I’ve been pregnant for the better part of the last decade; fifty-four months to be precise. I recently started investing in refreshing my non-maternity or postpartum wardrobe. Everything I have from that stage of life is from when I was twenty-seven; and I’m definitely no longer able to pull off the same look from when I was in my twenties and childless. Now I’m a mom of six and inching uncomfortably close to forty.
In my research, I found the aesthetic I was shooting for, from a company called Son de Flor. Every time another conservative homeschool mom appeared in a dress I loved, it was one of theirs.
I was ready to pull the trigger on their summer sale… until this partnership with David Ross Lawn, a “gender-fluid” cross-dressing bearded influencer on Instagram and TikTok:
When Bud Light pissed off its core customer base, you could only assume they did so in order to improve their ESG ranking, a metric that corporations are measured by in order to improve their score with “woke” financial service companies. Son de Flor, a small dress company, has no ESG score and no need to appease progressive gender activists in order to do business. No, this was a totally self-inflicted wound.
I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall of the meeting the marketing team had when they made this decision. I’m no marketing expert but I thought the objective of the marketing department in any company is to sell products. In order to do that, the executives have to understand who their core customer base is and why those people buy their products.
For Son de Flor, the target is women interested in timeless fashion and modesty. Overwhelmingly, that is going to translate to religious (read: conservative) women. While a partnership with an individual with over 150,000 Instagram followers might seem appealing on its face, Son de Flor doesn’t seem to understand that an individual is only an influencer for a brand if they actually influence potential customers in a positive way. Ross may have “woke” social media fans who applaud his cross dressing, but how many of them are Son de Flor’s potential customers, interested in replicating his style?
Perhaps even crazier than the collaboration is the fact that when women complained in the comments, Lawn decided to antagonize them. One woman commented, “Way to oppress women yet again with men in women’s spaces. Bye.” To which Lawn replied, “look! A wild TERF appeared!” Another women said, “Respectfully, this is not a company that I will continue to support. Despite how people feel, this is not good for anyone.” Lawn commented with a thumbs up emoji and quipped “see ya!” The brand account dug its heels a few days later, posting an image of Lawn in their dress with the words, “In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind. Yours, Son de Flor”
Of course, you can’t choose to be anything. On Instagram, Haleigh DeRocher (who goes by @sweetsequels) explained the harm in what gender-fluid activists like Lawn promote, and why she objected when Son de Flor partnered with him: “A man wants to wear dresses? Okay, whatever. You do you. But when our culture starts paying men to model women’s clothing, starts elevating and celebrating men who take women’s places, and then castigates any women who is upset by this — automatically branding us as transphobes — this is where I have a problem. Proponents of this garbage can deny it, but this is the erasure of women. Every day we get one step closer to normalizing the idea that there isn’t really a difference between men and women. And you know which group is ultimately harmed by this? Well, it’s not men. We fought for years and years to have equal rights and representation, and now all of that is being demolished in the name of tolerance and gender fluidity.”
It’s almost as if they want to drive customers away in order to make them feel good about themselves; but a newsflash: “woke” activists aren’t interested in cosplaying matronly homeschool moms (as a matronly homeschool mom, I’m allowed to say this). There won’t a rush of new gender-fluid customers beating down the digital doors of Son de Flor, eager to don a long-sleeved, button-up linen dress with pockets. Now that I’ve looked at Son de Flor’s profile a few times in order to write this piece, I’m on the receiving end of a great deal of aggressive Instagram ads from similar companies featuring only women in their dress advertisements, and I’ll shop my Little House on the Prairie look elsewhere. Judging by the comments on Instagram and Son de Flor’s dropping Instagram follower count, I suspect I’m not alone.