Feminist writers get the last laugh as book removed by Topshop hits bestseller list

A top shop store on oxford street
Andrea Needham

Fashion store Topshop has come under fire after removing a pop-up display promoting a feminist book from its flagship Oxford Street store in London.

The book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) is a collection of writings by women on “what the F-word means to them”. It is aimed at young women, with royalties going to the UN’s Girl Up project, a “global movement of empowered young women leaders who defend gender equality”.

Publisher Penguin had arranged a pop-up stall in Topshop to promote the book. However, Topshop dismantled the display shortly after Penguin had set it up:

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Philip Green says no?

Penguin did not give a reason for the removal of the display, but according to the Guardian, Topshop removed it after it was seen by company chair Philip Green. Green is a tax-avoiding billionaire.

Actor Thandie Newton, a contributor to the book, had no doubt what the issue was:

Whilst the book’s ‘curator’, Scarlett Curtis, tweeted:

T-shirts good, books bad

Green may object to feminist writing in his stores, but he has no objection to making money from selling ‘Feminist’ t-shirts. And Twitter users were quick to point out his hypocrisy:

Unintended consequences

Topshop defended its actions, claiming that the decision to remove the book “no way reflects our stance on feminism” and that the decision was made “from a production and creative standpoint”:

Ultimately, however, Topshop has shot itself in the foot. Because the row has generated a lot of negative publicity for the store, and made many more people aware of the book’s existence.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink is now high up the Amazon bestseller list. It’s likely that this is in large part because it resonates with young women in the era of #metoo. But the Topshop publicity has almost certainly given it a big boost. This may not have been the result that Philip Green intended.

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