Virgin Mobile’s launch of the campaign “Strip2Clothe” is an attempt to raise awareness to the issue of homeless youth in America and provide them with clothing through donations. While philanthropic events are generally devoted to helping people, “Strip2Clothe” has come under heavy fire from individuals across the country who are incensed a Virgin Mobile’s methods for awareness and donation raising: namely, having young people submit videos of themselves doing a striptease—for a cause.
Their slogan reads, “You take off yours, we donate ours” and while their intentions are to assist youth on the street, asking kids to strip in order to provide clothing to the homeless lacks prudence—to say the last—on the part of Virgin Mobile. In defense of their controversial campaign, spokeswoman Jayne Wallace wrote a letter to the NN4Y (National Network for Youth), which states, “[We] believe that promotion [of the site] will result in thousands of new clothes being provided for those in need.”
While the site has raised more than 56,000 donations and no full nudity is allowed, it ultimately exploits youth who are “donating” to the cause in order to assist homeless children who may themselves face exploitation on the streets. Assisting vulnerable youth should never jeopardize the integrity of others, nor should it trivialize sexuality; while the cause is an edgy attempt to raise awareness and the company should be commended for its decision to combat this issue, they should rethink their campaign and take the stripping out of the charity. In other words, the cause is commendable, while the methods need to be readjusted.
Virgin Mobile and NN4Y are currently discussing whether to move forward with the “Strip2Clothe” campaign.