Monday, June 16, 2014

A sad shirt

I saw someone link a very sad thing off of Amazon today.  It is a Tshirt meant to be worn by a father that is addressed to the men who might date his daughter.  It goes as follows:

1.  Get a job.
2.  Understand that I don't like you.
3.  I am everywhere.
4.  You hurt her, I hurt you.
5.  Be home early.
6.  Get a lawyer.
7.  Don't lie to me, I will find out.
8.  She's my princess, not your conquest.
9.  I don't mind going back to jail.
10.  What you do to her, I will do to you.

Cute, right?

I mean, look at what this says about the Tshit wearer.

1.  I insist that you conform to social norms about men as breadwinners.
2.  I don't want my daughter to experience sexual pleasure.
3.  I have superpowers.
4.  I believe in vigilante justice and violence as solutions to teenage angst.
5.  I don't think my daughter is able to make decisions on her own.
6.  I plan to use the power of the state to enforce my personal decisions on you.
7.  I have even more superpowers.
8.  I own my daughter, you don't.
9.  I am a violent criminal.
10.  I intend to have awkward conversations, clumsy makeouts, and professions of eternal love with unwilling teenage boys.

So the wearer of this shirt is a violent criminal with a variety of magical powers who is a misogynist and who also apparently romantically into teenage boys.  It seems to me that this is pretty much the perfect mix for a cartoon villain.  I mean, the main part of it is just classic Evil with a side order of rape or at least sexual interference tacked on at the end just for fun.  I get that people wear Tshirts sometimes to appear evil or to get a laugh by pretending to be but this shirt is actually an attempt at being cute, loving, and protective.

It feels like just another twist on the Moose syndrome - in which men are encouraged to be violent and destructive but it is framed as being nice because jealousy excuses anything.  Of course Moose (from Archie comics) assaults anyone found even looking at his girlfriend and this is aimed at fathers but it is the same thing in the end.  It all hinges on the belief that women are property, their decisions and desires are immaterial, and men are justified in using violence on anyone that threatens their property rights on the women they control.

That this stuff is still seem as cute and endearing in mainstream culture shows just how far we still have to go in changing people's attitudes towards women.

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