02 December 2010

Unacceptable. written by Selena Torrado

A few weeks ago, I found myself stranded at the mall after school with a couple friends. Trying to figure out how to control our growing boredom, we decided to go into Spencer's Gifts, a chain that I thought sold relatively innocuous gag gifts and vibrators. Innocuous these products were not. Never before had I stepped foot in a place where I felt uncomfortable and offended on the basis of my gender. The products shown below are only a sample of the numerous offensive and sexist things that the store sells. I left the store insulted, disgusted, and itching to do something proactive. Blogging seems to be the most immediate thing to do.
 "I Have The Dick, So I Make The Rules" This was the most blatant among ten or so t shirts which all had pretty much the same sexist message. I am guessing that this is supposed to be seen in a humorous and ironic light. However, we live in a world where this "Men Make The Rules" mentality is a reality. In many countries, most obviously those operating under Sharia law, male power is institutionalized and set in stone in legal documents. In our own country, we have a history of male domination and women having to fight for legal rights. Making a mockery of this is disgusting and socially irresponsible. I was honestly shocked to see this t shirt sold in a store. I imagine that if the t shirt said "I am White, So I Make The Rules" there would be a consumer uproar. I think that this sexist and equally hateful article of clothing merits the same anger.
"Hit Her In The Shitter" Which, I am assuming is a "witty and clever" (that was sarcasm) play on words, meaning both bathroom and anal sex. There is a COMPLETE lack of consent here. The verb "Hit Her" does not sound like a mutually agreed upon act, but rather a violent one. Advocating sex using a violent verb without the presence of or even implied presence of consent smacks of rape. Also, this objectifies women in the use of "her" as something only to "hit", and the placement of the women by the toilet, another object included in this act. So unbearably offensive and sickening.
"JHo Famous Fanny Love Doll: She's Your Puerto Rican Princess!" This pissed me off  above all else. It is racial stereotyping and sexism at its worst. The package also reads "J Ho is your Puerto Rican Princess. She's got the most celebrated ass in town and now it's all yours. You can enjoy every inch of this beautiful Bronx bombshell. Her thick, round butt is begging to be squeezed, spanked, and pounded deep. She likes it rough, rugged, and raw, so give her everything you've got and don't disappoint!  This doll has 3 tender love holes. This booty from the block will keep you movin' all night long."
This is obviously a mockery of Jennifer Lopez, who is one of the few publicly recognized Puerto Ricans in the US. I was offended by this as both a woman and a Puerto Rican. Most obviously, this is blatant objectification. Determining the worth of a woman by her parts- here, her butt- has the effect of turning her into an object. This "doll" represents a woman whose only purpose is to be penetrated by a penis. It represents sexual intercourse that is completely male-serving and unconcerned with the sexual needs and experience of the woman.
Now, add the racism. She is "Puerto Rican" and here Puerto Rican only means having a large, round butt, hoop earrings, tan skin, and 3 tender love holes. Given the fact that there is very minimal visibility of Puerto Rican women in this country, and the only mainstream visibility is Jennifer Lopez, who is mainly seen as a sex object, this has the result of all Puerto Rican women being sex objects in the minds of the average US citizen. This completely discounts the accomplishments, talents, progress, and struggles of the 3,855,608 Puerto Ricans in the US. As a young Puerto Rican woman who is actively involved in my community, devoted to my education, and accomplished in various academic pursuits, I feel completely misrepresented and insulted by mainstream culture.

What is most alarming to me is that these products are sold in the main mall in my town, in a store open to everyone and frequented by thousands of people every year, and never has anyone spoken up about this. Here is a national chain that makes a huge profit off of marketing sexism and racism as humor. We need to remember that as consumers, we have the right to complain and take action against products that offend us. I am going to call the store and complain, as well as start an email writing campaign. I will post my email on this blog so that anyone who wants to can send a duplicate to Spencer's.

Contact Info for Spencer's in Ithaca:
Phone: 607-257-5955
Email Link: http://www.spencersonline.com/CustomerService.aspx


Anonymous said...

I'm glad this made you angry. Feminazis deserve to be uncomfortable, pseudointellectual religious nutjobs, the lot of you.

Anonymous said...

Women in Ghana get their clits chopped off ritualistically.

Muslim women get burned, acid thrown on or worse.

Yet here in America we rage against t shirts?

I say allow the shirts. You see a guy wearing one and you'll know to not date him.