Fashionable Campaign in Response to Newtown

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The pendant

Toby Milstein, BC’14 and EIC of Her Campus Barnard, like many of us, was extremely upset by the shooting in Aurora this summer.  Instead of just posting a Facebook status about her horror and sitting non-comprehendingly, however, she took action and started a campaign, combining politics with her love for fashion.  She designed and produced a pendant with the slogan “Wear It, Don’t Bear It,” and began selling them for $25, with 100% of profits going to Bereaved Parents of the USA.  Toby’s explanation for the design is as follows:

Though I am a native New Yorker and was not personally impacted by the massacre [in Aurora], I felt the sorrow as if it were my own and wanted to do something about it. In the fashion and art world, guns have been a symbol of status and power. Immediately we can think of Andy Warhol’s pop art guns. More recently, we can see our 21st century’s fetishization of guns in jewelry, such as Jennifer Fisher’s gun pistol necklace, and with celebrities like Whitney Cummings and Rihanna sporting gun necklaces. Moreover, in 2008, Chanel famously produced very popular shoes with the heel as a gun that Madonna wore to a movie premiere. I struggled to grapple with the dichotomy of this controversial object being a fashion statement and an actual weapon for human destruction. With this I rationalized: it is one thing to don a gun as a fashion/art symbol and it is entirely different to use it for what it was intended for–as a killing machine…hence the “Wear it: Don’t Bear it” motto. The motto also functions to say that we should wear and promote the latter statement: Don’t Bear Guns.

Following the Connecticut shooting, this pendant has unfortunately become relevant again and she has been selling more of them.  The campaign is becoming quite popular and is an inspiring sign of what us–even as college students–can do–even during finals.  Yesterday, she opened a store on Etsy for the pendants, and the first customer was Ashley Bush, niece of George W.  She already has support of Billy Mann and Dr. Merry H. Tisch.  In just 48 hours, Toby made nearly $2,000 for the Bereaved Parents of the USA.  Though little can be done to fully heal the damage from this horrifying event, it’s good to know that someone in Morningside Heights is taking big steps to help as much as she can.

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  1. Anonymous  

    The name of the town is NEWTOWN ct not "newton"

  2. anon  

    I saw her post the link to it on FB, but didn't know that she designed them. This is so wonderful and is making me ashamed of my own inaction. Go Toby!

  3. ugh  

    so awfully written. "instead of sitting around, she did somethign!" wow.

  4. Conflicted  

    Seems like a needlessly politicized message for a very noble cause.

  5. Anonymous  

    Can we just for two seconds let someone state their mind without jumping to politicizing and "capitalizing" claims? The money's for the Bereaved Parents of the USA, not her own gain, let her do her thing.

    • You serious bro?

      The message on the pendant is political, loud and clear. It's taking the words of the 2nd amendment and flipping them. Regardless of where one stands on the gun control issue, it's impossible to deny that this product is making a political statement.
      And yes while it is commendable that the proceeds are going to what appears to be an admirable organization, why does there have to be the product in the first place? Why not simply encourage people to donate their $25 directly to the organization. I think it's disconcerting that within a few days of a serious tragedy, there's already products out commoditizing the tragedy. Does every cause need to be turned into material goods? I really don't think this is the appropriate response to a tragedy of this sort, especially given the time frame.
      There's a clear self-promotion aspect to this too - she's giving a statement to Bwog and attaching her name to the product. If it were truly altruistic, it would be anonymous. I do respect her for trying to make a difference, but her effort really falls short.

      I respect her

  6. Twerkin Trina

    Charity work- ✓

  7. LOL  

    Bwog troll - ✓

  8. Awesome job, Toby!  

    BUT NOOOOO i clicked to order one and now im in an endless vortex looking through etsy instead of studying

  9. Guy who likes Toby

    I think this awesome and you people trolling should be studying for exams and not disparaging someones genuine effort to make the world better.

  10. anon  

    is her name anywhere on the charm? - no

    is she not allowed to give a comment to bwog when they are interested in writing an article about the cause?

    you make the suggestion of having people give $25 to a charity sound so easy--how many people do you know who willingly donate $25 or $1 to anything without something in return? i.e. a bracelet, a t-shirt, a charm for that matter

    ... you're a crazy bwog troll, but really an imbecile with an idealistic concept of the way you think our society actually functions

    and then you write "i respect her" at the end of your rant....okay so now, you are bipolar.

    are you possibly a white, male, 20 year old? we may have some issues here.

  11. wait  

    "native new yorker".... like Milstein Milstein?

  12. Frank(ly)

    I think this is a tremendous initiative and I applaud her for it. Clearly this was not solely motivated by the events from last Friday and is something she genuinely cares about. How people can be critical over something as selfless as this is beyond me. Great work!

  13. Anonymous  

    All of you: shut the fuck up.

  14. Skewer Culture  

    Tina, I'd just like to thank you for allowing me to derive such joy from voting down all of your posts. You are truly an accomplished bwog troll.

    • Skewer Culture  

      Trina* and @Twerkin Trina

      • Twerkin Trina

        I'm glad that the only joy you get out of life is voting down my comments. I'm not yet a bwog troll. I don't deserve the honor just yet, but thanks to people like you I'm gonna get there soon :D

        PS. Thank you to all of Toby's sorority sisters (her moronic posse) for acting as her defense, It's really entertaining to see all of you bow down to her for her "humanitarian work."

  15. 2nd amendment

    I find it admirable that she is helping the families of Newtown; however, I find her politicizing of the event appalling. Nobody is taking my guns. Nobody is going to keep me from concealing and carrying. It is my right. If you try to touch my guns, we are going to have a problem. Go for it; I dare you.

  16. anon

    calm the fuck down, psycho.

  17. Anonymous  

    Why are you such a negative person? I don't know her at all, but at least she's doing something. Let the girl help people in need. Why do you have to attack her?

  18. but  

    can't she just donate all the money she would make from these herself? the girl is LOADED for christ's sake

  19. anon

    Wow this is so incredible, I just bought two! Beyond the design and the money raised, what makes this necklace so inspiring is that it has the potential to create real cultural change. When we wear these types of symbols for shock value, we often don't recognize the type of behavior we are tacitly condoning. Great job Toby for recognizing this trend and turning it into an agent for positive change! Whether or not someone supports gun control, this necklace is more than just a question of the 2nd Amendment. In reality, it is a challenge to the belief that we are helpless in responding to these types of tragedies. Don't listen to the haters, just think about all the people you have helped from this campaign.

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