Godiva Chocolate: for ladies only?

Having spent the better part of October watching my favorite football team wear pink hats, gloves, shoes, and other decor and seeing the football engraved with a pink ribbon, I can rightfully say women’s health is all that matters. I watched my favorite team play in September and noticed not a single blue ribbon or any blue hats or shoes. Of course, going into any store this month had my eyes ablaze in pink products too.

I went to my bank, and saw the tellers adorned in pink. Going to the doctor’s office, I noticed tons of breast cancer awareness posters and handouts for those that wished to join one of many walks to raise awareness and funding. My son’s elementary school was selling breast cancer month t-shirts and also asking for volunteers to help with funding and awareness by taking part in those same walks. None of the stores, or my bank, or my doctor’s office, or my son’s school ever had any mention of prostate cancer at all. Even a local restaurant had employees don pink hats and had menu items in pink motif to raise funds for breast cancer, but of course the color blue in September was nowhere to be found.

I started to write and contact several companies that solely sponsored these breast cancer campaigns and ignored men’s health. I had a goal of contacting each of these campaign sponsors but quickly gave up under the barrage of the sheer quantity of them. The ones I did contact either ignored my letter or replied that they only sponsored breast cancer awareness either due to it having a special meaning to an employee or owner or due to there being more prominent breast cancer organizations to team up with. It seems to be too much trouble to seek out those organizations that associate with prostate cancer awareness.

That brings me to one of the companies I wrote to; Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. I had noticed in an email sent to me (I signed up for their member list some time ago) that a link brought me to an offer for their chocolates. Their logo included a pink ribbon where the “I” is in Godiva.  There was some mention of breast cancer awareness in the email and on the site. So I wrote the following to the company:

Hello. I noticed that you are turning pink and promoting and contributing
to breast cancer in honor of breast cancer awareness month. That is great
news.

However, what is not so great news is that prostate cancer awareness month
was last month and Godiva chose to do absolutely nothing to acknowledge
this. No blue ribbon in their logo. No donation to prostate cancer
research. No promotion whatsoever.

1 in 6 men will get the disease. 32,000 will die from it every year (about
one man every 18 seconds). I personally know of a few men that have
succumbed to the disease in their 50s and one who battles it today, at 35.

What reason does Godiva give as to choose only women’s health as important
enough to promote and contribute to? Are men worthless to the company?
Does Godiva find the well-being of men as unimportant? Is men’s health
something to ignore?

I wish to know how to go about removing my name and account number from
Godiva’s data base. If Godiva thinks that little of me due to me being a
man, then I have no use for being a customer of yours. I always enjoyed
your chocolates, but suddenly the chocolate leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Thank you.

Perhaps a bit forward and a little angry. However, after watching another football game with everything turned pink, I was a bit perturbed. As you will soon see, I was unknowingly dead on with my comments. Again, to reiterate, I do not have any reservations about supporting breast cancer awareness, just lament at the total void of any prostate cancer awareness.

I did get a reply from Godiva and at first glance it seemed acceptable. However, feeling I missed something, I reread it. And much to my dismay, it seems that Godiva has decided that only the concerns of women matter to the company. I’m thinking, “This is a chocolate company. They sell chocolate. Isn’t that gender neutral?”  However, Nancy Gozzo, Customer Care Supervisor, informed me that they have a Lady Godiva program that promotes causes such as breast cancer one, among others. The Lady Godiva program also recognizes women that give back to the community. This program is 100% about what women do and think.  She mentioned that my wishes to have Godiva sponsor a cause dedicated to prostate cancer awareness would be considered, but that it is only what women decide to give importance to that matters.

Her reply outright inferred that because I am a male, my ideas would be “considered”. Her reply also stated that Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. only gives awareness to causes that women find important.  Here is her actual reply: (Emphasis mine)

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on our recent program. With the launch of our new Lady GODIVA Program – a cause marketing initiative – one of our goals is to be able to support a broad range of causes. After a year of the program, we have been able to support a multitude of causes through our local efforts including feeding children and adults who would otherwise go hungry; research for Pulmonary Hypertension; domestic violence awareness; and more. Here is a link to the Lady GODIVA Program website, where you can get more information:

http://ladygodivaprogram.com/honorees/previous

The Lady GODIVA Program is a cause initiative that honors women who give back to their communities and gives awareness to causes that are important to women — which would include prostate cancer as we know so many have had families and friends affected by this disease. As we move forward and build on the Lady GODIVA Program, we will continue to look at a variety of causes to support and will take your suggestion of Prostate Cancer Awareness into consideration.

This is the first time GODIVA has created a large program of support around Breast Cancer Awareness; and this is just one of the many causes that are important to GODIVA that we hope to continue to support. Thank you for your feedback.

Best,
Nancy Gozzo
Customer Care Supervisor

Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.

 

Perhaps I’m a bit sensitive about the issue, but it appears to me that as a male, my thoughts are just to be considered, since the program only gives awareness to causes that women find important.  So causes that men find important have little or no clout for Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.?  If we all write in, since we are men, our thoughts can be considered, but the ultimate decision of what constitutes importance must be women-borne. Women must be the ones to decide what’s important to Godiva. Men cannot determine what causes are important to men, only women can tell men whether the causes men deem important are actually important or not.  Men are also customers, aren’t they?  But somehow male customers’ thoughts are given lower importance than women customers.

I wrote back with this:

Dear Ms. Gozzo,

Thank you for your reply.  I think it is awesome that Godiva is supporting those causes you mentioned. Those are great causes.

I wasn’t aware that Godiva Chocolates was such a predominantly female-oriented company. While I fully support the causes mentioned, I can’t help but wonder why a Chocolate company would solely care about causes only that women deem important. I guess my input takes a back seat to what women want.  Perhaps women don’t view prostate cancer awareness month as too important since it passed without a mention and breast cancer awareness month took full bloom. Judging by the complete void of prostate cancer awareness programs we saw countrywide in Sept. I don’t doubt my suggestion for prostate cancer awareness will be ignored next September just as the disease was ignored this September.

I am rather disheartened that my letter asking about supporting prostate cancer is not worth the screen space it’s written on. Actually if 20 of my fellow citizens brandishing the same genitalia as myself wrote in asking Godiva Chocolates about promoting a prostate cancer cause it seems it would be for naught as well since Godiva only “gives awareness to causes that are important to women”. It appears men’s thoughts about what causes are important don’t matter in the least. If Godiva Chocolate Co. were solely geared towards a woman’s line or product, I could somewhat understand. However, I may be wrong, but I’m sure much of the product that Godiva sells are purchased by men for themselves as well as gifts for the women that matter in their lives.

I also am a bit disillusioned as to why Godiva Chocolates only recognizes women who give back to their communities. I guess men who give back to their communities are unimportant and should not receive recognition by the company. Had I been aware that only women and the causes they find important count for anything in Godiva Chocolate’s company, I would have not bothered to become a member.

In closing, you state “This is the first time GODIVA has created a large program of support around Breast Cancer Awareness; and this is just one of the many causes that are important to GODIVA that we hope to continue to support.”  What is glaringly apparent is that you could easily substitute the words “GODIVA” with “WOMEN” and your sentence would ring true, while using “MEN” would not work. My ideas of what causes are important can at best just be a “consideration” while it is women that actually decide what’s important.

Please remove my name and number from the member database.  Thank you.

She replied by removing me, nothing else said.  What if Hershey’s had a program just to recognize men and the good they do in communities? What if the awareness campaigns and charitable programs Hershey’s chose to engage in were based only on what men found important, while women’s wishes were relegated to just “consideration”?

There would be an uproar by women asking why women weren’t included in the decision making.  But I guess it’s only sexist if men do it. After all, it was the congresswomen that walked out of the congressional meeting about contraception because only men were there to discuss what was important. Most people agreed with them.

So why is not that same standard used by this company? Why does Godiva have a panel of women deciding whether a man’s disease is a cause worthy of promotion (for a supposed gender-neutral company)? Why does Godiva disallow men’s desires on this issue? It seems we already know how much  importance women attach to prostate cancer awareness: Just look at all the women’s groups that held an awareness campaign for it and how many women complain about the chump change the government gives towards the cause compared to breast cancer. Somehow I don’t see Godiva with a blue ribbon next September.

Well, my favorite chocolate is dark or bittersweet chocolate. However, Godiva seems to only sell bitter chocolate to me now. Sorry ladies, no more Godiva holiday gifts from me.

 

For those wishing to contact Godiva-

1-800-946-3482 and select prompt 3.

Email: letters@godiva.com (Perhaps reference Ms. Gozzo)

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