Millennial mothers have been looking to cut our Target spending for years — and it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as we thought.
Target just had to make just one decision and around $13 billion in market value disappeared practically overnight, leaving American families (and perhaps Walmart) just a little bit richer.
Conservatives have been struggling to find a foothold against corporate wokeism, the injection of politics and social issues into business. But the past two months seem to suggest the tide is turning — dramatically.
Bud Light, which inked a deal with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney for a single online spot during March Madness, might now be considered brand-dead.
After social conservatives gave up Bud Light en masse, Anheuser-Busch is facing a “permanent decline” of 15% in Bud Light sales, according to some analysts. The boycott has been so effective that Bud Light is now being used as a verb — companies that “go woke” risk being “Bud Lighted.”
Target could be an even bigger prize for social conservatives hoping to drive businesses away from the practice of embracing various social causes and back to the place where they simply market the stuff they sell.
There’s been some confusion over what exactly Target did to earn a boycott, given that Target was one of the first, and most consistent retailers, to embrace gay pride. But the last straw seemed to be when the hip retailer introduced “tucking” swimwear aimed at transgender adults.
Then the company was wrongly accused of promoting satanism, although it was revealed that a brand it carried, Abprallen, “also sells some occult- and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, such as popular pins and shirts featuring the phrase ‘Satan respects pronouns,’” according to The Associated Press.
Those items weren’t carried by Target, but the company did stock, as part of its Pride Month collection, a messenger bag that said “Too Queer for Here” and a sweatshirt that said “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People” next to an image of a menacing serpent on a winged staff.
Or at least it did until outraged parents got involved.
Maybe Target wasn’t choosing a side in the culture war or signaling its “woke” bona fides, but was in fact just trying to sell stuff. But to this mom and others, the choice of these particular products, and this particular designer, looks and feels like in its quest to be inclusive Target excluded those who’d rather have a more politically and socially neutral place to bring their children to shop.
And it seems the opposition is more widespread than Target’s buyers and marketers expected.
Experts have suggested that consumers have gotten more “aggressive” after the COVID-19 lockdowns, and that social media is fanning the flames of anger in ways traditional media just doesn’t.
More than that, though, it seems the lockdowns revealed to parents just how little they knew about what their kids were being exposed to online or told during the school day, when they’re under complete control of some teachers, administrators and others who are increasingly aggressive about pushing political agendas.
But now we’re seeing that parents do have power. And they’re ready to wield it. Target and Bud Light weren’t even the first targets — the public schools were.
The National Centers for Education Statistics estimate that a million students failed to return to public schools after the pandemic, and state enrollment figures show “no signs of rebound,” according to The New York Times’s report on the phenomenon. Meanwhile, private school numbers are up, as is home-schooling.
The breakdown in the relationship between teachers and parents has been obvious; school board meetings are contentious as parents and administrators clash over sexually explicit books and teaching plans that seem more focused on political agendas than on math, science or history. Some schools and educators have also been accused of hiding children’s gender transitions from “unsupportive” parents. It’s not just conservative parents who are concerned.
But conservatives have gone “woke” in their own way now. They’re awakening to how schools and corporations might steer their kids away from the values they’re seeking to teach their children and model in their homes. Their efforts to push back are finally making a difference. And the impact is hitting retailers where it hurts most.