Another day, another company releasing shirts that should not be made. Forever 21 released the following graphic t-shirt with the words “Don’t say maybe if you want to say no” boldly in the front at such a steal too. It’ll only cost you $19.90 to promote rape culture!
Repeat after me : ANYTHING OTHER THAN YES IS NO. You would think that people would understand that, I mean it is an easy concept. Victim blaming is such a norm of rape culture and let’s get one thing straight – it is never a victim’s fault. People can change their minds and I don’t care if both of you are fully naked and ready to have sex right there and then. If either parties change their mind and show any doubt – it is up to you to be sure that they want to and if they don’t, you stop. “Maybe, I don’t know, Should we?” or anything other than Yes is NO. It’s such an easy concept but clearly some of you need a refresher:
HOW SIMPLE IS THIS CONCEPT? Pretty f*cking simple.
The company has since taken the shirt down and in said the following statement to The Huffington Post:
“Forever 21 strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously,” Forever 21 said in a statement to The Huffington Post. With regards to the T-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product.”
I’m mad that it took feedback from customers for this shirt to be taken down. What ethics are you embodying by approving this shirt? Why was this saying even thought of? Why was this approved? From the beginning – this shirt should have not been produced. How about we try “Everything other than Yes is NO”, that’s something I’d buy.
Apologies from companies have almost become a norm after they f*ck up and then, people move on. This is not okay. Can someone explain me how a company as big as Forever 21 thought “AW, that’s so cute – it’ll definitely sell out”. F*CK THAT. This blame can’t be put on one person but the company as a whole needs to be blamed. Someone in your company had to think of this saying, approve the design, approve it for production, AND approve it to be sent to stores. You have that many people working for this company and not one person thought “this is ridiculous & promotes rape culture” ? If so, I need you to vet your employees more throughly. Forever 21, do better.
Featured Image via screen grab of Forever 21
This absolutely pisses me off! Stop socializing men to feel entitled to a woman’s body and socializing women to feel like they will be ‘bitchy’ for standing up to a man and saying no.
This shirt doesn’t socially condition men to feel entitled to a woman’ body, nor does it socially condition women to feel like they will be ‘bitchy’ for standing up to a man and saying no.
Know what does, though? Naked photos of Kim Kardashian’s ass on the cover of magazines in every grocery store and gas station in America. Soft-core pornography, advertising her body like a piece of produce for sale, for every man, woman, and child to view and accept as perfectly normal.
You should read this same author’s article on how “empowering” that is in reality, though.
Should women not just say “no” if they want to say “no”? Should they say “maybe” if what they really mean is “no”? Of course not!
Obviously, it’s the responsibility of both parties to address uncertainty – such as saying a word like “maybe” which, by nature, is an ambiguous and potentially misleading response. But honestly, in a world full of people who by nature are just plain idiots when they’re thinking with their genitals, wouldn’t it make more sense to simplify and let one’s yes mean yes and no mean no? That’s all the shirt is saying: don’t beat around the bush with consent. That, to me, sounds like a stupendous idea.
Sure, it could be read in an offensive way, and ignorance or oversight on the part of the manufacturers is no excuse for potential contribution to the normalization of rape. But neither is that any justification for the hatred this article exemplifies. Would the better (and in my opinion, more obvious) solution not be to find the perfectly reasonable feminist message in this shirt and promote that instead? Revealing a problem is no good if you’re not willing to offer a solution on the other end – all this author is doing is ranting nonsensically, and throwing a tantrum over what more-than-likely is a rash misjudgment of a shirt that, in the own words of the company responsible, were absolutely not meant to offend anyone. This article is a witch hunt.
I don’t deny that rape-culture is a horrific and imminent danger to the society we live in. I just want to remind whoever reads this that we all created this society together… And the issues this article “fights” against – rape, sexual crime, gender discrimination, etc. – will never be dismantled or even confronted properly when the attitudes and words of the “right side”, the “moral side”, are just as ugly, poisonous, and wholly & completely hateful. Please, don’t forget what horrible pain that same hatred and inconsideration and evil have caused for us all… Don’t become what you fight.