As per the usual Twitter ‘shitstorm in an egg cup’, today offers up the debate of Tasteless Tshirts offered by Foschini. If you read the comments below, it only reminds me that I am very, very glad to have left university.
Friend Thomas has adopted a life philosophy that makes perfect sense: ‘haters gonna hate’. Once I realised that he has a pretty good point, I realised that the best thing I could really do in my life is be a good example. I like to hope that when people say things like ‘atheists are horrible people’, others will say, ‘actually, all the atheists I know are good’ based on positive interactions. The same goes for feminism or vegetarianism or cheese-making or whatever belief system everyone wants to follow.
While I can see how the t-shirts might be offensive, I don’t think it helps anyone (and least of all the feminists) by calling for a company boycott. I mean, people’s jobs depend on those stores, whether it is the store manager or the cleaner or the cashier. It seems a bit childish to put someone out of work over an admittedly ridiculous shirt. If some sad idiot wants to wear it and advertise his inability to think further than his next porn download, then let him. Let him advertise his unsuitability and perhaps he will contemplate his shirt further. But when I think about how people have threatened to boycott my company at a time when we’ve already let go of a lot of staff (thanks, mitigating factors) over something as fucking stupid as keeping Playboy, then this all rings rather hollow to me.
(And Playboy is much less of an enemy to women than Cosmopolitan, I assure you.)
So, it is a little bit embarrassing sometimes when other feminists do things like this, but that’s up to them. We’re a big family in a way, and sometimes family does embarrassing things. I’m still a feminist (there isn’t really a better term yet) and while I might not agree with what the others say, I support their right to say it. I believe that people should be able to say what they feel is important as long as it isn’t hate speech. It might not be comfortable but if it needs to be said, then huzzah. Perhaps Foschini should have thought a little harder before they made the shirts, but perhaps we can direct this energy elsewhere. I know picking on the stores is easy but perhaps we need to consider that sometimes an opinion isn’t worth an innocent bystander losing their job. Thankfully this shouldn’t grow to the kind of level where people will lose jobs (I hope!) because its just a couple hundred people.
Still, I think it would sour the whole point if the cleaning lady lost her job because some other women were threatened by a t-shirt.