Collective Action Success! BareMinerals Ditches Sexist, Pro-Street Harassment Campaign

This weekend, DC resident Sara Alcid was appalled and outraged when she went to cheer on friends at the Nike Women’s Marathon in DC and saw groups of men holding sexist signs commenting on the women runner’s looks and clothing. Sara found out that the signs were a part of BareMinerals by Bare Escentuals’ “Go Bare” campaign and tour, and DC was the tour’s first stop. Next step: Sara partnered with CASS and Holly Kearl of Stop Street Harassment (SSH) to launch a petition for BareMinerals to stop promoting street harassment and objectifying women runners.

Photos of BareMinerals’ #GoBare campaign at the April 28th Nike Women’s Marathon in DC. Credit: Sara Alcid

Street harassment is no joke. According to research conducted by Kearl, 99 percent of women experience street harassment in the form of sexualy explicit comments, sexist remarks, groping, leering, stalking, public masturbation and assault. What’s more, Kearl found that 46 percent of women said they exercised at a gym because of fear of harassment and assault while outdoors.

We’re HAPPY to report that within just a few hours of launching the petition yesterday morning, BareMinerals contacted Sara and CASS and SSH to let us know that they will NOT be using the signs again. We held a phone call with BareMinerals later yesterday evening, and we were pleased with their genuine regret at having promoted sexual harassment and trivialized women runners.

The following sums up their response:

“First and foremost, we want to say how incredibly sorry we are that we caused any offense. Our messages were meant to motivate and support but you’ve made us realize that not everybody would find these messages motivational or supportive. It’s ironic because you’re exactly the kind of women that we are inspired by because you’re fighting the good fight and standing up for women. Our mission is to make a positive difference in women’s lives and to inspire women to be their very best. So to know that this is not what was translated on the street really pains us. We take your concerns so seriously, and we really believe this is a learning opportunity for our brand. Please rest assured that these signs will not be used going forward on the Go Bare tour. We’re glad we’re having this chance to learn.”

We want to take a moment to thank the BareMinerals team for showing a commitment to women’s concerns, particularly those regarding their freedom from street harassment and sexual objectification. In an act of showing BareMinerals and other companies like it that women respond positively to marketing decisions that value them, we encourage you to send a tweet:

Dear @BareMinerals: Thank you for listening to women’s concerns & taking #streetharassment seriously! #fem2 #endSH

Most importantly, we want to send a huge thanks to everyone who helped tweet and petition to send our message. Your support and activism are the very core of our mission, which holds that — together — we can collectively prevent street harassment (including a culture that normalizes it) and create safe spaces for all.

Thanks, CASS community! Working together to prevent public sexual harassment.
Thanks, CASS community! Working together to prevent public sexual harassment.

4 Responses

  1. Gianna Jay

    I’m glad that they aren’t using the signs any more, but they still have photos up on the #GoBare Instagram site, and thus are using the signs to promote their product. Not only that, but they didn’t say that they are sorry they objectified women, they just said they are sorry they caused offense. I feel like that is saying “I’m sorry that you got wet when I pushed you into the pool,” instead of “I’m sorry I pushed you in the pool; that was wrong.” Yes, it is great that they have made some response to everyone complaining. I’d be more convinced if they removed the signs from their Instagram account and made some very public move to congratulate the DC runners on their accomplishments, as opposed to just being sorry they didn’t motivate everyone with their sexist signs.

    • Deborah Massey

      Is it just my doubting mind that believes organisations run these ridiculous publicity stunts because of the potential for additional free market placement due to a temporary negative response: followed by a quick resolution and thus restoration and recognition as “listening” and “responsive.” I mean what did they (and I deliberately avoid using their name – again!) actually seek to gain through such a small minded stunt. Way up the outlay cost compared to the benefits of social media attention: this type of targeted attention is very expensive to “buy” through traditional marketing networks. I don’t doubt for one minute that the orchestrators are highly qualified and highly paid “professionals” who balance the cost of utilizing a group of “rather embarrassed” looking student aged males to manikin cheap placard the race line … oh please! A cheap, tacky trick for free marketing … sod the expense!!

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  3. Jeff Bailey

    We want a formal apology and them to promise not to degrade women runners or support street harassment and objectification on the rest of their tour too.