hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Funny because it's not true?

So rumor has it that Abercrombie and Fitch, the company that has commodified provocation and brought it smack into the mainstream has done it again. According to a piece on Salon.com's Broadsheet, the company has come out with a new line of tee shirts. Having already alienated Asian-Americans and people who don't like soft-core pornography, AF has now turned their attention to the estrogen set. The new tees feature such slogans as "Who needs a brain when you have these?" and the term "The Freshman 15" above a list of boys' names written in a girl's hand.

I know in my heart of hearts that I am supposed to be offended by such a blatant objectification of the female form and female sexuality. But rather than foaming up into a feminist lather and reaching for the latest copy of Bitch while I simultaneously chucked my Venus razor into the trash, I laughed. If we give these shirts the benefit of the doubt (bear with me for a moment) they wittyly articulate attitudes towards women that are prevalent among many people (male and female) yet that aren't as commonly articulated as they were before political correctness taught us to stiffle our less egalitarian beliefs. If I were to wear the shirt proclaiming the fact that I don't need brains because I'm amply endowed, could it be like holding up a mirror to the more chauvinist aspects of our society--those people (usually men) who look at me and think "attractive girl, awesome tits" without giving a lick about what goes on upstairs? The pomo in me thinks that this would be a very clever attempt at irony. But the cynic in me wonders if it would just serve to reinforce such chauvinism.

All this leads me to wonder that when it comes to feminism, where can we draw the line between humor and offensiveness? I know for a fact that some of Hey Pretty's loyal readers are less lenient than I when it comes to anti-feminist transgressions, and that's cool. To each their own. But why do we draw the line where we do and is there any way we can use the differences in our decision-making processes and build on them in any sort of constructive way?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the distance from Amherst, but my sense of outrage is slowly dying down over stuff like this. Although, I'll toss out my gut-feeling analysis.

If I saw the Editor of Hey Pretty wearing one of these shirts, I'd find it damn entertaining, mostly because it's sarcasm and wit turned around on the underlying perspective that is clearly present but attempted to be hidden. But if I see a high-school/college freshman wearing 'em (who is likely the intended market) it invokes a cringe... Probably 'cause I naturally assume most people that age are pretty clueless.

Maybe it's my gut feeling that it's entertaining to wear stuff like this once you've already proven you can get by and prosper... (Of course, maybe I'm just justifying my own enthusiasm for wearing such clothing when I'm not decked out for work.)

- DS

7:50 PM  
Blogger Hey Pretty said...

Okay, so perhaps it's okay to wear such a shirt if you pin your Mensa membership card to it as well?

No, I don't have a Mensa card, I'm just sayin'...

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Tiffanie said...

you know, i had a friend talking about something similar the other day. he saw someone with a shirt on that said, "I have the pussy, I make the rules." and I was considering whether this was fabulous and irreverant or sexist and irritating. I'm still undecided.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll admit - my gut-feeling isn't exactly justified...

But I guess it all depends on what the person behind it perceives. If yer smart, I don't find it nearly so crude, as you probably recognize all of the connotations and perceptions that go along with it. If you're just following fashion - not nearly as cool.

And Mensa cards are never cool... unless taped to a leather jacket.

If you join Mensa, do they have a secret handshake or something? Getting just the award to hang on the wall wouldn't be enough... but a secret handshake or code-word might make it worthwhile.

- DS

10:13 PM  
Blogger Michael J. West said...

Perhaps the line you draw between funny and offensive has to stay in the obvious. If it's obviously offensive, even if it was intended to be funny, there you go. If it's obviously just funny, even if it was intended to be offensive, there you go, again. If it could go either way, well, you just play it by ear. Some people are more sensitive about certain issues than others.

Short version: depends on who's wearing the shirt.

shorter version: what DS said.

10:27 PM  

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