T-Shirt Hell


Who are the people who buy these shirts? Promoting female stupidity, vapidity and competition is awesome.

(Good t-shirt update below the fold)

Because girls hate eachother based on hair color. And boys pick the blonde (probably because she’s bad at math!)

Anoexia and fat-hatred, too.

Also, the stereotype of women as shallow gold-diggers who judge men by their money and possessions.

via Feministing.

I’ve blogged about Periel Aschenbrand and Body as Billboard before, but if you’re looking for progressive, positive shirts, check her out. And if you’re in the New York area in mid-November, she’ll be introducing a new line of shirts at NYU, in a fashion show sponsored by Voices for Choice. Awesome.

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43 comments for “T-Shirt Hell

  1. November 3, 2005 at 1:46 pm

    I though that shirt said “I”m so pretty, I do math”, and I though that there was some subversive coolness there.

    And then I reread it. Damn

  2. Hestia
    November 3, 2005 at 1:52 pm

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t include my favorite T-shirt of all time. Wheee! Physical abuse is funny!

  3. November 3, 2005 at 1:59 pm

    I’m going to take a photo of myself in that first shirt and send it, attached to a blank 1040 tax form, to the IRS next year.

  4. November 3, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    Who buys them?

    Perhaps someone with a sense of humor, an appreciation for sarcasm or self-deprecation, and perhaps even a dash of rebellion thrown in for good measure.

    Just my guess.

    IT’S A FREAKIN’ T-SHIRT!! Don’t be so uptight!

    Would I be right to be outraged over a “I like boys–they’re stupid” shirt, or the one that says “Jesus did it for the chicks”?

  5. November 3, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    this, and the abercrombie bullshit? god, it’s like a conspiracy.

    oh wait, it is a conspiracy!

  6. November 3, 2005 at 2:14 pm

    What, got crucified for the chicks? You’re a sick man, Bo, although I do like the song “Say Man.”

  7. November 3, 2005 at 2:26 pm

    (not for the easily offended)

    Funny as shit, though.

    “Mary was only a virgin if you don’t count anal”; “The Koran–Now in 2-ply”; “WWJD for a klondike bar”; “School Shootings Tour 1998-2005”; “123 out of 124 Students agree–VIVA ARUBA!”

    and such as that. . .

  8. VK
    November 3, 2005 at 2:49 pm

    It’s wrong how much I want the one saying “I’m too pretty to do Maths”

    (for context, I’m at Oxford and got one of the highest firsts in the year in the last exams. My tutorial partner tried to chat me up with a very similar line. And was surprised when it didn’t work)

  9. November 3, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    They parodied this phenomenon pretty well on an episode of “Family Guy”.

    From Family Guy Reference Archives
    When Meg and Lois are shopping Lois tells Meg to try on various T-shirts with the phrases ‘Little Slut’, ‘Pornstar’ and ‘Sperm Dumpster’ written on them. This is a reference to similar shirts that are popular among teenagers and preteens that contain crude generalizations about the person’s sexual proclivity, and the common critique that America is constantly pushing the boundaries of sex in regards to age.

  10. November 3, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    Bo: hook me up with a Calvin-wiping-his-ass-on-the-Koran window sticker, a can of that putty that makes farting noises when you put your fingers in it, and The Little Red Book Of Larry The Cable Guy Aphorisms, and you’ve got a deal.

  11. November 3, 2005 at 3:11 pm

    VK, I kinda want the top one too. But only for the days when I have my nose ostentatiously buried in a mathy textbook, or am surrounded by people with whom I’ve previously established nerd cred.

    The fun in such shirts comes in playing up the dissonance between stereotype and reality. Without simultaneously sending a loud, authentic countersignal of “I eat math for breakfast, motherfuckers” it just wouldn’t work at all – and it’s really hard to broadcast that kind of signal all day. I’d probably have to go home to change after lunch.

  12. Scarbo
    November 3, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    Yeah, these shirts are stupid, all right. The ladies who wear a T-shirt with a sillouette of a naked woman giving the finger said so.

  13. KnifeGhost
    November 3, 2005 at 4:14 pm

    That’s Feministing, yo.

    And one of my friend has the “Too Pretty To Do Math” shirt, which she says she wears to proclaim her pride as an Arts student…….

    Norbiz: As my old friend would say “that’s hilarious! Do you know any good ones about farts?”

  14. November 3, 2005 at 4:21 pm

    …hmm, I saw a guy once with a tee-shirt proclaiming: “If I’d wanted to listen to an asshole, I’d fart!”

    However, I think The Rule Regarding Hats also applies to tee-shirts:

    Never Wear Something With More Character Than Yourself

  15. November 3, 2005 at 4:24 pm

    Who are the people who buy these shirts? silly people

  16. Olive
    November 3, 2005 at 4:43 pm

    As a woman pursuing a graduate education in engineering, I’d been looking for the store that sells the “math” t-shirts.

  17. November 3, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    I am definitely too pretty to do math, but I’m forced to do it anyway. The whole cosmology/cosmetology distinction is a subtle one.

  18. November 3, 2005 at 5:10 pm

    Someone I used to work with used to kid around all the time that she (and anyone else who worked in our office, male or female) was “too pretty to be here”, “too pretty for filing”, “too pretty for…” you name it. She was quite a character, and I think she would’ve gotten a kick out of that shirt. So if it can be taken in that vein, it’s not that bad; but taken with those other shirts… no.

  19. November 3, 2005 at 5:40 pm

    I have a friend who, when her boyfriend tries to talk to her about D&D, says, “No, honey. I’m pretty.”

    Cracks me up.

  20. Tanooki Joe
    November 3, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    The better question is, who wears those shirts unironically?

    Of course, it is T-Shirt Hell. If anyone believes it, they have a shirt insulting it.

  21. November 3, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    I always preferred brunettes to blondes myself.

    The last one made me sad because it feels all too true. Materialism is all too rife in American society. That one sends a negative message to men as well as women.

    >Never Wear Something With More Character Than Yourself

    What about wearing something with less character than yourself?

    Finally a message to Bo: Get back to the real world.

  22. Linnaeus
    November 3, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    I’m not too pretty to do math. I’m too bored and right-brained to do math.

    You know, an antidote to the “blondes are adored” t-shirt could be this line I’ve seen: “Blondes tease. Brunettes please.”

    Then again, I can see a whole lot of problems with that one.

  23. EricP
    November 3, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    The better question is, who wears those shirts unironically?

    I suppose that that is the nice thing about the Internet, you can find a T-shirt that is ironic for just about anybody.

  24. November 3, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    I would wear the blondes/brunettes one, because I’m a brunette and my sense of humor is like that. But I wouldn’t want to give these people money.

  25. November 3, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    I wonder if the company could have gotten Gwyneth Paltrow to wear the top shirt in Proof?

  26. mokin
    November 3, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    I once saw one of these t-shirts on a little girl. She was too young to have picked it out for herself, and it made me so sad that someone, probably one of her parents, thought it was cute shirt for a little girl to wear.

    Is anybody making t-shirts with opposite slogans? such as “i’m so pretty, I do math”?

  27. November 3, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    Joel Sax:

    Which world would that be? Is it the one where everything is taken so damned seriously, that we should feel “sad” about a T-shirt?

    No thanks. I’m happy here living my life, instead of someone else’s.

    Seriously, I realize that line about the shirt making you feel sad was intended as satire.

    Um, it was, wasn’t it?

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  29. Claire
    November 4, 2005 at 6:27 am

    VK – which year are you in?
    I’m a third-year mathematician also at Oxford, and I’m wondering just how specific a demographic feministe attracts.

  30. Creeping Jenny
    November 4, 2005 at 9:11 am

    I had a (male) friend who would wear a “math is hard” T-shirt to the math class he was teaching (high school age kids). That was pretty cool. I think if you can find the right context to wear stupid shirts in, they become less stupid.

    That said, some those shirts are so stupid that I don’t know how to recontextualize them.

  31. November 4, 2005 at 10:56 am

    Creeping Jenny, (great nick, btw)

    One thing to factor into the scenario is the “I can’t believe he/she’s wearing that!” reaction. For something to have any shock value, in a culture that nothing shocks, it must be VERY extreme.

    One of my personal faves is the ladies’ shirt that says across the front (in the obvious location): “I’ll be using these to my advantage.” Saw that one just last weekend.

    Of course there’s also “It ain’t gonna lick itself”

    But the one that stopped me in my tracks was a really nice looking lady walking around in a shirt that said, “I taught your girlfriend that thing you like.”

  32. November 4, 2005 at 11:18 am

    Last year, Old Navy had a couple nice T-shirts: “Science Rocks”, “I [calculator] Math”, one or two others. They were in the preteen girls’ clothing section. I thought that was awesome.

    (Since I can squeeze into a girls’ XXL, my boyfriend bought me one of the “Science Rocks” shirts. I wear it proudly :)

  33. November 4, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been following the latest biker t-shirts… THere was a very popular one around that read “If you can read this, the bitch fell off”, which I actually thought was quite funny despite the obvious implications. One soon appeared however, available in extra-skinny, with “If you can read this, the bitch just passed you”. There is another one in circulation I believe which says “Who needs when when you’ve got a 400lb vibrator”!

  34. November 4, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    Who needs men when you’ve got a 400lb vibrator?

    I need a proof-reader!

  35. November 4, 2005 at 6:24 pm

    Cruella: Damn! That would shape your hips out of their joints!

  36. Anna
    November 5, 2005 at 8:37 am

    VK and Claire,
    another hello from Oxford… (DPhil, Politics)

  37. mythago
    November 5, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    I have a friend who, when her boyfriend tries to talk to her about D&D, says, “No, honey. I’m pretty.”

    Someday he’s going to say “So’s the new person in our gaming group, the one who’s playing a paladin,” and it will get very tense around those parts.

    You know, anybody who wants to make an “I’m So Pretty, I Do Math” T-shirt can bop over to CafePress or somesuch.

  38. Jay
    November 6, 2005 at 6:20 pm

    Our “wife beater” t-shirt is meant as nothing more than a parody. I don’t condone physical abuse. If you want one to be pissed about you should check this out… http://www.dicktees.net/pd_if_your.cfm

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  40. November 7, 2005 at 12:23 pm

    Who needs men when you’ve got a 400lb vibrator?

    Tastes may differ, butI recommend a well-tuned Norton, moving slowly though the gears. Then again I’ve never actually ridden a ’57 Vincent.

  41. OHNOES
    November 7, 2005 at 4:52 pm

    Well, personally, I find shirts like those to be perfectly natural. Everyone wants to be parodyingly opposite the status quo. :P

  42. November 8, 2005 at 5:10 pm

    Who buys them?

    IT’S A FREAKIN’ T-SHIRT!! Don’t be so uptight!

    You’ve never been around teenage girls, have you? I couldn’t care less about the fools who buy the shirts IF THEY ARE ADULTS. A&F is big with high school kids–lots of them (sheep) will buy their overpriced crap just because it’s from A&F (hence the overpricing).

    Is this the kind of thing you’d want your teenaged daughter to wear? What kind of attention do you think this would get her, and from whom? Do you actually think teenagers are emotionally mature enough to get the joke (i.e. “I’m too pretty for math,” with a math genius–much less the others, like the “who needs brains” one)?

    If you can’t understand that, I guess the only thing that’s going to help you is having a daughter.

    And why is it morally acceptable for these companies to market this crap? They’ve got the right, and I wouldn’t think of stopping them, but damn. Obviously there aren’t too many parents of teenagers or self-respecting women doing their clothing designs.

    FYI, for those knee-jerkers who think only left-wingers care about this–you’re wrong.

  43. November 9, 2005 at 11:57 am

    Do you actually think teenagers are emotionally mature enough to get the joke…

    No, but obviously they’re emotionally mature enough to get an abortion, right? And they’re incapable of making their own decisions about clothing, but GOD FORBID that they have to talk to their parents before having that abortion, huh?

    Oh, that’s rich.

    I do have children, Beth, five of them (three girls). I wouldn’t object to them wearing any of the A&F shirts above. As to the “who needs brains” one, it’s inappropriate for youngsters, but so is most of the crap on TV and radio. The answer is for parents to determine what’s appropriate for their kids, not to sterilize society so they don’t have to worry about it.

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