Lock up your daughters!

Tomorrow’s Valentines Day! What better way to celebrate than with this t-shirt for your little boy!

OMFG Target. Are you kidding me with this?

This, my dear friends, is not cool. It’s not cool because it portrays boys as predators. Because it sends the message that it is okay for boys to act in a sexually aggressive manner, and that it’s even cute. It’s not okay because it suggests that girls need to be locked up to keep them safe from the uncontrollable urges that boys find themselves awash in.  It’s not okay because it says that it’s all damn normal. Isn’t it cute to normalize predatory sexual innuendo? FOR CHILDREN. (That t-shirt is a size 18mos. I found it in the toddler section at Target.)  (I’m pretty sure this was a tactic of the Taliban. Keeping women inside to ‘protect’ them from men who couldn’t control their sexual urges. This is an adorable philosophy to emulate, Target!)

And also? My son is not a predator. My son is not a rapist.

Wait. Rape? Who said anything about rape? Well, that shirt does. It says, “Keep your daughters away from me, because otherwise I might do something I can’t control, and can’t be held accountable for!” and because it’s cute-ified (is that a word?) on a t-shirt, we can all sit back and laugh about it. “Oh..haha…it’s cuuuuute.”

I bombed Twitter with this picture Saturday after I took it because I was so pissed about it, and one of my followers posted on Target’s Facebook page,

Very disappointed to see shirts that say “Lock up your daughters!” being sold at Target. Way to further perpetrate rape culture on Valentines Day just to make a buck.

The responses in the comments?

I just cannot handle anymore people being so overly sensitive!! Why is everyone always offended about everything??? How in the world is a little boys shirt “perpetrating rape culture”???

How does that sound remotely close to rape? Geez! I’m going to lock up my daughters from people like YOU.

I’ve read a lot of stupid posts on this page but this just takes the cake. I cannot understand how in the world anyone could be offended by that shirt!!

These are being sold in the boys dept? Aw, if I saw a little guy wearing one, I’d probably chuckle. If I saw a grown man wearing one, I’d think yeah right, dummy… now rape would never enter my mind. Especially on a little boy, geez.

Maybe you should analyze yourself and find out why you think a harmless little boys’ shirt is promoting rape. And this has nothing to do with defending Target. More like defending rationalism and common sense.

it seems people will find anything to complain about. I’ve seen that little boys shirt and there is nothing wrong with it!

Not surprisingly, the t-shirt is harmless and she’s (an I’m) too sensitive and over reacting. Yay! Rape culture and silencing all in one place!

I get it, I do. It’s just a t-shirt  but that t-shirt, combined with the idea that the message it’s sending is okay, partnered with all the other sex and gender messages that kids are fed combine to create an environment where men feel emboldened to commit acts of sexual violence because they’ve been told all their lives that it’s okay. Not too long ago I read something that said one of the reasons that sexually aggressive behavior is so common among  early-twenties men is because when they’re all sitting around in a group talking about sex, and women, and the talk takes an aggressive turn, no one speaks up. No one says, “Oh, shit, you had sex with her while she was passed out? Dude, you’re a fucking rapist.” Instead they all sit there uncomfortably and smirk at one another. No one wants to be THAT guy, so the behavior goes unchecked. And the more often men observe other men’s behavior going unchecked the more their own behavior is emboldened.

So, when I see shit like this, I check it. This is me checking the behavior. I’m that guy. And I’m okay with it.

The Mamafesto has a post up today that talks about kids clothing and gender messages too, you should check it out. (We didn’t even coordinate!)

11 Comments

Filed under culture, I get pissed, Uncategorized

11 responses to “Lock up your daughters!

  1. I agree that it’s encouraging the sexual stereotypres in society and is not appropriate for a small boy given its implications that he is some kind of macho hunter and women are his prey. Not sure I’d go as far as say it relates to rape though, as I think that comes from a different place. I knwo many macho guys who think that it’s a mans job to chase a woman rather than the other way round, but who would never force or pressure her if she said no.
    Interesting post though, it’s certainly made me think!

    • Well, I think the vocabulary ‘hunter’ and ‘prey’ establish a non-consensual relationship, and in that regard, I think rape is applicable.

      I also understand that there are men and women, who prefer a more traditional dynamic of the male as leader, or initiator, who are involved in mutually consensual relationships. But this t-shirt doesn’t represent a mutually consensual thought process, I don’t think.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Argh. I hate…HATE when people turn it around on you and say “why don’t you ask yourself why you see “rape” everywhere (or gender stereotyping or sexualization, etc…). It’s b/c we’ve become so offing desensitized to this shit as a culture that of course folks don’t even bat an eye. It becomes ingrained as “normal” and then folks who call them out are looked upon as having the problem. Riles me up to no end, and I’ll continue talking about why shirts like this, or PJs like the ones I wrote about make me uncomfortable and upset with our society. I’m so glad you spoke up and wrote about this!

    • I swear, the older I get, the luckier I realize I was growing up because my parents taught to me to see and challenge this stuff. Every time I hear someone say, “You’re making too big a deal out of this,” I want to fly at them in a rage and claw their eyes out, 1.) because DO NOT SILENCE ME, and 2.) Seriously? I don’t spend my life being exhausted by the volume of sexist bullshit shoved down my throat every day for you to tell me it doesn’t exist. Fortunately, so far, I’ve never actually clawed anyone’s eyes out.

  3. I bet if you complained about it sexualizing their sons instead of it sexualizing their daughters you could get more support.

  4. Nothing happens in a void. This shirt? and others like it? Are helping to build rape culture. You’re spot on and dont’ let anyone tell you otherwise.

  5. Yep, I’m totally with you. It’s a shirt supporting rape culture, and rape culture is so pervasive and acceptable that people get pissed off if you point it out (and them getting pissed off also supports rape culture).

    I loved your point about being willing to be the person who spoils the “good time” by saying, “Whoa, that’s rape!” Super important.

  6. Jay

    I’m just curious, if this is what you feel about this shirt then how do you feel about the ones exactly like it but made for girls.

    • I’m not a fan of shirts that frame sex, or sexuality, in any sort of violent or conquest form. Do you have an example of a shirt marketed to girls that I could comment on directly?

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