Put the “V” in Victory — Get In The Voting Spirit With The Orla Kiely Lady Parts Justice Willow Bag
Just in time for today’s election — during which all of the 435 seats within the House of Representatives will be contested, along with a hefty portion of US Senate seats (33 out of 100), and a large number of state governorships and state legislature posts — Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely joined forces with woman’s right organization Lady Parts Justice to raise awareness about the need for women to mobilize and hit the voting booth. Through a campaign that uses irony-laden, piquant, irreverent humor to underscore the outrageous nature of the injustices faced by women, Lady Parts Justice makes the conversation accessible to all, relying on clever web videos and tweets to convey powerful messages — all the while doing so in a way that’s not dogmatic or preach-y. The organization’s main concern right now: that women take the time to assert themselves during these mid-term elections, thereby hopefully ensuring that their reproductive rights are not further challenged, that employers compensate them properly, and that voter identification laws don’t leave female voters disenfranchised and unable to place their ballots.
Trailblazers like women’s suffrage activists Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw, feminist powerhouse Betty Friedan, and Planned Parenthood co-founder Margaret Sanger would weep over how politicians and state judges have attempted to undermine our rights, the very freedoms that are allegedly constitutionally protected. States like Texas, for instance, have passed mind-boggling voter ID laws that make it virtually impossible for women to vote if the information on their driver’s licenses or state IDs differs from that found within their voter registration documentation. This legal maneuver, then, would make it difficult for a woman who changed her last name after marriage (or, for that matter, after divorce) to cast her ballot. And perhaps more than anything, our reproductive rights are under attack as conservatives try to essentially overturn Roe vs. Wade by making women seeking to terminate their pregnancies face an increasing number of obstacles: from state-mandated ultrasounds to a diminishing number of abortion clinics (the result of TRAP laws that dictate that abortions need to be performed in facilities with services comparable to those found in hospitals). Similarly, many companies are trying to eliminate birth control from being covered by their health insurance plans — simply to lower their overall premiums. And the male-female income disparity persists in the United States despite all the laws that expressly forbid such rampant discrimination in the workplace.
We can’t stand by idly as politicians attempt to take away the rights we spent centuries securing — and that’s the message Lady Parts Justice ultimately hopes to convey.
To show her support for the cause, Orla Kiely joined forces with LPJ to design the Orla Kiely Lady Parts Justice Willow Bag ($95 at OrlaKiely.com), which features one of the designer’s kitschy, retro-flavored prints. The lightweight tote, which was revealed on Sunday, features a screen-printed exterior with a groovy pattern consisting of overlapping red and navy blue flowers. At the center of the front panel, meanwhile, a white circle beckons attention and, within this badge-like sphere, there’s a hand making a “V” symbol with its index and middle fingers. This “V” is emblematic of Lady Parts Justice’s “V to Shining V” celebration, which was held for the first time this past September and which involved women gathering with friends to discuss the need for political action in order to protect female reproductive, suffrage, and employment rights.
The limited-edition bag measures 14″ in height, 12.8″ in width, and 6.4″ in depth and it features two webbing tape handles. Not only does the visual imagery on the bag’s exterior convey a powerful message, but the purchase of this tote helps to keep LPJ’s momentum going strong — after all, $50 of the proceeds from the sale of each bag go directly to the organization.
So, whether before or after you visit your voting center today, support LPJ’s cause by purchasing this perky, playful, yet politically minded tote. And remember: mid-term elections are just the beginning!