I am not a fan of censorship, especially at the highschool level. I think young people should be allowed to express themselves how they feel. Repression is problematic, but what if how you are expressing yourself is detrimental to yourself or the people around you?
How do we feel about young girls wearing suggestive sexual slang on their shirts in highschool?
They’re blatantly sexual, occasionally clever and often loaded with double meanings, forcing school administrators and other students to read provocations stripped across the chest, such as “yes, but not with u!,” “Your Boyfriend Is a Good Kisser” and “two boys for every girl.” Such T-shirts also are emblematic of the kind of sleazy-chic culture some teenagers now inhabit, in which status can be defined by images of sexual promiscuity that previous generations might have considered unhip.
At Potomac Senior High School in Prince William, a girl recently wore a black T-shirt parodying the “Got Milk?” ad, with sexual slang replacing the word “milk.” Steve Bryson, the school’s administrative assistant, brought the girl into his office. “I asked her, ‘Why would you wear something like that?’ And she said: ‘I don’t know. My dad knows that I have it,’” he recalled. “So I called the dad, and, of course, he had no idea. He said, ‘Throw it away.’
One popular merchant of suggestive shirts is Hollister Co., a chain owned by Abercrombie & Fitch. Its shirts say such things as “two boys for every girl” and “FLIRTING MY WAY TO THE TOP.”
Asked about the messages his company markets to teenagers, Thomas D. Lennox, Abercrombie & Fitch’s vice president of corporate communications, said, “Our T-shirts are sometimes controversial, which we’re fine with.” He declined to elaborate.
Yuck, I hate Hollister and Co. We can’t really ignore the corporate motivation behind this notion of “controversial.” I mean is it really still student self-expression if everyone is wearing the same shirts and an entire company dedicated to marketing to young people is endorsing it?
I don’t necessarily know if the shirts themselves are so bad, as is the lack of sex education in most public schools. Are most young women getting the education they need around self-esteem and sex? Furthermore, an analysis of how corporate enterprise supports these shirts is impossible to ignore. How do companies like Hollister benefit from the “slutification” of young women?