Yesterday, this above photo was posted to the Black Milk Clothing fan page, with a statement that states the staff member wants to look like the woman on the left, and ends up looking like the woman on the right.
This meme erupted on Facebook, causing loads of fans to comment stating how this was inappropriate, that it offended them, and that shaming of any kind is not okay – especially when you are running/promoting your company, and most of your fan base is female.
Black Milk’s reaction? Deleting comments, banning people, and basically replying with “If you don’t like our jokes, you are free to unlike the page and stop shopping with us.” What a way to keep your customers loyal! I have exactly zero experience in running a business, and even I know that one of the many things NOT to do is direct [potential] customers away. The post was eventually deleted by Alicia (one of the social media team members) due to ‘negativity’. Here are a few screenshots of the comments some (ex-) fans have taken and shared with me or the general internet:
Longtime ex-customer Kristen has this to say about the matter:
“The issue isn’t bodyshaming. That post puts women in a competition none of us agreed to, and implies that geeks and gamers can only be sexy if they dress and style themselves in a hyper sexualized, highly feminized manner. It inherently shames women who don’t want to be sexualized within the geek/gamer community and perpetuates misogynist stereotyping. It’s mean.
And I don’t think anyone should sit around and defend BM. Their treatment of their community is horrendous, they regularly violate copyright when making their “original” designs yet encourage their fans to shred other companies who use similar commercially available fabrics, and they’ve perpetuated rape culture and racism in the past year.”
But wait, there’s more!
Think this is the first time Black Milk has overstepped the line? Think again.
How about this post from Easter?
Presenting some casual body-shaming for your holiday weekend. I suppose this could be taken in the sense of “spend your money on leggings instead of chocolate”, if Lana hasn’t stated in the comments that she didn’t follow her own advice and ate a chocolate bunny for breakfast. Also, since when does chocolate cost $75? I really don’t see the connection here, if this post was not INTENDED to be body-shaming. Comments were also deleted on this thread.
Or how about this time Lana was in full support of blackface on Instagram?
I don’t think I even have to explain what’s incredibly inappropriate about this one.
Or what about that time they told people to ‘go right out and read’ a Batman comic that includes a brutal implied rape scene, without a trigger warning for the content? But apparently, it needs to actually be CALLED rape, in that specific word, for them to do anything about it.
It takes 5 seconds to apologize for their insensitivity, and edit the post to include a trigger warning. But this isn’t what happened. Instead, more excuses were made because it wasn’t actually called rape. As a previous Black Milk customer between the time period of March 2012 and January 2014, this is when I removed myself from the community. I’ve sold off most of my pieces, and I haven’t purchased from them since. I stepped down as one of the 3 admins for the Black Milk LGBTQ group (which I created because I thought it was a glaring omission among the 30+ other community groups), and removed myself from all groups as well as the fan page. Excusing rape-culture related issues is something I find inexcusable – whether you’re one person who makes a rape joke, or a company attempting to sell you products.
This is the link to the original comic artwork – TRIGGER WARNING for sexual assault/abuse/brutality of women. http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/killing-joke-gordon.jpg
That really looks like rape to me. If I had clicked on it without a warning from a friend, I would feel incredibly messed up. Shouldn’t Black Milk feel that their customers deserve fair warning before delving into this type of material?
Or how about the time they shamed one specific customer publicly on the fan page for becoming a teenage mom?
This young woman shared this before and after photo, presumably because wearing Black Milk makes her feel good, and she wanted to share that you could still look awesome when you’re expecting.. so Black Milk takes advantage of this by reposting her pictures, and tells us all to “party responsibly?” You might as well say, don’t party too hard or you’ll end up a pregnant teenager like this girl! The company knows nothing about her personal life, nothing about her choices and decisions, and have no idea about anything she has gone through. This post was cruel, uncalled for, and likely very embarrassing for the female targeted. I really hope she was sincerely apologized to following this incident, but given the way BM tends to handle their mistakes, that’s unfortunately not very likely. [Note: If the girl in these photos ever comes across this post, I want you to know that you have the full support of myself and many other people out there! This was hurtful and wrong for Black Milk to do, and that’s why I’m sharing it now. Also, you look amazing in both photos! xx]
Chinese New Year release? Otherwise known as, an excuse to sell new items release!
Black Milk’s 2014 Chinese New Year collection was completely void of anything to do with the holiday. The artwork of this panda shirt was done by a Japanese artist, and I think that’s the connection they attempted to make? …Except that Chinese and Japanese are two different cultures and are not by any means interchangeable. Pandas also have nothing to do with the holiday. Have I mentioned that the release date of the collection was not even the SAME date as Chinese New Year? This is a definite far cry from the Chinese zodiac pieces that were put out for the celebrations in 2013.
Let’s talk about the Black Milk “Commandments” – because it’s not important to practice what we preach.
How about you be excellent to your customers? How about you don’t compare one woman to another with the intent of saying one appearance is more attractive? How about you have a reasonable discussion and engagement with your fans instead of deleting all opinions you don’t agree with? And how about you DON’T compare racism to llamas?
To sum up, the geek-girl post was not a one-time thing. Black Milk Clothing regularly posts content that shames people for varying reasons, deletes replies that aren’t to their liking, and displays a “sorry-not-sorry” non-apologetic attitude when putting an ‘end’ to posting discussions. Their fans built them from the ground up, and this is how we are treated in return. The Black Milk “community” you speak so highly of is the same community you are now disrespecting. Alicia stated in her final statement regarding the geek-girl post that ALL of the Black Milk team are in agreement. Whether these problems lie in the hands of the social media team itself OR the business as a whole, these are the people you have representing your brand. Please consider where your money is going, and the kind of company you are supporting.
If you have any comments, questions, or want to contribute to this topic (I may follow up on this post at a later date), please feel free to contact me! I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions (and I won’t delete them either)!