Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Do you shop at Spencer's?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38873 points ) December 6th, 2012

Check this out. I look at that and get angry, obviously. We’re kind of back to overt misogyny in this society, especially in the political arena but seeing these sorts of things, together with so many other assaults on women or queer people or transfolk, I get tired. I am tired of explaining what’s wrong with all of the fucked up things. Now, what should be done about this situation at Spencer’s? Are we to pretend this is all about supply and demand and ‘not shop there’ anymore? Are we to say ‘ignore it’ like we do with street harassment? Are we to argue whether this is hate speech, because isn’t it? Should I make a petition to remove this shit from the store and would that only spur on other assholes to buy it more? Shouldn’t all of us, regardless of gender, have a problem with this? And, if so, why are there few avenues for addressing it?

P.S. – please, for the love of all that is holy, do not tell me to ‘lighten up’ – that’s classic gaslighting and is one of the things I’m also tired of.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

122 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated
Response moderated
bookish1's avatar

Aw, straight guys who need to validate their masculinity through misogyny would just be pitiable if they weren’t so powerful and numerous…

There’s nothing inherently masculine about fucking women (or, ya know, treating them abominably), but I digress.

Talk about heterosexual awareness month. Get that shit out of my face. Ugh.

The problem is not the shirts themselves. They are just a symptom. But I’m sure I’m just preaching to the choir here.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : I don’t know @zensky well enough to know whether she/he is joking or not. But maybe you can ask the mods to move this question over to General. Otherwise you’re probably going to get a lot of similar responses.

CWOTUS's avatar

Despite your dudgeon, this is not “Spencer Gifts being misogynistic”. It is just supply and demand. There has always been a demand for tacky, lowbrow “humor” and kitsch, and Spencer Gifts has always been there (for several decades that I know of, anyway) to satisfy that demand.

They also make a fair amount of tacky, lowbrow “humor” bullshit for women, directed against men.

I am shocked – shocked – to learn that you don’t already know this.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bookish1 That’s fine. It’s so formulaic and predictable that it’s good for people to see. Let ‘em rage.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CWOTUS Please find me similarly violent shirts women have made in a store against men. Go. Nothing is similar in these kinds of situations. That’s like when men say they’re objectified too. Yea, it’s called inequality. You can have 1 man objectified in an ocean full of objectified women, that’s not ‘similar experiences.’

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh, I have to run to McDeath for food. Will be back. Let’s see how much vitriol I’ll get in my direction for mentioning something that’s true: that those shirts shouldn’t be. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the dumb comments come from men with a depth of a flat sheet of paper.

CWOTUS's avatar

But why would you want to find a similar cache of nonsensical “gifts” for women? Maybe there isn’t the same demand for quite the same type of garbage. Wouldn’t that be good to know, that women shoppers at Spencer Gifts don’t have taste that’s quite as bad as some of the male customers?

Get over it, please. There is no lack of better targets than this for your ire and energy.

Like making me a sandwich, for example.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CWOTUS I wouldn’t want those gifts for anyone. As for ‘get over it’, please reread my details towards the end. I’m so bored when it all sounds like you’re reading a very tired script. Doesn’t anyone making sandwich comments see that that’s been done. Or do you think that kind of thing makes any person angry? I told @zensky to shove it up his ass not because I think that comment is upsetting but because he knows better and knows me and is just being a dick. For fun. Which is why Spencer’s is appealing to him now. I hope he wears all of those shirts all together around his daughter.

zensky's avatar

Here is an article agreeing with Simone’s hysteria opinion.

Now, is this hate speech – or bad taste? How about some Holocaust joke T-shirts?

For the record: I find the shirts so absolutely ridiculously horrible to be funny. I couldn’t fathom even talking to someone wearing one.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@zensky Aww, I was wondering when you’d mention my hysteria? Or maybe my uterus? or Hormones? Or man-hating? Bo-ring.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re also misconstruing what gaslighting is all about. In my understanding, gaslighting is a term to describe the deliberate confusion of a victim to disbelieve the evidence of her (or his) own senses, to declare that what has been seen does not, in fact, exist.

Obviously what you have seen exists. You’ve just chosen to be completely and somewhat ridiculously outraged about it. But feel free to do that; you have every right. It wouldn’t even be inappropriate to picket Spencer’s or write nasty letters to the management… only ineffective, I would imagine.

zensky's avatar

Word.

dxs's avatar

I don’t shop there. It looks like a tacky store and doesn’t really fit my personality. But I mean, to quote one of the commenters (Liz Moore Barrs): “Makes it that much easier to weed out the worthless.”
@Simone_De_Beauvoir Regarding what you said about a lack of shirts opposite to these, If you scroll down to a box that says “contributions”, a person uploaded some female-equivalent shitrs.
All of the stuff at Spencer’s is useless anyway…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CWOTUS I agree it would be ineffective.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

You’re going to hate this answer, but that is seriously just Spencer’s being Spencer’s. That store is all about being quirky, tacky, and cheap. Obviously it sells, otherwise they’d be out of business.

I once purchased some dick pencil erasers and dick lollipops there as a joke, for a bachelorette party. The whole store is overflowing with clothing and items that objectify women and men; that’s sort of their hallmark.

I think you waste too much energy on getting pissed off about things that just aren’t worth it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I don’t hate any of these answers. I don’t hate yours either. Well, it is worth it because it’s not actually ‘just a joke’ and, believe you me, there are a million other battles we all should be fighting and I do fight some of them. Ones I’m more informed about. Also, this isn’t supposed to be a fight. I’d like to think people look at that sort of shit and get pissed off. But I forgot that Fluther has many sorts of people and it’s not a surprise. I think I forgot how sexist it’s around here too but I’ve been gone some. I keep coming up for the more redeeming features and real people.

jonsblond's avatar

I thought only teenagers shopped at Spencers. Seriously. I haven’t been to one since I was a teen. Like @WillWorkForChocolate said, it’s a joke store, not to be taken seriously.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond Yes, but those shirts are portraying relevant matters for women and people…like insults, harassment, violence, rape, sexism, etc. So, say an asshole buys that shirt and we should taking nothing he says seriously but what about putting those words, images, out there? How do I even explain it to my children, let’s say? Or to yours? Oh, haha, that’s just a joke, don’t worry about why he’s putting her over the toilet and calling her a whore. It’s FUNNY.

jonsblond's avatar

Have you ever seen anyone wear a shirt like that? I haven’t. I guess I’m lucky. I have a shirt that was given to me that reads Fucking Classy. It was a joke present and I do think it is funny, but I have never worn it. It sits in my closet.

zensky's avatar

The same way you explain a lot of American culture like Jersey Shore or Honey Boo boo – trailer trash.

I agree with the blondie. I have t shirt that was given to me as a joke: Fuck Google – ask me. I would never wear it as I find the word Fuck to be too offensive – but I liked the idea and thought behind it. Of course I find the t shirts here offensive and misogynistic (I don’t know about rape – these could be the girlfriends… however, I don’t think we should ban them altogether.

Now, if you want to talk about prostitution, child slavery or even stripping – these are issues I feel strongly about. Free speech is important.

Blackberry's avatar

That crap isn’t even original or witty. But Spencer’s has always been the place where the teens go, to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond I haven’t. So then if we don’t see it around, doesn’t that mean there is no demand? That contradicts @CWOTUS above.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Blackberry I’m sorry but no teen of mine would wear that. Not my sons.

zensky's avatar

I can’t wait til yours are teens. We’ll see. Mine are, btw.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I looked up one’s women are to wear – and they took make other women into bitches, sluts and whores. Not great.

zensky's avatar

By the way – how will/ your genderless child be offended? You’d have to pick a gender first, no?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@zensky Actually, no you don’t. You should be affected as a human.

zensky's avatar

As a human I respect free speech. As a person with taste – I would disrespect anyone wearing that crap.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@zensky Ok. Can you explain why what I’m saying is hysteria and what you’re saying is called taste? Also define ‘disrespect them’? I’m trying to get at responses here.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

oh bob is here…i bet he’s going to be mad everyone used his sandwich line…or, you know, he’ll probably use it too.

bob_'s avatar

No, I don’t.

I find those shirts vulgar and idiotic, and If I had a son, I would not allow him to wear them.

Having said that, I think having shit like that manufactured and sold is a small price to pay for free speech.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bob_ I’m sorry they took your sandwich line. Please explain to me why everything that’s basically damaging is always explained in terms of ‘it’s either this or north korea’ – is that binary useful?

zensky's avatar

…a small price to pay for free speech….

And I’m outta here.

bob_'s avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir c’est la vie. Can I get you a beer?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bob_ Get me like fifty. Tequilas.

bob_'s avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I actually do have a bottle of Don Julio Añejo in the freezer.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Really? Of all the things Fluther is, sexist doesn’t usually make the list. Sexist comments I see here are generally tongue in cheek. Regardless, I’d rather have @bob_ tell me to serve him a sandwich while crawling on my hands and knees like a good little wench, than to get all pissy over some silly t-shirts.

Most of those shirts probably won’t even be worn in public; they’re just given as gag gifts. A girlfriend of mine bought me a t-shirt with a beer-looking logo that says “Killer Bitch.” I’ve never worn it. She didn’t intend for me to wear it. It was just a joke gift, and it sits in my closet.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate To each their own, I say. I don’t think I have to choose between listening to Bob and being mad about the shirts. Both can take place, it’s fine.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bob_ reeaaaaly? are you still in a relationship?

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think they’re hilarious. Have you been inside Spencer’s? Hardly anything in there should be taken seriously. It’s basically an adult gag shop. If you’re easily offended (which you obviously are), you probably wouldn’t shop there anyways. Gaslighting or not, perhaps you SHOULD lighten up. No one is making you shop there, wear the t-shirts, or associate with anyone that might purchase one.

It’s not hate speech, it’s free speech. And more than that, it’s shock humor. You don’t have to find it funny, but there’s nothing you can really do to force them to stop making such things.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I’m actually not easily offended and have a perfectly healthy sense of humor around pretty much everything, especially sexuality and all that. I wasn’t asking you for suggestions of what I should do, obviously I don’t shop there anyway. I was asking if we should have a societal response. You know, like with other people. Like where we think about impacts on other people, where we consider meaning behind jokes, where we should notice obviously gendered messages, etc. For some reason, shock humor always looks a lot like picking on oppressed groups and cloaking that sort of shit as ‘not serious.’ Kind of like…the worst thing you can call a white person is a ‘cracker’ which has not the same significance as ‘nigger’ and isn’t used as ‘humor’ as much.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir In all seriousness, if you hate Fluther as much as you seem to, and you feel that you are so enlightened and superior to the rest of us, pray tell why do you come back? All you do is spew anti-everything rants and put other jellies down. Are you that bored that there’s nothing better for you to do?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I have been transcribing a lot of interviews and I needed something to do so yes part of is boredom. But I don’t hate all of fluther. No worries, I’ll probably go away soon again. As for the rest of it, I disagree. What you think is anti-everything is only when you think I’m anti something you’re pro.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well, you’re entitled to tell yourself whatever gets you through the day, I guess. For the record, I’m not pro-sexism. I just think you’re blowing this way out of proportion. As usual.

CWOTUS's avatar

The societal response that you’re trying to promote is: Don’t shop there. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose.

The societal “problem” appears to be: Everyone has the right to say the outrageous and sometimes offensive things they like, and which occasionally offend you, me and other thinking people. Apparently buyers (and customers) at Spencer’s have availed themselves of this right.

Your own response can be: Better speech. Keep at it.

For the record, I have a pretty good sense of humor (and proportion) as well. I also think that most of these shirts are demeaning to both the wearer and the viewer, and I expect that most people who receive them as gifts, which includes no one that I know, would be embarrassed and/or ashamed to wear them in public. Which seems to indicate to me that a balance has been struck between my proposed “societal response” and good taste, which is… “keep the damn thing in the closet.

wundayatta's avatar

Are jokes bad taste? Discrimination? Hate speech?

There is such a thing as hate speech, even in America, land of free speech. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but there are people in jail because of it.

People say a lot of nasty stuff to all kinds of people and say it’s ok because they are joking. They are just trying to be funny. They are being shockingly funny. If someone is sensitive about the issue being joked about, that person is going to be hurt. Should the comedian be sensitive to people’s feelings?

I guess I am in favor of letting the speech go free, because that allows us to have discussions like this. If we can explain how this kind of misogynistic speech hurts women by encouraging impressionable young men to treat women as sluts and whores or something, then it becomes a teachable moment.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir You are probably always looking for teachable moments, since your field of study is on this topic, or such is my impression. Is this question actually the teachable moment, itself? Or are you venting because you haven’t slept in days and just need an excuse for ire?

Personally, I hate the attitude espoused by those t-shirts. I don’t find the jokes to be funny. I don’t find hatred to be funny. But other people do. I have really tried, but for some reason I’m still not ruler of the world and I can’t get rid of this shit. I think you’re doing an excellent job, just raising the issues.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta Hey! I slept yesterday, lol. If we can encourage that, sure. It seems you can’t even get started. Or should I fake it and be like ‘uhh, guys, like…do you think this is offensive? um, like, cause I’m not sure…teehee’

PhiNotPi's avatar

[mod says] This thread seems to be getting a little crazy, so flame off folks.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Are you also offended by this?

http://www.spencersonline.com/images/spencers/products/processed/02107100.zoom.a.jpg

Shall we start a petition against the man-hating merchandise at Spencer’s as well?

Oh and, yes, you DID ask us what you should do:

“Should I make a petition to remove this shit from the store and would that only spur on other assholes to buy it more?”

If you have some issue with free speech, perhaps you should move somewhere that doesn’t have it. I’m sure women are treated really well in those places.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Let me clarify, this doesn’t offend me in terms of my sensibilities and morals, that’s ridiculous and not my thing. What is offensive is how it’s considered funny and not problematic. I think man-hating is fucked up shit. As for telling me to move someplace else, real nice. I’m so glad you have knowledge about places where women aren’t treated right. I don’t appreciate being told to leave the country. Please look up how silly it is to make this about free speech v. N. Korean sort of places.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It was just a suggestion. :)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It sounds like you need to loosen your underwear, take a step back and a few deep breaths. This entire rant does nothing to solve a problem; it’s just a “Doesn’t this piss you off? No? Well, fuck you!” rant.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Now we’re talking about my ‘panties in a bunch’ – how many ways can you say this, really? I haven’t said Fuck You to anyone that didn’t tell me to take the stick out of my ass or to bring them a sandwich.

Bellatrix's avatar

We don’t have Spencers in Australia but we have similar stores. I don’t think I have ever seen shirts like some of those I have to say. Getting angry, writing petitions and the like isn’t going to make an iota of difference though. You aren’t going to get these stores closed. The t-shirts aren’t going to be taken off the shelves. It isn’t going to happen. Plus if someone actually wears one of those shirts – it’s a very good message about the sort of ridiculous things they believe and a warning to stay out of their way.

I think a more useful discussion would be how to change attitudes so such shirts don’t exist because people don’t buy them. Or how to deal with your child (or one of your child’s friends) if they come home wearing one? Or a student who shows up in one of these shirts? You teach, you therefore have the opportunity to get your students to think about the broader implications of these messages. A better option I would say would be to frame a lesson around how to change minds about this being okay. Not just your students’ minds but the attitudes of those they come in contact with.

Spencers is a business. If nobody buys them – they won’t sell them. That’s where the change has to be. Changing people’s view on it being okay to buy such things. Perhaps getting people to write ‘calmly!!’ to Spencers about the messages these shirts impart – or starting a twitter/facebook campaign might help. Really though – getting angry and ranting will just make you look like the one with the problem and people will switch off.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Just because you haven’t literally said “fuck you” doesn’t mean it doesn’t come across loud and clear in your comments.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Oh relax, lighten up. See how that doesn’t work.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Exactly. Ranting about something like this, in this manner, won’t work, either. It’s unproductive and pointless.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Bellatrix Yes, but it’s quite hard to get it across that any of it is a problem.

Bellatrix's avatar

That’s where the discussion starts. Make it a project for your students. A campaign to highlight why such attitudes matter. Social media is powerful. I agree the attitudes portrayed in those shirts are disgusting – but they are seen (and for most people are treated as) as a joke. It’s a bit like the program On the Buses where Black people were ‘jokingly’ referred to as Sambo and the like. “But it’s just a joke”. It might be if you don’t happen to be Black and have lived with such crap all your life. The answer is to change minds about it being funny – and the only way to do that is to very gradually start drawing the lines between such attitudes and domestic violence, misogyny etc. That won’t happen by waving a stick. People will absolutely switch off an see you as a feminist lunatic.

Perhaps a campaign showing the shirt and then what it really says…. and do you want your son in law wearing this?

Get your students talking and working on it and I really think if you want to make a change – look at using social media but I think you need to draw the dots between the t-shirt and bigger issues in a calm way that shows how this affects all women and men.

You need to take out the ‘academic’ and bring it down to a grass roots level.

zenvelo's avatar

I’m a little late to this conversation.

My only comment after all of the above is the consolation that any guy (I won’t use the word man) that wore one of those shirts wouldn’t know what to do with a woman if she offered to do what ever he wanted. Not that such an event would ever happen.

Yeahright's avatar

It seems that in every thread I read I see @Simone_De_Beauvoir advising/threatening everyone that she will soon be out of here, that she is not coming back, that she had it with Fluther, etc., etc. But she never actually does…

wundayatta's avatar

There’s no reason to pick on her. She’s a good voice on fluther, and I miss her when she’s gone.

jonsblond's avatar

Oh, you know she loves the attention. @wundayatta. :)

CWOTUS's avatar

Few people here disagree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir as much and as often as I do, but this place would be a little darker without her.

deni's avatar

Spencer’s is horrible. It smells like a rubber dildo and the site of it LITERALLY makes me cringe. There isn’t one around me anymore THANKFULLY.

deni's avatar

WHO WOULD WEAR THOSE SHIRTS????????? Twinkle twinkle little slut name one guy you haven’t fucked? Are you fucking kidding me. I’m embarassed for the person that came up with those.

zenvelo's avatar

Back in the 70s a bunch of us met up at Lake Tahoe, and one guy wore a stupid t-shirt with “Beaver Patrol” on it. We told him he couldn’t be with us until he put on a different shirt.

DominicX's avatar

Not reading the above responses.

Yeah, sorry, I can’t take those shirts seriously. Some of them are so over-the-top that they’re obviously jokes. However, I don’t think everyone seeing them would assume they were a joke (and even if they are, they’re not very good ones), so I wouldn’t expect most people to buy them. As it is, I’ve never seen anyone wear one, so I guess that’s the case…

Not to mention that some of those could be interpreted as being sexist against men as well since they are implying men are sex-crazed misogynistic fuckwads.

burntbonez's avatar

This is not a place I have ever heard of before. Now I know why.

emilianate's avatar

If you just take an example from each gender, picture 1 and 2 clearly shows that this has nothing to do with misogyny/hate speech and everything to do with supply and demand.

You have no case.

Sunny2's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir The T-shirts are stupid and in terrible taste, but the people who would buy them would not agree, nor should they have to. A person’s predilection to crudities that defile others are protected by law. Some say they wish they were not. I daresay, there may be people who would find some of my tastes are so inferior to theirs that they would try to keep me from exhibiting them to others. Fight poverty. Fight homelessness. Fight war. This is a useless fight you wish to start.

glacial's avatar

Wow. Those t-shirts are bullshit. I can’t say I’m surprised that you’re not seeing more vehement support, @Simone_De_Beauvoir. It seems to me that no matter how grievous the statement, Americans will trip all over themselves to worship the god of free speech, whatever the consequences. Freedom works two ways in these situations. If the douchebag who wears the t-shirt has his freedom, where’s my freedom not to be called a whore or a slut? Whose rights should actually be protected in that situation?

And dammit, under the same heading – why are most of the people commenting here hurling more crap at @Simone_De_Beauvoir for saying the t-shirts are a bad thing, than they are at those who produce them? The t-shirts are a bad thing. Something is seriously twisted here.

augustlan's avatar

Seriously, people. You might not like @Simone_De_Beauvoir‘s methods, but she does have a point, in my opinion. Should the shirts be outlawed? Probably not. But can/should people put pressure on Spencer’s to not sell this kind of shit (for men or women)? Yeah, I think so.

Sunny2's avatar

You can get Spencers to stop selling them, but someone else will sell them, (and probably already does). It doesn’t take much to make a Tee like that. “Joke” stores all over have them, not to mention Tee shirt stores all over the country. And for heaven’s sake NEVER look at a sex toy store. Talk about questionable taste. Right out there for anyone to see!

augustlan's avatar

@Sunny2 Of course you’re right; it’s everywhere. But we have to start somewhere, you know? Otherwise, nothing ever changes.

jrpowell's avatar

It might be different if there wasn’t the whole rape/abortion thing that went on before the election. And Rush calling Sandra Fluke a whore and saying she should post videos of her sexual activities. And things like a panel of 12 white men on the floor of congress crafting policies about females reproductive rights.

Both shirts can be equal when the groups attacked in each shirt are equal. As of today that isn’t the case.

zensky's avatar

One woman commented quite perspicaciously that I would never wear one but if someone else wants to, it just makes it that much easier to identify the jerks in the world.

jrpowell's avatar

The thing is that people don’t wear these thinking that they will look like jerks. This is shit they actually think. They are just stupid enough to announce it publicly. Maybe we should look why they think like that and address that. But the shirts certainly don’t help.

jca's avatar

When it comes to shopping, we vote with out pocketbooks. When nobody buys this crap, it will hopefully go away. As long as people are buying it, they will keep selling it. Right now, apparently, people are also giving Spencer’s free publicity by talking about it.

What would be more effective to those who are upset about this is, instead of a Fluther rant, send a letter to the President or CEO of Spencer’s (when you want your voice to be heard, never waste time with the customer service/contact us link. Send correspondence right to the top of the organization instead and then it will trickle down). Another idea that someone above had is to go to a FB page or start a FB page protesting what Spencer’s is selling. A third idea is to collect signatures of others who find this offensive and hope that Spencer’s listens. I go back to my original statement which is that as with anything “shopping,” money talks, and when nobody buys the crap, Spencer’s will take notice.

I also think that to ask a question and then insult all who disagree with your premise is not very helpful.

tedd's avatar

Well….. this escalated quickly. lol

I personally have no problem with the shirts. Nor would I have any problem with some kind of role reversed shirt that made fun of men (I have seen them, usually insulting intelligence, far less common though).

I think there’s something to be said for being able to make fun of one another’s stereotypes and enjoy when your own is made fun of. Helps point out how utterly ridiculous they really are.

But if it really bothers you, I would suggest just not shopping at Spencer’s. Last time I checked they’re not exactly cornering the market in anything anyways.

bookish1's avatar

@johnpowell, you just made a point that I was trying to express last night but I decided to give up because I was too angry.

While most people involved in our discussion here might view these shirts as [at least an attempt at] a joke, I agree with you that many people [read: children eager to prove their existence and worth as adult consumers by spending money] will wear these shirts and take them at face value.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond Yeah, my friend, that’s why I’m mad about the shirts – for attention. rolls eyes Where I made a mistake (as usual, I think I never learn) is to think that other people (of all genders) would see how ‘jokes’ like these connect to larger patterns in society that are harmful to all of us, that gendered messages against women that are violent and pathetic are not to be taken lightly because they so often end up in not jokes. I don’t know why I assumed that would be clear. I know that bringing up these matters on Fluther is like banging your head on the wall but if not on Fluther, then where. Are my students different from a slice of people all over? Of course not. And here, I’m talking to adults but some of you are acting like people expect my students to act. Except, even my students, often raised in the rape culture here in NYC, can agree this is a problem more than this thread.

As to making this about insults in my direction, cheap shots – if you can’t actually provide an argument, just insult the person asking the question. And, if you can, please insult them using the thing that they asked the question about, that’s really smart. Good job.

@zensky I’m sure there are other ways to tell the jerks apart. Pretty clear to me without having to look at those shirts. I think we should be ashamed that people put that shit on t-shirts. I am not against free speech or censorship, obviously. I always fought and do fight for that. But this isn’t about free speech. This is a reflection on what’s wrong with our society, these shirts – sure they’re just shirts, and sure those are just words, but in many women’s lives, those images come alive. And we don’t give a shit. And we think my saying so is an agenda. When a couple of other people say so, they don’t get crazy attacked just because they put it nicer. That doesn’t matter, like @augustlan said, we have methods and I have a thick skin now on Fluther where the insults are old and stale. They don’t matter as much as the issue at hand. And the issue at hand is a big one – why is it okay for a store to cater to misogyny, for men’s or women’s shirts?

tedd's avatar

I have to comment too, that I was in a Spencers just last night. I looked through the shirts at random, hoping to find an xmas gift for anyone…. and while they did have their typical raunchy stuff, I don’t remember seeing any of the shirts listed in the OP link. Online only I guess.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well I think it’s okay to cater to misogyny because many people enjoy making light of obviously ridiculous stereotypes. One of my favorite websites to visit is t-shirthell.com, full of racist/offensive/misogynistic/sexist/etc shirts.

Like I had said in my last post, I think one of the best ways to deal with these hurtful stereotypes, is to make light of them together. It shows everyone how stupid they really are, like a parody almost.

Now obviously that’s not for everyone. You very clearly aren’t fond of that idea. But there’s a pretty solid chunk of the populace that does, and in our country there’s a definite freedom of speech. The only thing you can really do to fight that, is not buy it.

jonsblond's avatar

Again, has anyone ever seen a person wear something like this? For most of us the answer is no. It’s not like there are thousands of men and teens walking around supporting stupid crap like this, and we need to protect our fragile minds from it. And I agree with @tedd that it’s better to make fun of ridiculous stereotypes because it shows how stupid they are.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My little whisper joke about you loving attention is just that. You clearly love the attention you get when someone below you disagrees with you. From my experience I’ve noticed that you enjoy a chance to tell anyone how special you are, and how stupid and ignorant everyone is who disagrees with you.

bookish1's avatar

@tedd: I think there is a fine but discernible line between reinforcing misogyny/sexism and making light of stereotypes. Take the shirt that says “If I wanted your opinion, I would take my dick out of your mouth,” for instance. What stereotype is that making light of?
Do you really think that a teenager or preteenaged boy who wears that shirt does so in order to mock misogyny? I am unconvinced.

What about t-shirts with racist or homophobic slogans? Have you heard of hipster racism? I’ve noticed this trend for years. It’s a way for middle class white kids in milieus that aren’t explicitly racist to indulge in and reinforce racism by pretending that they are somehow able to transcend it, and I think it’s disgusting and insidious.

@jonsblond : I am not so far from teenagedom myself, and I used to see stupid 16 year old boys wearing misogynistic t shirts. They were not doing it because they were feminists and wanted to make light of misogyny… They were performing the easiest kind of masculinity that builds itself upon sexism, misogyny, and homophobia, and receives ready validation in our culture.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond This is not about fragile minds. And I am special, really really special – the most special and beautiful in the whole wide world. On a serious note, how do you and your friends make fun of misogyny? What do you do?

tedd's avatar

@bookish1 I am not unconvinced. And I’ve heard of the reference, and even had it used to describe myself or my group of friends. But quite often when using such slurs or what have you, I am in the company of at least one person who falls into the group being offended… Often times that person is the one who originates the joke even.

My African buddy here at work for example is the first person to make jokes about himself liking watermelon or his g/f talking like the stereotypical “angry-black-lady.” One of my gay buddies in college took great humor in waiting for one of the non-gay males in the group to do something slightly feminine, and then calling us a “fag.” The rest of us in the group took on that, and we all enjoyed laughing at stupid stereotypes that we knew weren’t true.

There are lines, sure. I wouldn’t make one of those jokes with someone I didn’t know, or in the presence of small children who won’t yet understand that it’s a ridiculous stereotype. But especially in the confines of friendship, I think offensive jokes are a good thing. I just got Cards Against Humanity yesterday and I look forward to playing it with the group.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd “My African buddy here at work for example is the first person to make jokes about himself liking watermelon or his g/f talking like the stereotypical “angry-black-lady.” One of my gay buddies in college took great humor in waiting for one of the non-gay males in the group to do something slightly feminine, and then calling us a “fag.” The rest of us in the group took on that, and we all enjoyed laughing at stupid stereotypes that we knew weren’t true.” – this, right here, is a totally different context. With the shirts, you don’t get the context. And if a white young hetero dude is wearing them but not speaking out against then, that’s not resistance, that’s Tuesday.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Personally, if I were to get a shirt such as those you listed (which I don’t think I would), I would only wear them in the company of my friends…. or maybe at like, some kind of event where everyone would understand the joke behind it… Maybe a party that would be mostly my friends or what have you. My one friend laughingly wore a shirt to a party once that said “I should be in the kitchen” and had like the classic female-bathroom stick figure on it wearing an apron.

I mean if someone is going to buy one of those shirts, and wear it out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or walking around the mall, or to a high school… then yah I can see your problem. The person has very poor taste and risks offending a lot of people. This would have to be worn in good company…. which is really why I would doubtfully ever consider getting one.

jonsblond's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir We don’t make fun of misogyny, but I may laugh at the ridiculous jokes or joke t-shirts I see, because they are ridiculous! I would never allow a man to say those things to me, nor a woman. My sons know how to respect women and my daughter is learning how to be treated and what not to accept if someone treats her in a way that I find inappropriate. No t-shirt is going to hurt my children and change the way they think after years of being treated properly by their parents.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd Yeah, I totally joke crazy racist homophobic sexist stuff with my activist friends because if you don’t laugh, you cry but these shirts, they don’t have a hidden meaning so it’d just be kind if ridiculous, I don’t know.
@jonsblond I certainly hope not. Why would a t-shirt do that if the kids are raised right? But many kids aren’t raised to oppose sexism and seeing those shirts sold online or wherever just adds a tiny drop to a big bucket. Sort of like, sure people find it upsetting but more likely they don’t and those images go kind of unchallenged.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Another part to remember is that Spencers may not really have any expectation of selling these shirts. But their sheer ridiculousness and outrageousness may get people in the door… and then “I’d never by that shirt, how awful… oh but look they have that thing there that’s neat..”

Though “advertising” like that to get people in the door is a pretty fine line to tread without getting so offensive that people specifically avoid you because of it.

In the end, I just wouldn’t take it too seriously. Like I said, I was there yesterday and didn’t see any of the shirts listed. And I’ve never even seen the less ridiculous stuff they do sell at the stores on anyone outside of the stores.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd Got it, :) Thanks.

jonsblond's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Why would a t-shirt do that if the kids are raised right? I said no t-shirt is going to hurt my children or change the way they think because as a parent, I have more influence over them than a t-shirt does. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I was under the assumption that you think these shirts would hurt fragile minds, that’s why you want them gone. My point being, if I raise my children the right way, a t-shirt will not hurt us. I have much more to worry about in life, and a racist, homophobic, misogynist t-shirt is not one of them. I think if you came across someone wearing one of these shirts, Simone, this would give you the perfect opportunity to tell that person how it makes you feel. I think you would get a lot farther by doing that then you would by trying to ban shirts from a novelty store.

If the shirts were at JcPenney’s, then I would understand the outrage, because you wouldn’t expect something like that at JcPenney’s. Being upset with these shirts being sold at Spencers is the equivalent of being upset with Victoria’s Secret for selling edible underwear. but that’s just my opinion. and I need to go drink some coffee now. I’m still rubbing sleep from my eyes.

CWOTUS's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir if you value free speech as you say you do, then you might assume that some who wear those shirts do so not as “a joke” but because that’s what they really think about women.

So it would appear that you believe that these t-shirts (or the words on them) should be classed as “hate speech”, and therefore prohibited – not given First Amendment protection, in other words.

In that case, you need to express yourself to the legislature – to Congress and your state legislature – to have those expressions banned on those grounds. Personally, I still think it’s a losing cause and a bad policy to attempt to enforce (except for the fact that it might do away with about 90% of the rap “music” that I have to hear from time to time) – I hate “speech codes” with a passionate fury – but that would be the way to proceed.

“Embracing diversity” means accepting ideas and people having ideas that you find abhorrent. Embrace diversity. I personally agree with you 100% about the poor taste and revolting ideas expressed on the shirts, but I would fight any attempt to make them – or the bad ideas expressed – illegal.

Shippy's avatar

People actually wear this shit?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond I don’t know if edible underwear at VS is the same because, I feel like, ‘if you’re into it, go ahead’ and everyone can eat it, I guess and I know many folks have worn those undies and they were men sometimes and queer. Anyway, there was potential is what I’m saying to take edible underwear and transform the message. VS, in general, does a lot to place the dominant image of women as being there for the male gaze. I’m not in love with their overall contribution. You’re right about how much walking and seeing someone and talking to them is probably best than banning. But I never said we should ban these shirts. I was asking for what should be done and banning is one of the options. But obviously banning (whether when it comes to your kids or these things) only works in reverse.

zensky's avatar

By the way – this Spencer’s store just got a lot of free publicity from this – I hadn’t even heard of them before. They certainly got people talking about them.

jca's avatar

@zensky: I said that, too – this is free publicity for them and we’re doing them a favor.

tedd's avatar

@zensky @jca I’m surprised neither of you had heard of them. They were Hot Topic like 20 years before Hot Topic came out. Though they never really got past where they are, they’ve been around the whole time.

zensky's avatar

I’m somewhere in the Med. and not in the States.

Sunny2's avatar

I was just reminded of Pompei and the paintings on the walls of some houses that were so ‘pornographic ’ that the first time I was there, they wouldn’t allow women tourists inside to see them. There must be something in the nature of men that is very old and still exists today. If it’s human nature, you’re not going to be able to put a dent in it. Just relax. You’re beating a dead horse.

CWOTUS's avatar

There’s probably a t-shirt regarding the beating of dead horses. I want that t-shirt. (But I’ll only keep it in the closet, I promise.)

I forget which of the Internet Rules this is. Of course it exists!

Sunny2's avatar

@CWOTUS Very good. And keeping it in the closet will keep the PETA people away

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I sort of saw this today and remembered this q.

zensky's avatar

Not as bad as If it bleeds, it breeds.

bookish1's avatar

Haha, heterosexcapitalism. That’s really gross.

bookish1's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : You may quote me. ;) I made it up when I was about 15.

Unbroken's avatar

Just read this.
I have to say I agree that the true problem is people will buy and wear this shit. Not that it exists.
I too have noticed that jellies are especially blase and or ignorant about sexism But I won’t beat a dead horse.

@Tedd as far as people joking about their differences it is a self defense mechanism. If I make fun of this thing first it will bring my differences to light making people around me more comfortable about. I also show that I have conquered whatever the problems of issue are and am better then that. Or a million other reasons. Behind the biggest callous is the most sensitive spot.
@bookish1 very nice word.

Kraigmo's avatar

When I was a kid, I thought Spencer was for adults and I was surprised they let me in there. When I was an adult, I realized Spencer is for kids.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther