You may be sick of the boycott H&M hype currently surrounding the now viral image of the young boy dressed in the green monkey slogan hoodie. This not only divided the internet but seems to have continued for a lot longer than some of us are okay with. A question has been on our minds the past few days: Do we give H&M our hard-earned money or do we write them off as a preferred retailer?
Firstly let’s discuss why this is a spectacularly controversial issue H&M gave us and why there is now a huge boycott H&M hype.
For a lot of people, there’s no overlooking the original derogatory reference to black people. It is understandable that this is something which many have tried to remove from common vocabulary and association with those of colour. It isn’t a case of denying this but maybe realising just like other racial slurs, there will be a lot of people still offended by this term, and sadly some using it the same way it was originally used with the exact malicious intent.
It’s also important we address how it could be perceived a lot more offensively and sinister due to the fact the person wearing the jump is a minor. It’s no secret the support he received from all types of people, over Twitter especially, and after reading numerous outraged comments and support for the boy, it is hard not to listen and feel at least a small bit of anger towards H&M as we associate children with innocence to any issue like racism. Ethically, it definitely caused a stir.
H&M has also been caught out before, being deemed unethical. They are part of a “fast-fashion” market as well as being the second largest retailer in the world so with this status comes the expectation for ethical practices, so it does cause concern when a variety of issues are exposed not just regarding it’s customers but it’s staff too. Unsafe working conditions, and questions over whether their material sourcing isn’t good for the earth are just some of the issues previously raised and so it is clear why for some, this was the last straw.
However, after all these reasons as to why the boycott H&M hype should continue, we do have to listen to the opposing argument. The Mother of the child shared her confusion as to why there was such offence taken and if anyone deserves a say on this matter it is her.
This won’t stop people finding offence in the matter but a lot of the concern was around the child being represented, and so as soon as the Mother spoke up it was evident she wanted the issue to simmer down and for us all to move on.
There is also the argument that the intentions were misconstrued and blown massively out of proportion and it’s safe to say H&M didn’t set out to be offensive. In this day and age we are encouraged to preach equality and be mindful of the history of racism, and so that’s why for so many the boycott H&M hype was needed to help move forward, away from the severe racism which is still very much planted into many of our heads.
This is a difficult scenario because it is inevitable that there will be always someone who can find fault or offence in a brand, garment or slogan and this is exactly the nature of fashion. Will you shop at the major retailer after seeing this incident spiral out all over the internet? Either way I don’t think you should feel guilty as long as you’re respecting of the tongue in cheek mishap and both sides of the argument. However, we’ll be attentive and watchful of every move the brand make now.
Maybe we have bigger fish to fry.
Written by Jessamy Mattinson