Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogans

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Iulus Cofield
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:52 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:I think there are legitimate brands of comedy where being patently outrageous is the modus operandi.
See, I had huge problems with that. Mostly because it is the continuation of 'women as property' which was pretty freaking literal for way too long and is still a mindset people have.
Both these shirts are offensive. The red, because as soon as I saw it it screamed rape (or DV generally). The grey, because of the dehumanizing factor. People have a hard enough time recognizing women as human beings/people.
I am glad enough people pointed out how horrible these shirts are that the company apologized.


See, I think it's funny because it's so offensive. Then again I think The Nigga Song and the Make a Realistic Wish Foundation sketch are funny. It's a dangerous line to skirt though. Played too straight or too long and it just becomes tasteless.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Lostdreams » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:54 pm UTC

It has been played both too straight and too long, for quite some time now, in my opinion.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby DSenette » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

i think either (and the things ilulus linked) are funny, but also too far across the line for a company to be making money off of. if someone made those shirts on their own at home, a good response would be "hehe that's funny, you're a douche", but the fact that you could (at one point) walk into a store and buy those means you can't point at someone and say their a dickbag for making them so it becomes irresponsible
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

I rolled my eyes at the gray shirt - it's offensive, but being on a campus surrounded by frat boy (and geek) douchebags who would wear/spout that stuff regularly means I can't muster up the energy to start yelling anymore. The red shirt made me squint sideways - it seemed offensive, but it didn't immediately jump out to me as rape or domestic abuse. Possibly because I don't have experience with either.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby juststrange » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:37 pm UTC

Taking away the grey shirt as a primer, the red shirt could just as easy be a list of excuses for plenty of other things. Bullying, the new hot button issue for instance (still a terrible thing IMO). Framed with the grey shirt it primes you for a certain response, making it seem much more sensational than the face value of it. Not saying subtexts aren't important, but saying that not everyone will read the same subtext. The media trying to elicit a stronger response by framing things a certain way? Color me shocked.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Belial » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

Primed by the guy wearing it I'd probably see it the same way.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby PeterCai » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

I would assume that anyone wearing these shirts is a violent, womanizing douche-bag, but that's just me.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby big boss » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:41 am UTC

I thought the 1st shirt was funny and would have bought it as a joke (that is if I was ever looking for a shirt to piss of my girlfriend), never worn it in public because I don't want to come across as a douchbag to complete strangers, but if your with friends/family who know your not a dick and its just for a joke I don't see the big deal. The 2nd one to me implied excuses for rape and I'm glad they took that one down, it would have been fine if they somehow framed it in such a way that it didn't imply excuses for rape or domestic violence. I think being politically incorrect can be funny if done the right way.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby marcel » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:35 am UTC

The one accusing people of fucking their dogs is quite offensive.

The second one lists a number of excuses that can be used in hundreds of cases, most of them not very bad behaviour. To connect them to domestic violence or rape seems pretty far fetched to me. I never would have on seeing that t-shirt, I would just assume that it refers to excuses you use after saying or doing something not very nice to a friend the previous day. The perfect t-shirt for people who are good at saying just the wrong thing to people.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Save Point » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:08 am UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:well, they are in very bad taste and not the least bit funny.

But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be sold. People should be allowed to express terrible views.
and we are certainly free to judge them for their bad taste/terribleness.

Which is really all that happened. Consumers got peeved and the producer pulled it. Le yawn.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby yurell » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:39 am UTC

I must admit, the first thought that came to me was rape / domestic violence. The thought that it could just be a collection of excuses for being a jerk to a friend never occurred to me, until reading this thread. That said, seeing the shirts definitely made me uncomfortable.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Cathy » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:41 am UTC

yurell wrote:I must admit, the first thought that came to me was rape / domestic violence. The thought that it could just be a collection of excuses for being a jerk to a friend never occurred to me, until reading this thread.

Same here. However, being on a college campus a lot gives me somewhat of the same thoughts as pod here.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Metaphysician » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:55 am UTC

Of course, if they continued to sell them, the shirts could serve as a warning sign "Beware, I am a fucking douchebag" is what I read on both of those shirts. But yeah, not funny.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:00 am UTC

After reading yalls posts, I can see why you find the red one to be offensive. But for me, the first time I read that, I didn't think of domestic violence. I think I read "You Provoked Me" as more of a "I did it, but it was your fault" sort of thing. In hindsight, it is very difficult for me to NOT think of a domestic-violence or rape case, but only after I was primed.

I guess I was thinking along the lines of some sort of prank gone wrong. Like if the girlfriend put shaving cream instead of whipped cream on ice cream, and in response the dude wearing the shirt throws the ice cream across the room.

But yeah, once the rape / domestic abuse comes into mind, its very difficult for me to not think about it when I read that line.

"What breed" is just plain offensive however. But it'd be something I'd probably buy a friend as a prank. Can't think of too many good uses of those sorts of tee-shirts.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Adacore » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:30 am UTC

I read the red one as being 'I said something hurtful', because the 'I didn't mean it' excuse doesn't really make sense otherwise. I can see how domestic violence could fit, though. I don't see why anyone would want to purchase either t-shirt, personally.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Vash » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:52 am UTC

At first I was going to say that this was not funny at all, but thinking about it, yeah, it is. If the slogans on the shirt were actually meant, it would be very sexist. However, if they are making fun of the depravity of those ideas, not at all. I suppose it's hard to tell from the shirt alone. Still, I think this is probably just an outbreak of the outrage bug. I would rather give Topman the benefit of the doubt.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Aikanaro » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

I'm actually surprised so many people are disgusted utterly with the grey one. I find it very minorly offensive, and read it more as, "Your girlfriend is so ugly, she looks like a dog," and didn't see anything to do with women being objects, owned, etc.. Kinda like the old joke, "If I had a dog with a face like yours, I'd make it walk backwards!" The red one, I was like, "Okaaaaay...." until I got to "You provoked me," and then my mind immediately jumped to DV and I was disgusted.

Also, offensive things can be funny, but are more likely to be so when they're something you have to actively seek out and expose yourself to. For example, anyone can choose to peruse 4chan if they want, and can stop whenever they want, or never go there in the first place. These shirts are making the whole world look on, and for all you know, you're going to trigger a breakdown in someone who's been subject to DV.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby RollingHead » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:10 pm UTC

I don't think the red shirt is sexist, nothing suggests that the message on it is directed at a woman rather than a generic person. Also, though this may be because I'm not a native speaker, I don't see "you provoked me" as being automatically referred to sex, it could simply mean "you made me angry". Some may use these excuses for inexcusable behaviour, others for mere rudeness.
As for the grey one, I think it's in bad taste but not bad enough to have to be banned from stores.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:21 pm UTC

Note that neither have been banned. The company just decided that it would be better for it not to sell those, if they are going to make people hate the company. Makes sense.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Kag » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:18 pm UTC

I read the grey one as implying the person reading it is literally bumming their dog. Not particularly sexist, but that's still pretty off sides.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby RollingHead » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:19 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Note that neither have been banned. The company just decided that it would be better for it not to sell those, if they are going to make people hate the company. Makes sense.

Bad english on my part, sorry about the confusion. From a business point of view, you're right, it was a sensible move.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Vash » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:52 am UTC

RollingHead wrote:I don't think the red shirt is sexist, nothing suggests that the message on it is directed at a woman rather than a generic person. Also, though this may be because I'm not a native speaker, I don't see "you provoked me" as being automatically referred to sex, it could simply mean "you made me angry". Some may use these excuses for inexcusable behaviour, others for mere rudeness.
As for the grey one, I think it's in bad taste but not bad enough to have to be banned from stores.


It's definitely referring to women, though. Logically, it could belong to any person, group of people, creature, or group of creatures. The point is that they wrote a bunch of misogynistic social memes on a t-shirt, word for word.

bigglesworth wrote:Note that neither have been banned. The company just decided that it would be better for it not to sell those, if they are going to make people hate the company. Makes sense.


Makes a lot of sense. lol

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby marcel » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:53 am UTC

Vash wrote:
RollingHead wrote:I don't think the red shirt is sexist, nothing suggests that the message on it is directed at a woman rather than a generic person. Also, though this may be because I'm not a native speaker, I don't see "you provoked me" as being automatically referred to sex, it could simply mean "you made me angry". Some may use these excuses for inexcusable behaviour, others for mere rudeness.
As for the grey one, I think it's in bad taste but not bad enough to have to be banned from stores.


It's definitely referring to women, though. Logically, it could belong to any person, group of people, creature, or group of creatures. The point is that they wrote a bunch of misogynistic social memes on a t-shirt, word for word.

bigglesworth wrote:Note that neither have been banned. The company just decided that it would be better for it not to sell those, if they are going to make people hate the company. Makes sense.


Makes a lot of sense. lol

I completely disagree with the bolded part. It might be interpreted by some people as being directed at women, but there is nothing in that text that makes it more directed at women, then at men, and I dont think that whoever came up with that shirt meant anything more then a joke on what you say after you behaved like a dick towards your friends.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:35 am UTC

To be honest, when this thread was first made, I misread the red shirt and thought one of the boxes was "I had a bad lay" and I thought that was the only thing people were objecting to. I was confused when people started talking about domestic violence.

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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Triangle_Man » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:48 am UTC

marcel wrote:
Vash wrote:
RollingHead wrote:I don't think the red shirt is sexist, nothing suggests that the message on it is directed at a woman rather than a generic person. Also, though this may be because I'm not a native speaker, I don't see "you provoked me" as being automatically referred to sex, it could simply mean "you made me angry". Some may use these excuses for inexcusable behaviour, others for mere rudeness.
As for the grey one, I think it's in bad taste but not bad enough to have to be banned from stores.


It's definitely referring to women, though. Logically, it could belong to any person, group of people, creature, or group of creatures. The point is that they wrote a bunch of misogynistic social memes on a t-shirt, word for word.

bigglesworth wrote:Note that neither have been banned. The company just decided that it would be better for it not to sell those, if they are going to make people hate the company. Makes sense.


Makes a lot of sense. lol

I completely disagree with the bolded part. It might be interpreted by some people as being directed at women, but there is nothing in that text that makes it more directed at women, then at men, and I don't think that whoever came up with that shirt meant anything more then a joke on what you say after you behaved like a dick towards your friends.


I'll grant you that the red shirt avoids mentioning specific genders. However, when I read the shirt images of domestic violence lept into my mind, most likely because of the tag line below. The fact that people are interpreting it as advocating domestic violence could in part say something about the possible message of the shirt, especially when it is taken together with the grey shirt.

Also, it's possible for something to be a joke and still be incredibly offensive to parts of the population. 'Dead Baby Comedies' as defined by TvTropes thrive off of 'humor' of this variety.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Feddlefew » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:25 pm UTC

When I the red shirt, or at least something very close to it, "in the wild" a month ago, relationship violence was the first thing I thought of.
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Re: Topman pulls T-shirts with 'sexist and offensive' slogan

Postby Vash » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:07 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I'll grant you that the red shirt avoids mentioning specific genders. However, when I read the shirt images of domestic violence lept into my mind, most likely because of the tag line below. The fact that people are interpreting it as advocating domestic violence could in part say something about the possible message of the shirt, especially when it is taken together with the grey shirt.

Also, it's possible for something to be a joke and still be incredibly offensive to parts of the population. 'Dead Baby Comedies' as defined by TvTropes thrive off of 'humor' of this variety.


I think that's completely accurate.

I honestly just thought this shirt was completely sexist myself at first. On some level, I still think it is more likely that it is actually advocating sexism. Though, I could see it being a more intelligent shirt than it appears at face value. I guess I'm not totally sure if the establishment is high-class, but it looked that way to me. I didn't think it would fit in with them to really make an actually sexist shirt. Then again, it easily could.


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