At Yale and at other campuses around North America, controversy has been aroused by a shirt that had been on sale at some Urban Outfitters outlets.
The shirt (which can largely be seen at the first link) depicts a woman suggestively bent over and seemingly, preparing for slaughter. Different parts of her are labeled things like 'breast', 'rump' and 'loin'.
It also features the heading 'Kansas Cattle Queen' and says 'Tender Juicy Beef'. While the overwhelming sentiment seems to be that the shirt represents the "literal dismemberment of a woman's body", one Yale (where it all started) student disagreed.
"(The shirt) is so perfect, so true. What about a tube top or a low-cut shirt that objectifies women in reality?"
I see his point, but I think Urban Outfitters made a really, really bad judgement call here. Whoever is responsible for that shirt having seen the light of day should get, and probably has had a good talking to.
Well, while I can see some people (the Women's and Gender Studies group that I know among them) getting their panties all in a wad about this, and while I can see a national clothing store chain needing to know better, all I can say is:
If I had found this t-shirt while browsing the $.89 racks at Value Village, I would damn well be wearing it. It's ironic, and I think it makes a good point. (I think the guy who said "what about tube tops" almost makes a good point - it's our choice to wear those silly things, though.)
However, being mostly just generally opposed to the idea of Urban Outfitters (this is the same chain that buys up $9 rubbish sale coats, cleans them and retags them for 80 bucks +), I gotta say I wonder about them with this choice. Did they not think they were going to get ANY flak for this?
------------------ ~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate
want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com. "How can I look in your eyes when I feel like to die I have to run away?" --Joga, "Dam Dariram"
Actually, when I saw a photo of that and the objection to it, I sat in a state of shock.
Why? Because that image, as memory serves, nearly to the letter and on a graphic level, in it's entirety, originated in response to the Miss America pageant protest in 1968, and was designed by women in the feminist movement. That gender studies proffessors don't recall something so recent in feminist history is really astounding to me, and quite telling. Most of them are my age or well older. At Yale no less. Cripes.
I am flabberghasted that no one seems to have brought this up yet. So, I don't know how worthy of criticism UO really is, since they are only 'recycling" a design from some time back that came to be AS a feminst statement.
Believe it or not, the Miss America pagent has actually IMPROVED a lot in the past 20 years. At the time this image came out, it literally was a cattle call. I am not even sure the contestants had to speak. Aside from the talent portion (cough), the whole thing was indeed simply rumps, loins and breasts.
So the message I'm getting from the shirt is to look at ways in which women are STILL seen that way. I don't feel that the shirt is actually promoting that point of view.
Why do we find images like this so threatening? Where is our critical thinking?
*shyly looks around and raises her hand* um. I could corroborate with John's statistic. though I think it's mostly morbid curiosity. "people come in those proportions? and they can stand up? is that *duct* tape?"
while beauty pageants are annoying and decidedly anti-feminist, I rather like them. but I'm ashamed to admit it. it's not like those women are my type, either. it's just fascinating.
Hey Miz Scarlet! I knew it was from the Miss America pagent protests. Or at least, I could imagine it is a picture similar to those used there. Go Women's Studies courses. :-) So my point has been taken.
Posts: 121 | From: Some random suburb.. | Registered: Feb 2001
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What bugs me is that the shirts with that image were apparently intended for men, not women, which does make it seem like objectification more than irony. Too bad.
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000
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For one, I see WAY more women shoipping at UO than men, and I mayself often shop in their mens section (in the clearance raqcks -- their regular prices are just lunacy).
Too, perhaps we might want to consider that just maybe a) they thought it more fitting and interesting to make it for men, having men make the statement in the same vein the design was originally intended (men can be feminists too, yanno) or b) -- which I'd vote for -- they didn't give it any real thought at all, but just thought (as they seem to often with cultural graphics) "hey, cool graphic, let's rip it off and make some moolah."
Which ain't exactly philanthropy either, but it's also fairly harmless in terms of the normal operations of our capitalistic culture.
Personally, perhaps the best suggestion if you're bothered by the shgirts is not to write in asking them to stop selling them, but to ask them to donate 10% of the profits of each saale to NOW or PP or AI since they're clearly concerned about human and woman's rights?
(...and Yay for Sapphire! And for your women's studies profs, who appear to be more on top of the studies they're teaching than the gender studies dept. at Yale) ------------------ Heather Corinna Editor and Founder, Scarleteen
My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground." -- Kay Bailey Hutchinson
[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 10-03-2001).]
quote:Originally posted by Miz Scarlet: perhaps the best suggestion if you're bothered by the shgirts is not to write in asking them to stop selling them, but to ask them to donate 10% of the profits of each saale to NOW or PP or AI since they're clearly concerned about human and woman's rights?
Or you could just ignore them completely and therefore keep from giving UO the publicity they so desire.
I thought the image sounded familiar, although I didn't know it came from a Miss America protest! I do recall seeing that image on a postcard when GumdropGirl and I were shopping in Berkeley. And I found the irony hilarious.
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