Is Drew Barrymore’s Walmart Beauty Line Bad For Women?

Our undying love for Drew Barrymore is well-documented. That’s why we were excited to learn that the actress is bringing her breezy-cool (and affordable!) beauty line to a store near you. Specifically, Walmart.

Hold up, says Kveller contributor Elissa Strauss, what about the corporate giant’s long history of being inhospitable to women? Can Barrymore really collaborate with Walmart with a clear conscience?

Strauss explains in The Week:

Walmart was the target of the largest ever sex discrimination lawsuit in American history, when 1.6 million women claimed they were held back because of gender in Walmart v. Dukes. At the time, women’s pay lagged far behind their male colleagues in every major job and in every region. And while women made up more than 80 percent of hourly supervisors, they held only one third of management jobs.

Christine Kwapnowski, one of six women named as plaintiffs, told the BBC that male colleagues were routinely given promotions instead of her. “I asked what I needed to do to get promoted and my manager said I should ‘doll up and blow the cobwebs off my makeup,” she said. Makeup. How fitting.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Walmart in the case, and this crap is apparently still going on. As recently as this year (Elissa points out), the company was sued by three women’s rights groups claiming the company unfairly discriminates against pregnant women.

Discrimination against women in the workplace is real, particularly in low-wage jobs. Earlier this summer, the Hobby Lobby debate got fired up here on Kveller, with many reader’s objecting the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the craft store’s right to not offer sufficient birth control coverage to female employees.

What do you think? Should celebrities be more discerning about which companies they partner with? By endorsing the Walmart brand, is Drew somehow giving power to patriarchy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Rachel SilbersteinRachel Silberstein is a journalist and editor. She has written about politics, crime, health, immigration, religion and parenting. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Tablet Magazine, New York Daily News, Jewcy, Feet In Two Worlds, XOJane, and now, Kveller. She received a BA from Brooklyn College, where she served as editor in chief of the campus weekly, The Kingsman, and won two coveted journalism prizes for her investigative reporting. She lives in Brooklyn with her son and guinea pig.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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