Problem Solved: Protestors get Kmart shirt pulled


Protestors in Toledo, Ohio were successfull in getting Kmart to pull the gross “Problem Solved” shirt they’ve been selling.

Many passing drivers honked their horns – apparently in support – as parents of young people who were slain in domestic violence, representatives of the Toledo chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Take Back the Night Collective, and others shivered in the 27-degree temperatures.
Most held signs referring to the T-shirt carried in Kmart’s boys department:
•”Attention Shoppers: Kmart has an attitude problem. Recall violent merchandise.”
•”Attention! Domestic violence in Aisle 7.”
•”Violent T-shirts: Get it off your chest!”
•”There is nothing light-hearted about domestic violence.”
During the rally, which lasted about 35 minutes, three parents of domestic violence slaying victims walked across the parking lot to the store to present a letter written to Aylwin Lewis, chief executive and president of Sears Holdings Corp., the parent firm of Kmart and Sears stores.

Spokesperson Kim Freely, who once said “we believe these attitude Ts are meant to be light-hearted in nature,” later released a statement saying that the shirt “is no longer available at Kmart…and we have no plans to reorder it.”
So big kudos to the demonstrators in Toledo!

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11 Comments

  1. Janet
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I live just outside of Toledo, and I cannot tell you how proud I am of those who protested against the selling of these shirts. Way to go Toledo! Never been prouder to be from Northwest Ohio!!

  2. philade
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Around when news of this was first reported, I saw a similarly disturbing advertisement for the Nicktoon network (a spinoff of Nickelodeon) while watching that channel with my 4 yr. old nephew. Similarly, it involved I think 2 stick figuresque male characters doing something violent to an annoying girl character in order to get rid of her – all in the context of it being good fun of course!
    What’s especially disgusting is that this shit is being presented to children in a context which implies this is totally acceptable and even fun behavior.
    Did anyone else see that advertisement? I tried to find it on you tube but couldn’t.

  3. Tokaia
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    *spits koolaid on screen* I can’t believe any place would sell a shirt like that! Well, actually, I’d expect something like that from WalMart… But not from K-Mart! It so transparently flaunts domestic violence. It may as well say, “Is your woman bitching at you too much? A shove or a slap will shut her ass up!”

  4. manda
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I certainly don’t consider myself to be a humorless old bitty, but that shirt crosses the line of good taste – no matter what the creator’s intention.
    My husband has a pair of sleep pants that follows along the same line. Instead of shoving the nagging woman, the man puts on a pair of headphones. I have the same design (switched gender) on a shirt. It’s always good to wear when one of us is being particularly bitchy about something stupid. To me, that’s a much more humorous way to point out one of the the occasional frustrations of couplehood without making a joke of domestic assault.

  5. manda
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    And that should be “biddy”, not “bitty”.

  6. Posted January 25, 2007 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I’m really glad they were successful here. Those shirts were NOT cool.

  7. ambidextrous amazon
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I agree manda, while the pants print could be considered disrespectful, it’s not anywhere close to depicting violence as a fun or acceptable way to solve nagging or other communication issues.
    A few holidays ago, I recieved as a gift a mug with the “boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” image. Superficially it’s fun (same with the Kmart shirt) but what is wrong with it, to me, overshadowed what was fun about it. I didn’t even have to play the “gender switch” game, but when I did, it was of course still Not Right. (Sorry, friend who gave it to me, I know you meant well.)
    I don’t know if this is irony, but I had to leave that mug (among lots of other things) behind when I fled the apartment I shared with my boyfriend-at-the-time because he had become increasingly verbally abusive and was showing signs of becoming physically abusive as well.
    It’s not just the violence aspect (although that is a big cause for concern) that gets me, but the depiction of women as not being human or worthy enough to, you know, actually communicate with. “Haha, it’s so funny when they get all uppity or mad about something. Communicate with them? Nah, just push them off a ledge, they’re all just obnoxious nags not worth listening to (unless you want some other kind of ‘action’, of course).” Oh, and the fact that it’s on a shirt specifically sized and aimed for kids.
    We sure are teaching them young, nowadays.

  8. Posted January 25, 2007 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Now they can make a shirt that shows a character pushing someone wearing the Problem Solved shirt off a cliff.

  9. thedivineash
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    its nice to see change.
    it makes me hopeful.

  10. Minervasp73
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    We did this in Madison too. Kohl’s was carrying it, and after a news broadcast (on which I was featured in Madison and Milwaukee) about the offensive shirt (same one as the Kmarts had), Kohl’s pulled it.

  11. Bloomberg
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Risk consciousness rises when conditions of uncertainty and the perception of powerlessness increase. Unable to control pressing issues, from environmental degradation, crime and health hazards to the imbalances created by globalization, the ‘system’ is to blame for what is wrong. This affects public perceptions and the emotional frame which guides perceptions independent of the reality of risk, so negating objective risk calculations. The sense of powerlessness, vulnerability and impotence begins to shape selfidentity.
    The responsible individual as potential maker, shaper and creator of the environment becomes a passive individual, always on the receiving end. The world is negotiated as a dangerous jungle with risks lurking in the undergrowth beyond the control of humanity. The author of circumstance becomes the victim of circumstance. Resilience, alertness and self-responsibility lose sway and by making claims we assert our authority and identity.

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