I read an article on inspiring feminist digital campaigns yesterday. Some of them were awesome, you know? Good work, fellow boob-havers, march on, etc etc. I was sort of going to gloss over this part, but since I'm giving examples to the contrary in a moment on the same sort of thing, let's be fair and say that it's a VERY GOOD DAY when Amazon is compelled to stop selling t-shirts that encourage rape and violence.
Scroll down a little further, though, and there's a similar story which rubbed me the wrong way. Apparently I get all hot and bothered about t-shirts, whatever, that's something to jot down for my future therapist. I have already written the second part of this entry, all lit up with righteous fever and defending the freedom of speech and stamping my feet about silencing a portion of the community just because someone doesn't like it, and yes, you could call me a hypocrite for wagging my finger at one example and overriding another, but come on: there is a difference between arguing the merits of suggesting a good idea for keeping one's calm is to punch one's wife, and arguing against the wholesale removal of Disney t-shirts because the girl option didn't include the alternative of being Thor or whatever.
I think we can all agree that the rape tshirt removal wasn't censorship - like, I'm sorry, are we offending the rapist portions of the community here? GOOD. But there's more to these Disney t-shirts that were forced off the line. Let me show you them:
None of the heroes on the red t-shirt are women. They're the Avengers, and though I cannot back this claim up with comic book knowledge, my thorough awareness of the movie (Read: I watched it a bunch of times) tells me that the only female Avenger is Black Widow. If you're going to get pissed off that there's only one girl in the Avengers, go and tell Marvel or whatever. Maybe Disney started off thinking: Okay, we'll have the boys on the boy t-shirt and Black Widow on the girls' t-shirt, grand, good, marvelous.
And then they saw Marvel's Black Widow.
I have gone WAY off topic. Again. I am trying to get to a place to segue in the stuff I wrote earlier, but I keep galloping off in the other direction.
I'm not going to be able to find a smooth way into it, and I don't want to erase it because it felt important when I was writing it. I think in the end I was kind of mad that Disney, who seem to be taking such strides in the right direction with their movies (Tangled had the princess rescuing the prince, Frozen's act of true love was between sisters) getting slammed for what was probably an off-hand decision. Sometimes a t-shirt is just a fucking t-shirt.
There is no easy way to segue into what I wrote before, it'll have to be a smash-cut. Here it is:
They're telling you censorship is a victory when it never is. They're saying that their freedom costs the voice of others, and that isn't freedom, that's profane and they're only doing it because someone is watching. No one is forcing them to put these clothes on their children.
A solution could have been to make both versions of the tee for both genders, because you know what? Some girls want to be rescued. Yeah, sorry. For as many women there are who don't think men should be allowed to be saviours, there are girls who grew up with their minds in a tall tower, their hair tumbling down the vine-strewn sides, waiting to be rescued - not because they were tricked into that damn tower or because society made them think they had to brick up the doorway themselves, but because they wanted to be there. And for as many princesses there are, there are self-rescuing princesses, like me, who realised one day that 'Hey, if I hook my hair around this winch I can just climb out myself.." and then off they go to find a Prince, or a thief or a sailor or whoever they want. Whoever I want. Even if that's just me, because you don't need the Prince in the story to finish it.
And you know what? Silencing everyone because you don't like what you hear doesn't lead to evolution. It just leads to silence. That's not the answer, otherwise what are we all doing here? Why have a voice if you can't speak? In the end words are just words, and the only one who can give them power is you, how you react to them, what shapes they weave in your mind when you read them and you can't blame someone else for how you react. That's a whole different world of brothers and fathers and rape cultures and victim blaming and all of it is important, but not all of it is important all the time - I mean of course, that perhaps you're not angry because a little girl is wearing a t-shirt that says 'I need a hero' emblazoned across it. Let them want a hero, if that's what they want. We're not all Buffy, some of us are Snow White and what am I even saying, I'm doing it too, I've just realised. Look at where we are. Look around at how far we've come. It's not always a Princess in that tower. Sometimes it's a Prince. So why can't a boy who knows at ten who he is better than I will ever know myself wear a t-shirt that says 'I need a hero'?
Look how big the world just got.
And now, some pictures of the Avengers as women:
|Okay, this is just what they'd look like if they were POSED as Black Widow always is.|
|And.. yeah, pretty much just because it gives me a lady boner.|