Friday, September 22, 2006

The Indecent, Malicious Explotation of Cotton

I love cotton t-shirts. There are few things better than the right textured, right fitting t-shirt. I bet that some of you have t-shirts in your wardrobe that you still wear that are more than a decade old. There are few things as comforting as a dependable, comfy t-shirt.

The t-shirt itself is meant to be benign. It is intended to be comfortable, and though fashionable, not too fashionable. Over the years t-shirts have evolved into a cultural phenomenon as marketers and designers have utilized the space as billboards for various products, slogans and themes. And let's admit - this is fine with us. We don't mind the explotation of being a walking billboard for the last band you saw in concert, your most recent church trip, or your favorite cereal or sports team. The slogans on the t-shirt are meant to be a means of identification with other people in our communities. They reveal a little bit about who we are. Sometimes the slogan or theme of a shirt might become or is strategically intended to be a conversation piece. But they aren't usually intended to draw too much provactive attention to the wearer.

In case you live in a bubble and haven't noticed, with the rise in popularity of t-shirts (it's hard to find a good t-shirt these days for less than $20), has come the escalation of indecency in the propoganda on the front of our favorite fashion items.

My experience yesterday at the gas station really brought this into focus for me. You can see many interesting things and people at your local gas station. As I pulled into the station I noticed two teenage boys. One was smoking while the other was pumping gas (isn't that nice. Smoking a cigarette around thousands of gallons of gasoline). The teenage boy who was inhaling cancer cells into his lungs went inside the store. I noticed as he came out of the store that he was talking to his father (I heard him call the man "Dad", so I assume that he was, in fact, his dad). He left the conversation with his Dad and headed back to his super-sheek red pick-up. As he walked by me I noticed his t-shirt. It said, "Hi. You'll do."

Disclaimer: At this point in the blog you are liable to read some things that may be disturbing and offensive. Consider yourself warned. If you won't want to be "disturbed" or "offended", please stop reading.

It's possible, if you are older and naive about the less than subtle generation emerging in our world, that you don't get the implication of the t-shirt. So if you don't "get it", it is meant to be overtly sexual. Sadly, more and more clothing retaliers are using our wonderful t-shirts for vulgar, suggestive and downright offensive purposes. Before I comment in more detail about the t-shirt above, allow me to share with you a few of the t-shirts I found online - shirts that are marketed and sold predominantly to 12-25 year olds.

  • "Vagitarian" - not, it is not a misspelling and it implies what you think it implies
  • "Amatuer Gynecologist"
  • "Your Little Princess is My Whore"
  • "Rub My Weiner" - includes pic of a weiner dog
  • "When in Doubt, Pull Out"
  • "Where's My Hose At?" - includes picture of a fireman; notice the play on words
  • "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor"

* There were several more that were even more explicit but I didn't see it as necessary to publish those.

Some of you are undoubtedly shocked. Others aren't suprised. Some may be deeply troubled while others likely snickered because you are used to this kind of explicit exposure and sexual suggestion in our culture.

This brings me back to the teenager at BP - the guy who endangered my life by smoking at a gas pump - and his t-shirt which said, "Hi. You'll Do." What does this kind of message say about attitude of men toward women in general? I know that many would argue that this is simply a crude joke. However, it think it is indicative of an increasing indifferent attitude among males toward the personhood of women. I recently read an article in which 1000 boys were surveyed regarding girls, dating and sex. More than 1/2 of the boys felt that if they spent a significant amount of money on a girl she was then obligated to express their gratitude in some kind of sexual way (it didn't specify what kind of sexual activity was expected, but even to suggest that a teenage girl is obligated to kiss a boy who takes her on a date is ludicrous). What is more shocking is that the boys felt that $10 was a significant amount of money. That's right. Many boys in today's society think our daughters should turn some kind of sexual trick for as little as $10.

What was this kid's t-shirt communicating to every girl who read it? I don't care about you. I don't care about your likes and dislikes. I don't care about your dreams. I'm not interested in conversation. I only care about me. I care about what I want and what I think I need right now. What I do care about is that you take your clothes off and let me think about me while I enjoy making me happy. That's right. You'll do because this isn't about you. It's about me.

You should find this troubling. We live in a culture where sex and sexuality is rapidly being reduced to nothing more than a physical workout void of any real emotion, commitment or concern for the well-being of the partner. Sex, in the 21st century, is about me. The world is saying, "I don't care about you. I care about me. Now give me what I want." This is real and it should frighten us all.


At 11:51 PM , Blogger Colton Branson said...

I agree with what you wrote. Our generation is getting worse and worse when it comes to sex and how guys see girls as just a pawn. What I don't agree with though, is how you said $10 Isn't a lot of money! Man, I have to work a hard 2 hours for that $10, and at the Shoe Dept, that can seem like days! Haha


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