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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

The Four Biggest T-Shirt Blunders that Made the News in 2014

Perhaps you've heard about the really offensive t-shirt that made its ways to the boys’ apparel section in a popular department store in the Philippines.  The offensive message was “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle.”  The t-shirt probably would have gone unnoticed had it not been for shopper Karen Kunawicz post on her Facebook account which went viral and put a spotlight on SM Department Store. After the post had been shared across social media approximately 4,000 times, the store finally took notice and made the following statement:

 However, one must wonder if Kunawicz simply turned away in disgust and continued shopping, would the t-shirts still be on sale condoning an indifferent attitude towards a violent act.

Urban Outfitters did not handle their blunder nearly as well. Earlier this year, they released a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt.”  The big problem was that it had “distress” and “fade” marks that clearly resembled blood. Anyone that’s not been under a rock for the last 50 years would recall that in 1970, Kent State was the scene of a horrific Vietnam era war protest incident that resulted in the deaths of four students and left nine others wounded one suffering permanent paralysis. Urban Outfitters lamely stated that no offense or reminiscing of the Kent State Massacre was intended but the red spattering and holes were simply part of an effect and were deeply saddened that anyone perceived it any other way. Really?

Another department store debacle was brought to us by Zara’s, a Spanish department store that produced a children’s shirt that strongly resembled the uniforms Jewish prisoners were forced to wear during imprisonment by the Nazi’s. The shirt features black and white stripes and a YELLOW, six pointed star. Sure it says, “Sheriff” but it doesn't take a genius to realize what else the design might look like. Hey Zara’s, we don’t recall a sheriff’s uniform ever involving black and white stripes either. Next time, try this instead:

DC Comics also received a very public and negative response to the two new t-shirts that can easily be construed as anti-feminist. One features a cartoon rendering of Superman kissing a swooning Super Woman with the slogan, “Score, Superman does it again.” The second t-shirt is much simpler but relegates women back to the kitchen stating “Training to be Batman’s Wife.” While some may feel these have a negative impact on building equality between the sexes, they are hardly the caliber of some other examples. What’s your take on some of these examples?

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