A video on Buzzfeed prompted me to check out the online store for Forever21. I am way over the age of being allowed to set foot inside the establishment, but the video gave women’s reactions to some of their graphic t-shirts and I had to know what all the fuss was about.
What I discovered was an array of shirts which seem to be painting young girls as sexualized, uncaring, insensitive, and dimwitted buffoons. I am appalled at some of the slogans being marketed towards young women. Below are just a few that turned my WTF meter to 11.
So either you can be creative or you can be in love. Really? Turn on the radio, read a poem, watch a movie, and it is clearly evident that love can actually propel creativity to new heights. Seriously – what does this mean?
The subtext being, “But you wouldn’t know that by how I dress.” I guess smart girls can’t wear crop tops. Sorry ladies who express their personalities through fashion—if you want to be taken seriously, you better don a muumuu.
This cute script says “Trouble Maker.” Why should young girls ever consider being a trouble maker let alone advertise it? This is a clear play on teenagers’ need for acceptance and feeling like if they’re the “bad girl” they’ll be respected or popular. Despicable.
Risque: adjective. “Slightly indecent or liable to shock, especially by being sexually suggestive.” Because that’s a message that should be marketed to young ladies.
This one confounds me. Is the wearer saying she’s gross or that the person reading it is gross? I know this is supposed to be cute or something, but it just reads like a cry for help from an insecure young woman who needs to be built up, and offering this shirt to her does the exact opposite.
I believe the defense of this shirt is that the clothing itself is the fancy little number—like the new little black dress or something. But come on. Is anyone going to look at, or buy, the shirt with that intention? Absolutely not. All too much these days skimpy clothing and the idea of being “sexy” is thrown at girls because supposedly that’s how you get attention or affection and this shirt only exacerbates the problem.
“Likes” = love. False love. Ladies should not be told, even inadvertently, that doing things for “likes” is a worthy reason to do things.
Everything a hormone-battling young girl feels is intense and deep and difficult to bear. Therefore we should just tell her to avoid her feelings, not ask for help, and instead find solace in material things.
Sexualization and aggression all wrapped up in one black shirt. That’s exactly what I’d want my 15-year-old telling the world.
Evidently the way to a young woman’s heart is with a burger and a compliment on her exterior beauty. No need to tell her she’s smart or creative or inspirational. Nope. Just “pretty” with a side of fries will do.
The pièce de resistance. This was my mantra through my angsty teen years when all I wanted was for someone to tell me they did care about me. Now young women can just wear this shirt to divert everyone’s attention from the fact they really need someone to listen to them.
I understand these shirts are meant to be cute and trendy, ironic and funny, but they just make me sad that my daughter is growing up in a society where young women’s insecurities are being preyed upon for the all mighty dollar. It’s just wrong and unconscionable and flat-out disturbing. Shame on you, Forever21.
All pictures taken from Forever21.com