything other than further drive awareness to ADORNIA’s mission and piece. I hope you can understand this was completely well-meaning. … Please accept apologies on both our behalves if there was any offense in any way, shape or form – we are feminists and believe strongly in doing everything we can to shout it from the rooftops.”
It’s been a rough few weeks for survivors of sexual assault. Since the initial allegations against producer and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein went public on Thursday, October 5, there’s been an onslaught of additional talk in the press and on social media about sexual harassment and assault. These discussions have led other survivors to come forward, not only to accuse Weinstein but to open up about other experiences being assaulted, as well. Social media campaigns have allowed some to vocalize experiences while leaving others feeling triggered; there was a social media boycott that left some feeling silenced and others empowered. As always, with such a sensitive topic, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to discuss sexual assault, but many of us are doing the best we can.
However, some attempts to grapple with the effects of sexual assault are truly misguided right from the outset, and a PR pitch received Wednesday morning by Allure editors is one of those. The pitch announced the launch of a necklace from jewelry brand Adornia. The necklace was created on the heels of the viral hashtag #MeToo, which prompted sexual assault survivors to share their stories in order to destigmatize speaking out about the topic and show the magnitude of the problem. Though the hashtag went viral just a few days ago on October 15, Adornia wasted no time attempting to mix capitalism and activism.
This won’t be a surprise to some folks — in fact, it’s something Robyn Kanner, Co-Founder of MyTransHealth, predicted would happen in a tweet the day after the hashtag began circulating. After she heard about the Adornia necklace, she told Allure, “The Internet is remarkably skilled at commodifying our most miserable moments in real life.” That checks out.
Adornia, founded by designer Moran Amir, is now selling a lariat necklace that spells out the words “Me Too” with charms dangling from the chain. The subject line in the pitch email was “Me Too. The necklace that says it all.” Immediately, this was a bad start — while we can’t control what happens to a tweet after we press the enter button, we can control the content we put out there, and we can also control when we engage with the social media network. When we get dressed in the morning, however, we don’t necessarily want our outfits to “say it all” — at least, not in the way that such a necklace would do.
As a survivor of sexual assault, I spend a lot of each day working both to be present and to create a new future. However, it’s hard to stay present sometimes when there are triggers everywhere. I don’t want to wear something that invites strangers to talk to me about their opinions regarding sexual assault or ask about my story, without regard to how I may be feeling at that moment. While others may feel different (and that’s totally okay), reactions to tweets about the PR pitch show that my initial reaction is shared by many.
The “Me Too” lariat necklace goes for $44 on the Adornia website. The brand is donating 10 percent of the proceeds (around $4 per necklace) through the month of November to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), and after November, that 10 percent will be donated to another charity that’s “focused on female empowerment.” This is similar to the formatting it already uses for donations from its “WOKE” Necklace.
Honestly, such a small donation per sale somehow feels ickier than had they decided to donate nothing at all. Selling necklaces that capitalize on a viral hashtag and puts the wearers’ stories on display, then donating such a paltry amount in the name of activism just seems really…shitty, if I’m honest. Sorry, there’s no other way to put it, and some members of the media have taken to Twitter voicing similar opinions.
It’s also important to note that the #MeToo hashtag was actually started by a black female activist named Tarana Burke 10 years ago, as reported by Ebony, though it went viral recently after Alyssa Milano used the phrase in a tweet following the Weinstein allegations. The activism of black women is frequently co-opted by white women without so much as an acknowledgment, so that adds yet another layer of discomfort to this necklace concept.
In the email, the PR company says that Amir “developed her brand to empower women and help us all reclaim the words and phrases that we should be proud to use every day.” That sentiment is fine, but the follow-through is way off the mark. Rather than reclaiming phrases used against women, she’s actually claiming a hashtag created by a black woman that was intended to destigmatize sexual assault, making it appear as though it is her own, and doing it to make money — and that is certainly not a good look.
To donate directly to RAINN or to utilize the many resources it offers survivors, check out its website right here.
- A Note to Survivors Who Aren’t Ready to Share Their Sexual Assaults
- Terry Crews Reveals He Was Sexually Assaulted by a “High-Level” Hollywood Executive
- A List of Those Who Have Publicly Accused Harvey Weinstein of Sexually Harassing or Assaulting Them
Now, something that’ll lower your blood pressure:
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