Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Pick on Targeted Groups...Except Boys

A few years ago, a man in Florida named Thomas Goldman was making big money off his new t-shirt line, targeted to teenaged or pre-teen girls. The t-shirt line "poked fun" at boys, by categorizing them as inept and simulating acts of violence on them. Some t-shirt slogans (complete with illustrations) included:

"Boys Make Great Pets"

"Lobotomy: How to Train Boys"

"Boys are Stupid; Throw Rocks at Them"

"Boys are Smelly, Kick them in the Belly"

Personally, I don't have a problem with these shirts. If I were to pass someone wearing one, I would not be offended or feel threatened. But I do have a problem with the double-standard these shirts demonstrate in our society. That double standard is that it's ok to make fun of boys, but not ok to make fun of other groups. Not just on T-Shirts, either. Many movies seem to have a man who is a bumbling, inept oaf, and everyone finds this funny. Everyone finds it hilarious when a guy gets kicked in the balls in the movies. Just like many young girls found the above t-shirts funny. Men are one of the few groups remaining in America who haven't been designated as "oppressed" or "disadvantaged", and so they're easy fodder for attack. But I get the sense our society would have quite a different reaction were someone to create a t-shirt line with these slogans:

"Women Make Great Pets"

"Blacks are Stupid; Throw Rocks at Them"

"Jews are Smelly, Kick them in the Belly"

I get the sense they wouldn't go over so well. Are there some minor differences in a shirt that refers to violence against a race or religions instead of violence against a gender? Probably. It's not a perfect analogy. But if you substituted "girls" in for "blacks" or "jews" you'd have an outcry from many feminists. Which reminds me of another cool trend: masculism!
http://www.urbandictionary.com/products.php?term=Masculism&defid=3392194

PS - Thanks to Bernard Goldberg and his book "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America" for the idea and and some of the content of this post.

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