Party City Makes Official Statement, Then Changes Story On Facebook… And Still Fails To Contact Lin Kramer

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LinK_v_PC
Consumer GoodsGirlsHolidayShoppingSocial Media 32 Comments

After an open letter Lin Kramer posted on the Party City Facebook page was inexplicably deleted, and she was subsequently banned from commenting there, Women You Should Know gave the concerned mother a platform to be heard. Not only was her voice amplified, the story went viral in less than 24 hours. Now five days later, Lin’s letter is still being shared all over social media, and continues to be plastered on Party City’s Facebook page by countless other consumers who share her concerns about girls’ costume options and want to echo the well articulated points she made.

Party City has had five days to respond to Lin directly, but has not. Rather, the company has spent the week cutting and pasting a canned PR response to individual Facebook users who have posted a copy of Lin’s letter, commented in support of her letter or expressed a similar sentiment on its page.

After seeing our story, The Huffington Post reached out to Party City yesterday, a move which seems to have forced the company’s hand in issuing an overdue statement that actually acknowledges Lin Kramer. Huff Po published the company’s “official” response today in a piece for which they also spoke with Lin.

PC_Huff_Po

In our opinion, this statement amounts to nothing more than a slightly expanded version of the canned PR response Party City has been posting on its own Facebook page all week, which has come off to many as sounding like a corporate parent blaming lecture rather than a genuine appreciation of consumer opinion. While it has a lot of extra words, it still doesn’t say anything substantive, and certainly does not read as Party City taking any responsibility for the role it plays in gender stereotyping and marketing when it comes to kids’ costumes. The rotten cherry on top of this already spoiled PR sundae, is that the company wants Lin to reach out to THEM. Ummm… that’s what she initially did, which set off this chain of very unfortunate events.

We spoke with Lin tonight to get her take on Party City’s statement. This is what she shared:

“To date, Party City has not contacted me or reached out in any way. I learned about Party City’s response via The Huffington Post. The statement issued by Party City appears to be a slightly different version of the response already rejected by thousands of consumers online. Echoing the sentiments of those consumers, I remain disappointed and saddened that Party City has elected not to substantively address the disparate costuming options offered for boys and girls, as well as to ignore the overt and disturbing sexualization of young girls encouraged by its merchandise and marketing.”

As all this was happening, Lin noticed that Party City has also been issuing another “official” statement* today in response to nearly every recent post on its Facebook page from users who are still taking the company to task over how its social media team handled the initial response to Lin’s letter and/or the obvious issues with its genderized and sexualized girls’ costumes.

* This is an actual screen grab we pulled from Party City’s Facebook page tonight.

PC_employee_FB

How convenient that Party City suddenly learned of this supposed employee who allegedly went rogue. If that’s truly the case, why was this part of the corporate fairy tale not included in the “official” statement to The Huffington Post? It took a social media task force five whole days to discover the root of this nightmare? And if they realized this debacle stemmed back to an employee gone bad, how about reaching out to the customer who had been treated discriminately rather than expecting said customer to stumble upon this information online for herself.

We’re just not buying any of it. It’s a lot easier to blame one seemingly disposable, faceless, nameless worker, rather than own up to systemic corporate wrong doing. Party City has had several opportunities to do the right thing and effect real change, yet the company continues to make poor choices and bad decisions, digging the hole it’s already put itself in that much deeper.

Lin Kramer has still heard nothing directly from Party City.

  • Tara

    I don’t think I will be shopping at Party City for ANYTHING any more! Their response to this situation is totally unacceptable.

  • Elizagal

    I see nothing wrong with Party City’s second response (after Huff Post) response. I agree with her (Lin) initial letter, but this is a seasonal business, did you expect them to change their inventory overnight? Or bash themselves on social media?
    I would imagine what will happen, and likely would have happened even if not forced, is that party city certainly would have re-evaluated their inventory and it would have been remedied in future seasons.
    I am not defending their inventory, just their business. This business employs people, many, many people. Berating them until they lose business in pointless and ridiculous. Expressing your absolutely accurate observation and poking them until they cry uncle are two different things. And I do agree with them that they should expect parents to be involved, and you could always buy a boy costume.
    Before you accuse me of being conservative, yada, yada, know this, I am not. I am a pretty outspoken gender equality person, and again I do not disagree with the point of the original post, or even people supporting her, I just disagree with the continued public shaming.
    Write them, let them know, they will change, but this whole “change immediately, what the hell is the matter for you for not recognizing this bullshit”, is just too much.

    • chacal_lachaise

      They didn’t acknowledge her at all beyond corporate lip service. We do need to shake them up via social media to make them know they must offer different choices next year.

    • Alex

      where in any of this (orig letter or update) is anyone asking for Party City to “change immediately”? you clearly missed the point here… all of them.

    • D Schulz

      It’s been years. Complaints are growing. Companies that make these things will slowly come around as well as consumers who didn’t think much about it but it will take much longer than next season. If a company only makes one type of costume then they have no idea what changes to make. If they make a realistic girl cop costume and provide it limited markets then those markets decide for the rest of the country. There will be no way for them to quantify those that would have walked into a party city but now won’t for at least a three to five year downward trend.

  • Seen McDonough

    I’m sure if they thought such costumes would sell well, they would have them for the girls too. They have nothing to gain by going against what the consumer wants. They are a business. She’s acting like this is a personal attack. Leave a comment and shop somewhere else and be done with it. If enough people leave comments and leave, they will get the message.

  • Showdizzle Milos

    AHEM! This woman is just an attention-grubbing hypocrite (not an insult, an observation). Check it out: If any of you basement-dwelling troglodytes (again, not an insult) actually looked at the Party City website you would see that the boys’ “career” choices are mostly police/military types but also include “gangster”, “escaped convict”, “duck hunter” (lol) and “prince charming”. Btw I did not know Prince charming was a valid career option for me, yet another thing my parents didn’t explain well enough. Anyways this woman is a hypocrite because when I tried to post on her Facebook page, I could not (oh, the irony). I guess she doesn’t want people to post stuff that disagrees with her narrow view of life. I would have simply told her that the “boys'” outfits could easily be donned by girls and she is possibly conflating ‘gender’ and ‘sex’. I would suggest to her she learn more about these issues before attempting to throw her hat (cowboy, fireman, pillbox or otherwise) in the ring. I don’t really believe that a lawyer could be this dense, hence I believe she just wants the attention. In that case, she is rather smart because she has gotten miserable people who want to feel like social justice warriors to grant her 15 minutes of fame. Congrats.

    • Serena Aultene

      Retail brand Facebook pages are public by design. Personal Facebook pages are generally private and for good reason… to keep total strangers, and “basement-dwelling troglodytes” – like you – out of an individual’s personal space.

      • Showdizzle Milos

        You shouldn’t use words you obviously don’t know the meaning of:p

  • Jennifer Schecter

    hmmm i think this mom has to much time on her hands, if your girl wants to wear a costume that has a boy on the cover just buy it who cares who’s on the cover a boy or a girl, geezzz this is not a news worthy story and the mom needs to worry about more importent things in life.

    • desertmanfred

      Too much time…

      • jason darling

        you forgot, “important”.

  • Jennifer Schecter

    fyi i stand with party city

  • ErmaGerd

    Party
    City is not the “end-all” for kids costumes. Plus they didn’t design
    the costumes, they just bought them wholesale to re-sell in their store.
    If she’s really upset about stereotyping children through Halloween
    costumes, then she should write to the manufacturer(s) – who are most
    likely in CHINA – who probably have a different view on gender roles of
    Americans, and the underpaid workers probably get paid per piece, and
    are doing so to support their families. Shop somewhere else, or hey –
    here’s a concept: All that energy and time you spent on all the Facebook and social media
    posts – use it to MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUMES!! And look out social media
    should she ever go through Burger King and ask for a kids meal – they
    ask you if it’s for a boy, or a girl.

    • desertmanfred

      Kudos to you! You make sense.

    • D Schulz

      Retailers say that people buy it and it’s not like we make it. Manufacturers say people buy it and it’s not like we are selling it directly, retailers can decide what to put on the shelves. I’ve gone down this road before with toys from a movie. I complained to the manufacturer and they say the studio picks them. Dreamworks says well it was marketed by Disney so we didn’t make those decisions. The retailer says they just get told what’s available. I try to contact the actress who voices the part through her agency and Twitter and facebook and that’s all closed down because someone recently hacked celebrities and they let accounts go dormant. I think people should stop buying it, but I i know there will always be a market for grown up looking toddler costumes.

  • desertmanfred

    This is CRAZY!!! I found this story as a link in another publication and as usual my curiosity got the better of me. How does one young, biased parent speak for any of us? Doesn’t she know her 1950’s prudish attitude is unacceptable. Hey; this is the 21st Century! Anyone ask what the children think? Her kid may be more adult than she is.

    There are so many important events happening that affect our daily lives. Spend your time and energy on those things that will affect the kid’s real life; not the fairy tale life you imagine. I can’t believe I’m caught up in this, but she needs an awakening.

    • John Burtolow

      I love this idea that because someone cares about one issue and voices her/his concern about it, they couldn’t possible also care about the “more important” events. If you don’t see the diminishing of girls and the sexualization of girls as “affecting a kid’s real life” then you should stay in the desert… man, where you can keep your head in the sand.

      • desertmanfred

        Your opinion of me is cleverly worded…whatever.

        Since you brought up the word sexualization:
        1. To make or become sexual or sexually aware
        2. To give or acquire sexual associations
        3. To be endowed with sexual characteristics.

        Actually I DO see the sexualization of girls as it affects their real life. They love it; they have embraced it with adult, open-minded attitudes and visual social signals; and are maturing at a younger age because of it. It is your narrow view of girls that is causing them to feel your imposed guilt.

        If that escapes your censorship or hurts your pride, get over it. You and other Victorian prudes may want to keep girls trapped in your fairyland, but the rest of the world has long passed that stifling era.

        I don’t see girls being diminished by anyone except people who are excessively concerned with propriety or modestly, especially in sexual matters.

        Magazines, videos, movies, TV shows, discussions with peers and social website interactions all add to their being informed. Traditional parents just hate it when their sweet little innocent ones aren’t so innocent after all.

        I can guess that you advocate an age limit set at some arbitrary birthday in a kid’s life. Only in a regressive society like America are age limits forced on them and enforced by state laws. Who writes those laws? Who makes those decisions?

        Be glad you are free to voice your views, but if you keep voting Republican you may just lose that freedom.

        • Shadow

          As a woman and as a mother you are not entirely correct as to what all women enjoy. Mind you however, that I am coming from the point of view that the lady who penned the note was referring to her TODDLER. Now, take what you said here and apply that thought to a toddler. A toddler cannot embrace anything “with adult, open-minded attitudes and visual social signals” Toddlers cannot always even get their shoes on the right feet let alone understand the sexualization of women in the ways you mentioned, let alone at all.

          I appreciate we all have our opinions Mr. Fred. But not all women are prudes because they want their children to grow up without having to worry about some pervert making comments or groping at them. We all know that it is an eventuality that children grow up and we cannot protect our children from everything. We can try to teach our children morals and emphasize that just because someone thinks all women are super sexualized and comfortable with that, does not mean that it is so. Some women enjoy it and a lot of women realistically do not. The way you delivered your way of thought leads to thoughts that women love all of the attention that is (usually) unwillingly given and that itself turns into a very different conversation or 4.

          • desertmanfred

            You start out with “As a woman and as a mother”. Does that qualify you to speak for the rest of the world? Sorry, but you qualify to speak for just yourself. Being a woman and a mother is a biological trait; not a counselor leadership trait.

            The article begins with a store photo of a girl model in a police costume; not a toddler. If Lin wanted to make her point about her three year old toddler, she should have posted a photo of a three year old toddler in a police uniform.

            I’m not sure if you’re calling me names or not. Sometimes people just resort to using old worn out words that reflect their unfounded fears; like pervert and gropers. Some hide and live in fear of “ps” and “gs”; that must be quite stressful. Some
            even hide from themselves for fear someone else will see them and report them to the morality police.

            I acknowledge that not all women are prudes. I don’t have to be entirely correct. In fact I doubt that anyone knows what all women enjoy or see what’s inside of their heads.

            But, I have observed that the happiest women (and men) are free of inhibitions and are not obsessed with the fabricated morals passed down by distorted ancestors long gone.

            You say, a lot of women realistically do not enjoy being seen as super sexualized? Why did you just make up the word “super”? What else are you making up? Isn’t that one of the issues here? People making things up?

            Do women love all of the attention that is (usually) unwillingly given? Did you mean unwillingly “taken”? Do you know women that don’t like attention; that don’t like to be given genuine compliments? The human race would have long ago gone extinct if women didn’t love attention.

            Those are not just my thoughts; read some good material like the Kinsey Report, Games People Play, I’m Okay-Your Okay, The Vagina Monologues, Fear of Flying, recent polls taken on college campuses. Even watch some re-runs of George Carlin.

          • Shadow

            I start out as a woman and a mother so you see my view point form the get go. I am looking at this from a mother stand point as well as my personal as a woman point. My apologies for not making the separation clearer. I am not claiming to speak for anyone other than myself and for you to read beyond that is silly.

            The article begins with a girl in a cop costume and not her daughter because that is the original costume in question off of the Party City website, I checked personally. The open letter penned by Lin Kramer was based on the fact that Ms Kramer believes that Party City could do a better job of including more career costumes in the girl section of the toddlers costumes and makes mention her daughter is a toddler, as well as her personal belief that toddlers should not be viewed as sassy and sweet in a police uniform outfit. Et cetera. I am not entirely positive Ms. Kramer posted the picture in her letter or if it was added here on this site as a point of reference to what Ms. Kramer was talking about. However a lot of people do not like to just put their kids out there if the do know something is meant to be seen far and wide, which is the case in this article.

            As to name calling, I like to think that most days I am an adult and do not need to resort to that. As someone who has had very negative interactions with men and has had certain liberties taken where they were not given, I speak from experience about perverts and groping. I do not let that color me in any way other than my personal beliefs on the matter. Which in turn means my personal opinion.

            In your comments on what all women enjoy from your original comment you used the word girls and not actually women. I gave the benefit of the doubt and myself used women in reply to your comments assuming and mayhaps hoping you would not talk about children in that manner. Pardon my presumptuousness if I am incorrect. And you are right, children are growing up in some ways faster than others. Especially sexually and so on. That does not necessarily make it right. And no, you do not have to be entirely correct, no one ever can be. Thank you for acknowledging that not all of us are prudes.

            As to “fabricated morals” I agree that some of the happiest people do seem to be inhibition-less. But I believe that not all morals are bad. The morality of do not steal, kill or lie (not in a biblical sense) makes sense to me. Being honest makes sense. There are good morals as well as bad ones. I think it depends on how each of us interprets such things though.

            I didn’t make up the word super. It has been a part of language for a long time now. It was originally Latin and means above unless my checking skills are rusty. All joking aside, most of the women I know don’t mind being told they are pretty or beautiful once in a while. Women like to be appreciated just as much as men do. It goes to say (again) some women do not mind being sexualized and embrace it and run with it. Others do not always like having inappropriate gestures or comments made to them. This is fact and not something that is made up. Not every woman or girl is the same, we are not made with cookie cutter thoughts and feelings.

            I love the attention my husband gives me because I know how he means it. He freely gives it and I freely give it back to him. Relationship attention is a bit different from random people you don’t (or barely) know making advances and commentary. I am failing to see how attention can be “taken” from someone. Taken in that contexts sounds like the woman is forcefully making the man make his comments and so on. Some women are so used to being misused in an emotional way that there are women who honestly do not know how to take a compliment because even nicely said things can be used to hurt. There are genuinely women who freak out trying to figure out if the person complimenting them is serious or making fun of them. There are men like this as well. Again this goes to each person is different and handles things differently. There are bad or uncomfortable forms of attention Sir.

            Lots of people share a lot of peoples’thoughts. Believe me when I say your thoughts are mirrored more than we both probably know. The sad thing is that as a woman I have lived this. Talking about it on an internet forum is a lot different than a lot of the experiences I and close female friends have had in real life. When guys assume you want attention because you look nice, nice clothes, makeup and hair done and can’t “help” but make inappropriate comments that is part of the problem. If you think someone looks good tell them you look nice and leave it at that. A lot of men act as if women are only there to have sex with and be eye candy. There are men who do not think that way and that is appreciated. But there is also the school of thought that a woman cannot wear what she wants because of a man not being able to control his sexual urges if a woman shows a little leg or maybe some shoulder. Women are people, we have feelings, hopes and dreams, expectations. We deserve respect too. And while every woman and what she is ok with is different, what we feel on the inside is not always what we show on the outside.

            Thank you Mr Fred for this conversation. To be honest I was expecting something very supercilious in reply and it was nice to see I did not. Thank you for not being a “troll”. I sincerely hope you have a great day Sir. =]

          • desertmanfred

            I wasn’t going to respond to anymore comments here as I just got tired. But, after reading your long-winded response, I just had to get back to you. We have the same tendency to write long, justifying explanations.

            I do want to say that your husband is a very lucky guy. You deserve a lot of credit for your grace and pragmatism…and command of the English language.

            I might comment on your admission of experiences about perverts and groping. For some guys, acting like a Neanderthal is taught by their misogynistic male superiors or peers. For others they learn to be the worst opposite from the restrained, Victorian adults in their life. I happen to favor the progressive, open-minded teachings that produce well informed, civil-mannered, fluent, polished, uninhibited,
            guilt-free lovers. I say lovers because there are just three characteristics in humans; lovers, haters and neutral. The neutral ones aren’t really alive and don’t interact with other humans.

            Quote; “The way you delivered your way of thought leads to thoughts that women love all of the attention that is (usually) unwillingly given and that itself turns into a very different conversation or 4.”

            Huh? ‘women love…attention that is…unwillingly given…’ Can I say attention (from men) that is unwillingly taken (by women)? Or can I say in the most negative sense, usually men give/force the attention willingly to/on women? Yes, it’s
            nitpicky.

            As far as my opinion on fabricated morals handed down through the generations? You are correct that morally some things are unacceptable; killing for greed, stealing for profit, rape of women – sober or drunk (Bill Cosby anyone?) and
            anything that violates a person’s freedom and place on this earth. Most of the other ‘morals’ were invented by men to assure that those men would retain their property; personal, real or human. Yes, unlike what is in the Bible, an effective
            moral needs no interpretation.

            Thank you for recognizing that I was not arrogant (supercilious) or a troll…and I did have a great day.

            I won’t continue with further responses, but I do have to reveal that at the naïve age of 21, I was suddenly a single father of two toddlers. I had to learn everything from scratch. I made a mountain of mistakes by the time they graduated high school. But they’re alive and well, in their 50’s and ironically are
            both single fathers themselves.

          • Shadow

            I will keep this brief then but hope you end up reading it. Thank you very much for the compliments and I shall pass them on for you. I feel explaining things helps when on the internet since you cannot really figure out the tone of such things.

            Thank you for stepping up as a father and raising those kids, regardless of circumstance. To many do not take responsibility.

            Here is hoping to run into you elsewhere to have another interesting and enlightening conversation.

  • Michele

    Why should they have to contact her? If you don’t like the costume, don’t buy it. Problem solved. There seems to be a deeper issue here. You received your 15 minutes of fame… let it go. Seriously.

  • J3522

    So uh, why not just buy her the boys costume? I am guessing that the reasonable thing would not get you the attention that you crave.

  • J3522

    Businesses do what is profitable if more people wanted to dress their girls like real cops they would have those costumes for girls. But girls usually like to look like girls.

  • Bonita Bragg Ramirez

    NOTE TO LIN/lin advocates: if you don’t like it- DON’T SHOP AT PARTY CITY!!!!! You can always find more realistic, career oriented costumes such as Princess Jasmine, Tinkerbell, Pocahontas and Ariel the Mermaid at the Diney store- however they also all sport a skirt/dress of some sort- so that probably won’t work for you either, not very realistic- I suppose – and not to mention the fact I don’t recall the last time I saw a Mermaid commuting to the office in the carpool lanes…..
    As a parent- you are going to have MUCH bigger fish to fry than this Nonsense- and probably in the very near future. It’s comical that you’re giving grief to a PARTY STORE????!!!! IT’S HALLOWEEN PEOPLE!!!!!!
    Nobody owes you an apology. You have LOTS of other choices. Pull up your big girl panties and move on!!! NEXT!

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  • Jess Foster

    http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

    This is a real problem. Please read the above link. APA created an entire group just to look into this. Good on her for bringing it to attention.

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