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How Advertisers Failed Women in 2012
December 7, 2012 3:21 AM   Subscribe

MissRepresentation calls out advertisers for their portrayal of women in their 2012 roundup video. Also under scrutiny this gift giving season: 20 Examples That Spencer's Gifts Hates Women.
posted by DarlingBri (107 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
(PS: MissRepresentation is getting some chiding for including Victoria's Secret in this video, but as a couple of commenters point out, it's not the fact that VS is showing women in lingerie, it's that they're showing rail thin women in lingerie.)
posted by DarlingBri at 3:23 AM on December 7, 2012


20 Examples That Spencer's Gifts Hates Women

Holy fucking shit hell, what in the fuck is wrong with people? What kind of damaged piece of shit thinks this is funny or appropriate or something you'd ever wear on your body?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [84 favorites]


My "favorite" one of these was a T-shirt reading "Get A Job," which had a picture of a blonde giving head to a skeleton. Because, it's like, I already have a job, man. I have a job blowing skeletons.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [30 favorites]


Hey, poorly socialized young men have money, too.
posted by Malor at 3:38 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the Dolce and Gabbana comercial doesn't really belong in this video.
posted by Pendragon at 3:43 AM on December 7, 2012


Wow, those shirts. Just wow. That is seriously fucked up.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:49 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm sort of surprised that they don't have one really honest shirt that says "I'M GOING TO DATE-RAPE YOU!

no, seriously"
posted by Skot at 3:53 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Would be pretty sweet if they started a line of reverse gender shirts on those shitty designs.

eg:

-"I Have The Dick So I Make The Rules"; woman plowing man with strap-on

-"Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full"; man eating out woman

-"Third Shot Is On Me"; woman uppercutting nuts
posted by mannequito at 3:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [30 favorites]


I am now curious if Cafe Press (or however kids use now) would let a "I'M GOING TO DATE-RAPE YOU" through, or catch it.
I am also sure such a thing exists. Sadly.

From the Buzzfeed i think 2 is really not the same as the rest, and 8 I have seen at the local markets.

But I cannot think of a way to end this: "Those shirts would be perfect for my next BLANK".

Seriously hating people about now.
posted by Mezentian at 4:02 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking my place could use a few more black light posters, but now I'm reconsidering.
posted by orme at 4:06 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Those shirts would be perfect for my next BLANK".

Charles Nelson Reilly!

"Bonfire, as kindling."

(sorry, Mezentian, you set off my Match Game memories...)
posted by mephron at 4:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [24 favorites]


I don't understand how a human being could ever end up actually wearing one of those shirts. I'm not a particularly violent person, but I (seriously) would be tempted to have my boot connect with the nuts of the asshole wearing one of those. Ugh.
posted by maxwelton at 4:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


These shirts make for a simple, no-fail way of knowing if I should bother talking to someone.
posted by ifandonlyif at 4:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I couldn't help myself. I looked: Date rape: The T-shirt was as far as I got.
posted by Mezentian at 4:12 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


And yet some say we don't need feminism any more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on December 7, 2012 [27 favorites]


I've actually seen some of these shirts, and others like them, for sale at beer festivals. I like a good brewski as much as the next hophead, but I haven't been to a beer festival in years and that is a major part of why.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:14 AM on December 7, 2012


I don't understand how a human being could ever end up actually wearing one of those shirts.

I'm wondering if there is any evidence of those shirts on real people out in the wild. There probably is but I've never seen anyone walking around with something that offensive on in public. Maybe frat parties? Concerts? Bars?
posted by Sailormom at 4:15 AM on December 7, 2012


Oh, sweet jesus. I mean, really?
posted by Mezentian at 4:16 AM on December 7, 2012


I've seen this sort of thing in the wild too.
posted by Mezentian at 4:18 AM on December 7, 2012


For what it's worth, Spencer's have plenty of t-shirts that express similar sentiments from a female point of view

"I have a pussy so I make the rules"

'He's kind of a dick.'

'Tiny cocks make me giggle.'

'Don't Hate Me Because You're a Douchebag'

'Don't be a Pussy, Eat One'

It's less woman hating, more of a company tapping into youthful obnoxiousness on both sides.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 AM on December 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'd laugh if some culture jammer swapped out those misogynist shirts for special shirts which changed messages after washing:
  • I AM AFRAID OF WOMEN
  • SAD MAN
  • LONELINESS PERSONIFIED
  • I CRY EASILY, AND NOT ALWAYS FOR SYMPATHETIC REASONS
  • IN LIEU OF A JOB OR ANY SORT OF HOBBY WORTH TALKING ABOUT, I HAVE 80GB OF JPGS AND GIFS RELATING TO THE NICKELODEON SHOW VICTORIOUS. I'D HAVE MORE, BUT MY MOM WON'T LET ME BUY ANOTHER HARD DRIVE UNTIL I STOP THROWING TEMPER TANTRUMS EVERY TIME SHE INSISTS THAT WAIFUS AREN'T A THING IN THE REAL WORLD
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:27 AM on December 7, 2012 [42 favorites]


'Youthful obnoxiousness' can go suck a fat so-and-so.
posted by ZaneJ. at 4:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


So far as I can tell (I checked about 5), none of the shirts shown in the buzzfeed site appear on the Spencer's site, though some look like extrapolations of Spencer's t-shirts. I think the buzzfeed article is link bait designed to appeal to people who want any justification (fictional will do) to hate people of the other sex.
posted by epo at 4:44 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd swear I've seen one or two of those shirts at T-Shirt Hell.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 4:50 AM on December 7, 2012


I think the buzzfeed article is link bait designed to appeal to people who want any justification (fictional will do) to hate people of the other sex.


I mean some of us will click anything if it might have 50 Cute Puppies somewhere in it, and also hate stupid t-shirts.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:54 AM on December 7, 2012


I don't know what to think about those t-shirts except "how sad."

But the buzzfeed link led me to much better clickbait: 30 animals posing with stuffed versions of themselves.

People are boring with their stupid t-shirts.
posted by spitbull at 4:55 AM on December 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Stitcher, some German antifascists did exactly that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'd love to imagine that it's all some kind of Darwinian experiment, something having to do with animals that develop distinctive plumage to attract mates, yet they go too far down an evolutionary dead-end to a place where their colorful patterns end up keeping them from passing on any of their genetic tendencies towards being abosolute fucking assholes who should be shunned by one and all.

Fucking assholes. That's who buys those shirts. If at least one of those wasn't bought in sufficient amounts, there wouldn't be dozens to choose from.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mind blown that someone thinks the two (NSFW) Smirnoff ads at :40 in the video are good branding. Those really seem like the most egregious of the bunch.
posted by bfranklin at 5:30 AM on December 7, 2012


Suddenly, I'm worried I have lost the ability to differentiate between words. I know there are different words on these shirts, but they all seem to read to me: "I AM UNADULTERATED SCUM".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:31 AM on December 7, 2012


I know there are different words on these shirts, but they all seem to read to me: "I AM UNADULTERATED SCUM".

And obviously there are no small number of people willing to pay good money to send you just that message. Glad you get it.

Spencer's caters to this market of disaffected youth who want to say FUCK YOU to everyone in about as many ways as possible. (But they would be arrested in the Sweet Land of Liberty if the shirt actually said FUCK YOU.)

Hey better a tee-shirt like this - which can be removed - than some stupid Satanic tattoo or ring in the nose telling me the same thing.
posted by three blind mice at 5:37 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something orange swan said in the Montreal Polytechnique thread which I think bears repeating here:
Such jokes are symptomatic of a deep-rooted contempt towards women. When a man makes these jokes to a woman, he adds more weight to whatever grief she carries, because it's safe to say that if she hasn't been abused by a man, she has female friends or family members she loves who have been. When a man makes these jokes to other men he encourages them in whatever misogyny they might entertain within themselves, and maybe then they'll take it steps further than the man who just makes "harmless" jokes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


I've never seen a real live human wearing anything like these shirts. And I think that's because they wouldn't get you anywhere near laid. Which makes me think they are probably only appropriate apparel at a frat party in the eleventh circle of hell (date rapists level).

More seriously, who could risk walking out of the house with one of these shirts on? And to go where? Even as a gag gift, who'd want to buy them? These seem to be products without purpose.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 5:46 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So far as I can tell (I checked about 5), none of the shirts shown in the buzzfeed site appear on the Spencer's site, though some look like extrapolations of Spencer's t-shirts.

Here is the link to the actual Spencer's Gifts-->Men's T-Shirts-->Humor. Lots of "Boobies make me smile" and "Head I win, Tail I win" type of things.

How many of these are given as gag gifts? How many are worn "ironically"? If some jackhole wants to be seen wearing one of these it is actually a good thing; his friends and acquaintances can consider it a warning.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:53 AM on December 7, 2012


Not misogynistic but equally revolting: Blame it on the Black guy (picture of Obama) and 9 good reasons to shut your mouth (picture of a gun). It's like dumb things said on twitter or Facebook-- some people are just clueless and need to be smacked down by society before they are housebroken. Bad puppy, no biscuit.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:01 AM on December 7, 2012


Shit like this makes me angry, not just as someone who respects women, but as a t-shirt maker. I know that I'm not churning out Cezanne on my screen printing press or anything, but this kind of shit makes me want to take up basket-weaving or something, lest someone think this is the kind of shit with which I and/or my craft are associated.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:15 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the hilarious pearl-clutching in this thread illustrates the purpose of those shirts well enough.
posted by planet at 6:17 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Planet: do you also think that the guy who started a national campaign to kill a considerably milder t-shirt in which boys were the target was also "pearl-clutching"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm wondering if there is any evidence of those shirts on real people out in the wild. There probably is but I've never seen anyone walking around with something that offensive on in public. Maybe frat parties? Concerts? Bars?

I saw a guy in downtown Seattle a few months ago wearing the "I have a dick so I make the rules" shirt. I don't remember what he looked like because I couldn't stop staring at the shirt in a mixture of bafflement, revulsion, disgust, and hilarity. I couldn't go any farther without sharing so I immediately posted it to Facebook and sent text messages to several friends, all of whom had the same reaction: "WTF?!"

On the plus side, it's like having a giant neon flashing sign over your head that reads, "I AM A TOTAL D-BAG, NEVER DATE ME." It's an asshat-early-warning system.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:19 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've actually seen some of these shirts, and others like them, for sale at beer festivals.

Kind of how, when I was a kid, I got a lot of exposure to violent, virulent racist materials at the county fairs we went to for my sister's 4H projects - even in New England, there would be a booth or two doing brisk trade in KKK and confederate paraphernalia (No Nazi stuff, it was poisoned for the real racists by the Punk subculture of the time co-opting Nazi imagery), and pamphlets and crude second printings of the Turner diaries and such. They thought people would either be sympathetic, or just mind their own business to go along to get along, and they were right.

(Of course, once I found a militant First Peoples booth, things turned awesome. I still want a "Custer Had it Coming" t-shirt.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Planet: do you also think that the guy who started a national campaign to kill a considerably milder t-shirt in which boys were the target was also "pearl-clutching"?
I think describing MRAs as "pearl-clutching" is a bit of an understatement.
posted by planet at 6:24 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the hilarious pearl-clutching in this thread illustrates the purpose of those shirts well enough.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be the one on a train home late at night sitting opposite a douche with a smug smile and an 'It Won't Suck Itself' shirt, hoping to God that he's getting off at the stop before mine.

MrMippy and I will instigate this rule when we become rulers of the world - all slogan T-shirt wearers must experience execution of the text. 'If found, return to pub'? Carted off to the nearest alehouse. 'Pussy Patrol'? You just got yourself work experience with animal services. 'It won't suck itself'? Let's head to a public square and see just how flexible you can get.
posted by mippy at 6:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Spencer's page does have an "AMERICA FUCK YEAH!" T-Shirt which reminds me that I recently heard that song from Team America: World Police played un-ironically as a lead in to a right-wing radio talk show (re-recorded with the chorus changed to "OH YEAH" or "HELL YEAH" or something like that).
posted by straight at 6:43 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the hilarious pearl-clutching in this thread illustrates the purpose of those shirts well enough.
posted by planet


Alright. At first I thought planet was just being dismissive, but now I see that that comment was portentous.

MrMippy and I will instigate this rule when we become rulers of the world - all slogan T-shirt wearers must experience execution of the text. 'If found, return to pub'? Carted off to the nearest alehouse. 'Pussy Patrol'? You just got yourself work experience with animal services. 'It won't suck itself'? Let's head to a public square and see just how flexible you can get.

"World's Greatest Mom" Prove it!
"Property of Whatever State University Athletics" We welcome slavery back to the USA!
"Proud Feminist" We Will Be Surgically Removing Your Sense Of Humor.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 6:44 AM on December 7, 2012


It's less woman hating, more of a company tapping into youthful obnoxiousness on both sides.

I don't really care about their emotional motivations, I just care that they're selling this shit. In an equal society, 'youthful obnoxiousness' would be equally offensive or dismissable towards either men or women, but this isn't and it's not.

On the other hand, 'DON'T HATE ME BECAUSE YOU'RE A DOUCHEBAG' is pretty much what I feel like saying to whoever buys these.

As to why individuals wear them - I suspect two reasons.

1. They're stupid and think it's funny. Because they're stupid.

2. These are designed to be worn in 'hobby' arenas - beer festivals, bars, conventions, what have you - and the guys who buy them want their hobbies to be kept male-only, or at least to contain only women who put up with shit. Think Team Dickwolf, basically. If you feel the need for your hobby spaces to be havens where you can just relax and be your sexist asshole self, T-shirts do a lot of your harassing for you and save you valuable drinking time. Why bother hassling women one at a time when one garment choice of a morning will create a hostile environment for every single woman who sees you?
posted by Kit W at 6:47 AM on December 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


"I think the hilarious pearl-clutching in this thread illustrates the purpose of those shirts well enough."
posted by planet

What does this even mean, Planet, care to explain and not just threadshit? What exactly is the purpose of these t-shirts that only a dick would wear?
posted by marienbad at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


SinisterPurpose, I'm glad you want to join our team but first I would like you to talk to a few more feminists. Many of them are well funny. Kathy Lette I think has given the cause a bad name with her godawful puns.

I am on the fringes of a mostly male-dominated, mostly geeky hobby - boardgaming - and while I've seen some very geeky T-shirts I'd never expect to see one of these worn by anyone. And this is a hobby where artwork of women is often scantily-clad and, frankly, not particularly adequate for the tasks they are depicted doing.
posted by mippy at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that Planet also thinks MRA groups are "beyond pearl-clutching" as well is making me think this is more equal-opportunity critique here. Not so much "wimmmenz complaining about shirts lol", more like "anyone at all letting a t-shirt get them upset is overreacting".

Which I still disagree with in principle, but at least it's not a double standard and is an idea coming from a different place, so...eh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:55 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


(But they would be arrested in the Sweet Land of Liberty if the shirt actually said FUCK YOU.)

Though that is actually not true.
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't really care about their emotional motivations, I just care that they're selling this shit. In an equal society, 'youthful obnoxiousness' would be equally offensive or dismissable towards either men or women, but this isn't and it's not.

This statement is confusing. It's clear that Spencer's sells equally juvenile t-shirts, regardless of gender, and they are doing so to make money.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on December 7, 2012


In one case it's one more part of a pervasive, ancient and historic pattern of discrimination and oppression reimagined for today's pop culture, and in the other case it's a cheeky effort to hint at turning the tables which allows people of ill intent to point at the product and anyone who thinks it's funny and say "but what? We have parity! Everything is fine if we insult everyone equally!"

So, no, not exactly the same.
posted by Miko at 7:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


This statement is confusing. It's clear that Spencer's sells equally juvenile t-shirts, regardless of gender, and they are doing so to make money.

Juvenile is poop jokes. This is violent misogyny.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


This statement is confusing. It's clear that Spencer's sells equally juvenile t-shirts, regardless of gender, and they are doing so to make money.

a) What Pope Guilty said. Juvenile is innocent; misogyny is not.

b) We don't live in a vaccum, we live in a context. It's not nice to punch anyone, but if I punch someone who's already been beaten up three times today, it's worse than punching someone in excellent health. While male and female experience are obviously not two completely separate and different camps, as a general rule women get beaten with this kind of thing a whole lot more than men. Doing the same thing in unequal contexts does not have an equal consequence.
posted by Kit W at 7:24 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, no, not exactly the same.

Exactly. What I always find confusing about table-turning being taken as evidence of equal treatment is the blind side to historical and social context required.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:29 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


[A couple comments removed. If you see shit you don't like, flag instead of taking a sarcastic dump in the thread. Thank you.]
posted by cortex at 7:53 AM on December 7, 2012


Exactly. What I always find confusing about table-turning being taken as evidence of equal treatment is the blind side to historical and social context required.

My particular point is that the Buzzfeed list is not evidence that Spencer's hates women, especially since a search of the website isn't turning up any of the shirts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the sticking point for me was your assertion that they are "equally juvenile T-shirts, regardless of gender". I was just pointing out that for them to be equally juvenile, we would have to ignore a whole lot of history and the current social state.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Kit W's comment is very insightful:
2. These are designed to be worn in 'hobby' arenas - beer festivals, bars, conventions, what have you - and the guys who buy them want their hobbies to be kept male-only, or at least to contain only women who put up with shit.

It's another version of good ol' boy exclusionism, except instead of explicitly keeping girls out of their clubhouse through rules that they can be officially criticized for, they do it through boorish behavior and causing females to select other company.
posted by JHarris at 7:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Between Good Girl Gina and this, I'm just hopeful moms and dads raising the newest generation figure out how to put a stop to this shit.
posted by discopolo at 7:59 AM on December 7, 2012


What I kind of hate about this sort of "joke" is that it makes perfectly innocent and useful body parts into weapons or else signifiers of shame. On one hand, it's bad to be a dick or a pussy. On the other hand, if you have a dick or a pussy, you will use it as a weapon against those who don't.

Even in this thread, we call people dicks or tell them to go suck one. Why are those bad or shameful things to be or do? Because we are still referring to sex as an act of power and humiliation.

But unless you're a person who likes these shirts, it shouldn't be, should it?

Anyway, that's why I like douchebag, because those are both disgusting and have no legitimate purpose except to mess you up.
posted by emjaybee at 7:59 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've seen this one a few times out here in the west. Love the militancy.
posted by Ber at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2012


I saw a presentation at a conference once, given by the winner of the best paper award. The work, if I recall correctly, was about measuring and correcting network-level assumptions in the Network Time Protocol so as to improve its accuracy on long links in the presence of asymmetric routing; we're talking about improvements on the order of microseconds, here. It was clear that the doctoral student delivering the talk was sharp, knew what he was talking about, though his English wasn't really all that great so we had to repeat things in the question period... but I had a really hard time following the talk because the kid was wearing a ridiculously-too-large (like nightshirt-large) T shirt on which was printed, in letters big enough to read clearly from the back of the room, too big to pretend to ignore:

I JUST
SLEPT
WITH
YOUR
GIRL
FRIEND

and I remember thinking, well, given that she's on the other side of a nine-hour flight, and there are two flights a day, the most recent of which landed about 20 hours ago, you have a remarkably poor grasp on the concept of "just" for a guy who's spent the last four years dealing with microseconds.

Don't really have a point. I suppose it's that people will indeed wear stupid shit in public, which generally reflects appropriately on their judgement, if you let them.

...das, und dass und die deutsche Antifascisten echt cool sind...
posted by Vetinari at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


But they would be arrested in the Sweet Land of Liberty if the shirt actually said FUCK YOU.

I do not think you have ever been to America if this is something you actually believe.
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on December 7, 2012


When I was in college 9 years ago, I espied a guy wearing a shirt with the same message as the first Spencer's shirt on that list (I HAVE THE DICK, I MAKE THE RULES). He wasn't among the general public for more than ten minutes before a girl let him have it reeeeeaaal good. All the while, he whimpered about how it was "just a shirt", but that girl wasn't having any of it, thank god.

The women's "equivalent" shirts are in no way actually equivalent, sorry. That sort of statement should be viewed as insulting to everyone's intelligence.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


These shirts only come in two sizes:

Comic book guy XXXL, and tiny-foreman-from-of-mice-and-men small.
posted by Trochanter at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Even in this thread, we call people dicks or tell them to go suck one. Why are those bad or shameful things to be or do? Because we are still referring to sex as an act of power and humiliation.

But unless you're a person who likes these shirts, it shouldn't be, should it?


Unless you're into that kind of thing and have a trustworthy partner, no.

Okay, I'm going to try to counterbalance the nastiness of those T-shirts and say this all with family-friendly language...

I think that scatology is always going to be with us. Poo and pee are dirty things that we (rightly) get taught not to mess with from a very early age, and so body parts that either produce them or are near other bits that do produce them are always going to have a certain taboo frisson about them. Sometimes it's fun to say 'pee po belly bum drawers' no matter how old we are. (Or at least, sometimes it amuses me.)

Sexual organs are in that general area, so most of us put them in that category at least in the first few years of our lives. I wouldn't underestimate the effect of nappies, for example, which put everything from your navel to your thighs in the same needs-a-wipe category. When you add the fact that sex is almost always something private even if it's not considered shameful, again, I think it's unlikely we'll ever see a culture where there isn't a certain feeling of mischief and aggression associated with talking about people's willies and ginas.

The problem, of course, is that there are different kinds of mischief and aggression associated with willies and ginas. Calling somebody a 'willy' (substitute your own synonym) usually involves implying that they're aggressive or objectionable. Calling somebody a 'gina' very often involves implying that they're worthless, weak or disgusting. There's a power imbalance there. And it applies cross-gender: I gather that in the states, it's mostly women who get gina-spelled-with-a-C thrown at them, with the purpose being very much to degrade. In England, where I live, it's most men who get called a C-gina, but again, it's a term that means the guy is disgusting without being powerful.

It's complicated (and interesting) how the use of language varies according to culture, and I have the impression that American slang is particularly bad when it comes to the various synonyms of 'gina', but for my money, it's the culture that's the real problem. I wouldn't mind calling people willies or ginas if it wasn't the case that 'willy' and 'gina' mean such very different things.
posted by Kit W at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


˄
|
THE MAN

˄
|
˂-- THE IGNORANCE --˃
|
˅

posted by griphus at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2012


Hey, poorly socialized young men have money, too.

No, their mommies do and indulge them. If these fellas had to actually earn their coin and/or were capable of doing so, they wouldn't waste it on junk like that.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2012


My particular point is that the Buzzfeed list is not evidence that Spencer's hates women, especially since a search of the website isn't turning up any of the shirts.

I'm trying to make eye contact but your tits don't have eyes

Bitches & sluts & whores & cunts

I have the dick, so I make the rules

You can't suck my dick while you're talking so shut the fuck up

Top 5 lies women say

Load target
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


If these fellas had to actually earn their coin and/or were capable of doing so, they wouldn't waste it on junk like that.

Saying this as someone who was in the T-Shirt Biz, you are sadly wrong about that. I'm pretty thankful my boss did not ask us to stock any of that stuff, but other places on the block did, and clearly well-to-do dudes just bought that shit all the time.
posted by griphus at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2012


I don't understand how a human being could ever end up actually wearing one of those shirts.

I was in a store where one of the clerks was wearing a shirt like that (female stickfigure performing oral sex on a male stickfigure). I don't remember any words, but the image was enough to make me (the only female in the store at the time, of several people) feel like his message was "I have no interest in treating women like people and they don't belong in this space" -- and I haven't been back to that store since. I probably should have told his boss (also working) why, but I was worried that his boss was just fine with the shirt.
posted by jb at 8:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If these fellas had to actually earn their coin and/or were capable of doing so, they wouldn't waste it on junk like that.

Not to disagree with you that anyone who buys this shirt is a contemptible prat, which I suspect was your basic point, but the idea that only basement-dwelling manchildren buy these things is uncomfortably close to the idea that only the really unsocialised weirdos among men are sexist. Which allows sexist men who've heard of soap and can talk to a woman when they feel like it to let themselves off the hook, and then freak out horribly at any woman who dares point out sexism they don't want to do without. 'Are you calling me some kind of sexist troglodyte? How DARE you! I bathe every day!'

It's good to treat sexism as a bottom-barrel attitude, but we need to remember that sexists, if not sexism, can be well-presented and successful. If they weren't, it wouldn't be anything like such a problem.
posted by Kit W at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


What kind of damaged piece of shit thinks this is funny or appropriate or something you'd ever wear on your body?

As a fellow Hoosier, I'm kind of surprised by this reaction. I can go damn near anywhere in this state and have no trouble finding examples of exactly the kind of guy who would wear these and think it's funny.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2012


Tacky, sexist, useless garbage -- on sale at Spencer's Gifts?!?? I don't believe it!
posted by porn in the woods at 8:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Didn't Spencer Gifts use to be the guys with the poorly-designed mail-order catalog, that had stuff like a toilet paper cover in the shape of a chicken, and picture frames with an angel in the corner that said "Gramma's Little Angel"? What happened?

Also, in the video they talk about the women and girls in the ads as role models. I'm all for telling advertisers you don't like their depictions, but I'd also hope that parents are media-savvy enough to tell their kids that advertisers are only interested in their money and those people in the ads should not be your role models. I'm probably just spitting into the wind with that, aren't I?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:48 AM on December 7, 2012


I'd also hope that parents are media-savvy enough to tell their kids that advertisers are only interested in their money and those people in the ads should not be your role models. I'm probably just spitting into the wind with that, aren't I?

Even if parents do tell our kids that, it has an effect. Ads are by their nature very clever at playing, and thus reinforcing, prevailing social values. If they weren't clever at playing them, they wouldn't work. But they do. We can and do try to model better values, but I doubt any child of mine will emerge entirely unscathed. I didn't, and neither did anyone else I know.

Seriously, did you let your parents pick your role models for you?
posted by Kit W at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm all for telling advertisers you don't like their depictions, but I'd also hope that parents are media-savvy enough to tell their kids that advertisers are only interested in their money and those people in the ads should not be your role models. I'm probably just spitting into the wind with that, aren't I?

Well there's a lot of ways to look at "role model". There's someone you look up to as an example of a better sort of person, of course. But there's also "role model" in the sense of a character or caricature that normalizes a particular set of behaviors or "role". But I agree - parents should be doing what they can to counter media messaging about gender roles.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2012


parents should be doing what they can to counter media messaging about gender roles

Honestly, we're doing our best. But a lot of the time, we're outgunned.
posted by Kit W at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a parent, too. I know.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:05 AM on December 7, 2012


I guess I was misled by the 'they'. Sorry. But I do stand by the point that however good a parent one is, advertisers still need to be held to better standards. It might even be part of being a good parent.
posted by Kit W at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2012


Didn't Spencer Gifts use to be the guys with the poorly-designed mail-order catalog, that had stuff like a toilet paper cover in the shape of a chicken, and picture frames with an angel in the corner that said "Gramma's Little Angel"? What happened?

You might be thinking of Fingerhut?
posted by porn in the woods at 9:15 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I was misled by the 'they'. Sorry. But I do stand by the point that however good a parent one is, advertisers still need to be held to better standards. It might even be part of being a good parent.

"They", because I know I'm not the only parent in the world. Also, I don't think I implied that holding advertisers to better standards and talking to your kids are mutually exclusive. Shouldn't have to say this, but I do think both are necessary.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:17 AM on December 7, 2012


Didn't Spencer Gifts use to be the guys with the poorly-designed mail-order catalog, that had stuff like a toilet paper cover in the shape of a chicken, and picture frames with an angel in the corner that said "Gramma's Little Angel"?

No, that's not them. You might be thinking of Miles Kimball.famous in my growing up years for weird household gadgets and for having a little Christmas story for kids that you followed through the pages.

I wasn't a big fan of the wording of the slogan "you can't be what you can't see" - if that were true, there'd be no first female doctor, first female astronaut, first female CEO, etc. But I agree with the broader message, that depictions of people in the culture have a powerful impact. It's more like "you're much less likely to choose to be something you can't see."
posted by Miko at 9:29 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man was it Miles Kimball that sold those unassuming-looking "neck massagers"?
posted by griphus at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was in a store where one of the clerks was wearing a shirt like that (female stickfigure performing oral sex on a male stickfigure).

I saw someone wearing that very shirt when I was in sixth-form. I expressed my disgust. I tend to hope that most people will have grown out of that kind of oooh-offensive-let's-troll-with-apparel/women-am-i-rite phase not long after they lose their virginity.
posted by mippy at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2012


I tend to hope that most people will have grown out of that kind of oooh-offensive-let's-troll-with-apparel/women-am-i-rite phase not long after they lose their virginity.

I question whether someone who regularly wears shirts like this will ever lose their virginity. Any girl with a lick of sense would tell them to fuck off, and more often than not the guy who wears something like this is deep down so scared of women that the prospect of actually having sex with a woman for realz would freak them out and they'd make squeaky noises and then run away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2012


"They", because I know I'm not the only parent in the world. Also, I don't think I implied that holding advertisers to better standards and talking to your kids are mutually exclusive. Shouldn't have to say this, but I do think both are necessary.

Yep, I agree. :-)

--

I question whether someone who regularly wears shirts like this will ever lose their virginity.

I am deeply cynical about the idea that men act sexist because they can't get laid. Do people act racist because people of other races won't do - what? Sexists can certainly be unusually savage about the fact that they can't get laid, but on the other hand ... well, the last time I saw one of those stick-figure blow-job shirts, the guy was walking around the park with his girlfriend in the middle of a dispute about whether that bird over there was a duck or a swan. (It was a goose. A Canada goose, which you can see on just about every public pond England. I do not think he was very well-informed.)

I don't think it's about sex. I think it's about how it's fun and convenient to be a bigot because it allows you the thrill of cheap and easy power over other people, an automatic bond with other bigots, and a sense of superiority you didn't have to do anything to deserve. It doesn't get talked about much in the 'sexism hurts men too' discourse, but there are an awful lot of obvious benefits you can get out of being sexist. And considering you can get those benefits without having to do very much for them, I think a lot of it is just good old-fashioned moral laziness. Same way those T-shirts allow guys to drive women out of their clubhouses without having to spend any energy on it.

A lot of these guys just want the maximum benefit for the minimum effort. That's why they tend to go with 'Don't be so hysterical': for them it really isn't a big deal, because the amount of work they put into making life worse for the rest of us was very much less than the amount of worseness we got.
posted by Kit W at 10:06 AM on December 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


Or, shorter version:

In my experience, a sexist who's not getting laid is an angry sexist, a sexist who is getting laid is a satisfied sexist, and that's about the only difference.
posted by Kit W at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fair point; that was only semi-serious, truth be told.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2012


Didn't Spencer Gifts use to be the guys with the poorly-designed mail-order catalog, that had stuff like a toilet paper cover in the shape of a chicken, and picture frames with an angel in the corner that said "Gramma's Little Angel"? What happened?

What I don't hear said very often is that these two things, obnoxious offensive misogyny and scatology, and cheap mawkish sentiment, are peas in a pod, both precisely the kind of thing a story that specializes in "gifts" will be likely to carry. It was more than a couple of decades ago when my dad picked up a book from a local Hallmark store called "Fart: The Book," which claimed to be a categorization of all the different types of farts, illustrated with cartoons. Yet on the aisle over from where it was sold were Hallmark's more recognized wares, folded pieces of mass-produced, pastel-colored cardboard emotion ready to give out to family members you'll probably see once a year at most.
posted by JHarris at 10:22 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry. But I do stand by the point that however good a parent one is, advertisers still need to be held to better standards. It might even be part of being a good parent.

Great point. It just bummed me out that the video seemed to be conceding some points that I think are worth fighting. Clearly they were using "role models" as people worthy of emulation, not as caricatures — "Help us create healthier role models for girls". And the point that Miko made about "you can't be what you can't see" bothered me for similar reasons.

But then I don't have kids to raise, much less girls, and I don't want you outgunned parents to feel like I'm attacking you from the back.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2012


Oh, and it was Miles Kimball I was thinking of. Though we did get Fingerhut catalogs too. For some reason I always thought of Fingerhut as a more down-market version of Miles Kimball, which in retrospect is a bizarre distinction to make.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2012


Why do the video makers take that approach? Obviously they know that the use of objectifying images in advertising is a 30 year old battle (at least) that was soundly lost in the late 90s.
Ontario almost banned sexist images in beer commercials in the early 90s.. Horrible link, but I'm not spending all day searching..

Objectification has certainly gotten much much worse in the last 10 years, so why are they saying "still" and "the battle has just begun"? Feels like a miss representation. Could it be that they are using objectification and misogyny to sell their anti-objectification anti-misogyny message? What a strange post-modern world we live in...
posted by Chuckles at 10:40 AM on December 7, 2012


For some reason I always thought of Fingerhut as a more down-market version of Miles Kimball...

I received the catalogs you're thinking of; the ones that only sold novelty/prank stuff. They were an absolute hoot around the elementary school cafeteria table.
posted by griphus at 10:40 AM on December 7, 2012


What I don't hear said very often is that these two things, obnoxious offensive misogyny and scatology, and cheap mawkish sentiment, are peas in a pod, both precisely the kind of thing a story that specializes in "gifts" will be likely to carry.

I couldn't agree more. Gift shops are the opposite of churches.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


What you're thinking of is Harriet Carter, where you can get sentimental figurines and also "Damn Seagulls!" hats with fake poop splatters on them.
posted by emjaybee at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Objectification has certainly gotten much much worse in the last 10 years

I don't really think so; I wonder why you say that?

I mean, I can't remember a time in my lifetime when it wasn't pervasive.
posted by Miko at 11:10 AM on December 7, 2012


Pervasiveness is more or less the same, I wouldn't argue that point. It is a lot more pointed and graphic now. I think advertisers are trying to compete with the prevalence of other imagery in the popular consciousness (aka internet pornography). I don't know, you could make a good argument that it is just changing fashion--after all pornography itself has changed an awful lot.

I'm pretty sure there never was any legislation on the issue in Ontario. Even so, there was a while in the early-mid 90s when using sexual images of women in beer commercials (and elsewhere) was greatly reduced. I feel as if that brief trend was more widespread than just Ontario, but who knows..
posted by Chuckles at 12:05 PM on December 7, 2012


It is a lot more pointed and graphic now

Yeah, I don't really think so. It's been pointed and graphic for ages. Could just be that I grew up in a Ms.-reading household, where every month they posted shit like this on the "No Comment" page in the back (wish that archive went back to the 80s when I started reading it), and saw many renditions of Killing Us Softly, etc - so it's been in my consciousness a long time. In many ways I think some of the ads of the past were worse because they often played on women's expected social subugation to men.
posted by Miko at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In many ways I think some of the ads of the past were worse because they often played on women's expected social subugation to men.

Well.. Do we mean visual objectification or social objectification? The social messages today are much more subtle and implied vs. classic ads, but imagery is much less inhibited.
posted by Chuckles at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2012


I just don't agree that it's much less inhibited.
posted by Miko at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2012


The term "pearl-clutching" mildly annoys me at the best of times, but when used to describe reactions to something woman-hatingly sexist like that, it seems particularly misogynistic. OH THOSE WOMEN WITH THEIR PEARLS, YOU KNOW. CLUTCHING THEM. NOT LIKE MEN, WHO HAVE MANLY REACTIONS TO THINGS.

I mean, maybe I'm beanplating, but the phrase "pearl-clutching" to mean "offended reaction" seems to have taken off in the past couple of years (at least in the places I tend to hang out online), and it's just such an inherently gendered phrase (unless men are running around wearing long pearl necklaces and I hadn't noticed), which - particularly for something sexist like this - seems to be inherently implying that the female reaction is the wrong oversensitive reaction.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:41 PM on December 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, hey, shirts. These shirts are shit. But let me tell you about shirts. I like a plain black t-shirt. Just a straight-up-and-down black shirt with a rounded neck or a v-neck or whatever. I don't want any shit written on it, I don't want any little logos or alligators or hilarious commentary, or made-up football teams, or Denver 18 Miles photographs, or headshots of bands, or an edgy black-and-white art shot of boobs, or PUMP-STAR-MAX SINCE 1992. Just a fuckin' black shirt. Holy shit, how hard is it? So, uh, fuck this t-shirt place because that's evidently where all my plain black shirts have gone. Assholes.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 6:29 PM on December 9, 2012


Turgid, Target generally has cheap, plain black tees.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:26 PM on December 9, 2012


I use "pearl-clutching" to specifically reference that woman in the Simpsons who gets all worried about nothing. She wears pearls.

Anyway, that's not here nor there.
I have beer to drink, and you broads have ironing to do. Of shirts.

After that, we can discuss how to market mobile phones, if you'd like.
posted by Mezentian at 1:52 AM on December 10, 2012


After that, we can discuss how to market mobile phones, if you'd like.

Holy crap. That looks like a Reddit macro, not something a major company paid professionals to make.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:17 AM on December 10, 2012


That's exactly what we need to see happening if anything is gonna change.
posted by Miko at 6:08 AM on December 10, 2012


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