Cori Schumacher: State of Flux

Wednesday

16

October 2013

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COMMENTS

Was Roxy’s statement good enough?

Written by , Posted in Feminism



I’ve spent the last few days listening to the responses of folks who have taken the time to read Roxy’s non-apology statement regarding the Official Trailer for the Biarritz Roxy Pro. 

Here is what I am hearing: The onus of the “mischaracterization” of the brand falls squarely on the brand itself and many who were optimistic that Roxy would do the right thing (admit the Trailer was a bad choice and publicly commit to representing women’s surfing without the use of objectification and sexualization) are now solidly alienated from the brand. There have also been requests to delete the Trailer entirely.

Once again, the voices of those who have reached out to Roxy best articulate the problem(s) with Roxy’s statement. I will say that I am glad that Roxy stepped up to the plate and allowed the over 160 comments that were queued for moderation to be public on their blog post “What Roxy Stands For.” But the question continues to pester: will they listen? And if/when they do, will it be too late?

VOICE SAYS:

Even with 22000+ petition signers, you still can’t apologize or say that you might take action to repeat the same scenario? You have 5 paragraphs touting how awesome you are, 1 paragraph saying you “recognize” that “some” fans are concerned about the video (gee, thanks for “recognizing” tens of thousands of complaints), and 1 paragraph saying that YOU are disappointed that WE mischaracterized you. I don’t even know what to say to that. As a Roxy fan, female surfer and athlete, I continued to shop your brand, thinking the petition would open your eyes to the core values of your demographic, but I won’t any longer. It appears as if you still don’t believe you did anything wrong. Yes, one video is not the end of the world amongst all the good promotion you do for women athletes, but as always, it’s about principle — when you don’t even acknowledge it was wrong, it falsifies what you SAY you stand for.

VOICE SAYS:

Dear Roxy,
Sorry, but this isn’t good enough. You made a poor choice in letting that ad run. Your blog response, additionally, in no way takes responsibility for your poor choice. Another poor choice.
If you truly want to be champions of strong female athletes, act on that. Take responsibility, apologize, and run a new ad demonstrating that for which you say you stand.
Simple.

VOICE SAYS:

As a surfer and mother of a young surfer girl, I am disappointed by the Roxy ad and comments on this blog regarding such. An elite athlete shown faceless in her underwear is not ‘aspirational’. It does not show her true strength, beauty and sense of adventure. This not the role model I want to have for my daughter. I want to see girls and women ripping it up in the surf and having fun. Who exactly is this supposed to sell product too? By having this misguided ad, you have turned me and family off your products (and I will sharing this with my women’s boardriders club).

VOICE SAYS:

Yes, I am a man, and yes I have purchased Roxy for my athlete daughter. This letter is such a soft sell it smells of corporate hog wash. Mischaracterization? In your own words where is the “inspiration to compete “in a ” underwear” ad ? Where is the girl shredding a wave? Where is the young women getting some sweet powder? Roxy all you are doing is promoting objectifying females the polar opposite of what you claim to promote, where is the confidence building of butt shots?
Roxy I raised two strong female athletes, they are my pride and joy, your attitude is what is wrong with sports. You should take a clue from great organizations like Fast and Female. Seems like Roxy is for posing not doing.

VOICE SAYS:

As a mother of a boy, I can point to male athletes and say “he’s a snowboarder, see him snowboarding?” “He’s a skateboarder, see him skateboarding?” What I can’t say is “She’s a surfer, see her surfing?” but instead, “She’s a surfer, see her being hot?” Not good, Roxy. The story of girls is shifting. You could be a new storyteller.

I share these sentiments and would add my own:

Roxy’s statement illustrates their unwillingness to address the frustrations petitioners expressed about the overt sexism in their ad for the Biarrtiz Pro surf contest. It’s a disappointing non-apology wrapped in brand rhetoric that side-steps the issues brought to bear by over 22,000 people from around the globe. This is not enough to begin the process of re-establishing brand loyalty with those who took the time to voice their opinions on the trailer.

In addition to the comments on Roxy’s blog, there have been a couple of noteworthy blog posts I would like to share:

Rebecca Olive is a necessary resource for anyone interested in women in surfing. Her recent post Roxy’s Press Release: PLEASE BUY OUR STUFF! inspired thoughts I will share in my next blog post. Until then, definitely check Ms. Olive’s post out (and the rest of her site, for that matter).

I also found VishOnAMish’s commentary on Roxy’s brand of corporate double-speak, Roxyology, quite amusing.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to email me and to reach out to Roxy on their blog and through the petition. This is far from over. #notbuyingit

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