Really, Urban Outfitters?

urban outfittersurban outfitters
While Urban Outfitters find shirts supporting marriage equality too controversial for their store shelves, apparently selling father-daughter purity grossness is all good. Whether or not this was meant to be funny, it really missed the mark; all it does is give me the ickies.
Related:
Vintage Video Sexism: Kissing is for Whores
Time Magazine hearts Purity Balls
The Purity Myth!
My hymen belongs to Daddy
h/t to Charlotte.

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30 Comments

  1. Bridgette
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    If it’s suppose to be funny, then it really missed the mark. That would be like aiming for the heart and hitting them in the stomach (reference to The Jungle).
    Ugh…I can’t even come up with a coherent sentence about just how awful and offensive this is.

  2. paperispatient
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m amused that the shirt been reduced to $4.99 from $24 on their website. Perhaps that means no one else thought it was funny either?

  3. winniemcgovens
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Urban Outfitters seems to rely heavy on uncomfortable sexual themes. I remember a catalog came to my house and when I flipped through it all I could notice was how young and sexualized all the models looked, I felt like I was looking soft core porn. Emphasizing how prepubescent their bodies were with shapeless clothes, and seemed to focus more on showing that off than the actual clothes. Very obvious they really wanted to drive home the underaged sex vibe, gross.

  4. Lucy Gillam
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Eeeewwwwwww.

  5. MarySophia
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Seriously? This T shirt is obviously and entirely ironic.

  6. Brianna G
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    UO appeals to the hipster, ironic-is-everything crowd. This is clearly intended to be worn ironically, like most of their T-shirts. A quick check of the site reveals a lot of throwback advertisements, superhero references, and random “ironic” imagery like huge sunglasses. Of course, the problem arises that many will NOT interpret it ironically, since the sentiments are still common in some parts of the country.

  7. Liza
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    This is creepy as fuck.
    That’s all.

  8. antiprettysin
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    So, I saw this shirt, and didn’t find it funny, really, and ew i’d never actually wear it, but I actually kind of love it. To me it so perfectly encapsulates how skeevy and super outdated it is, that a woman’s virginity (which i’m not sure I actually believe in so much) could be considered everyone’s but hers.

  9. blickblocks
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I still have a bunch of clothes I got from Urban that I do wear, but I don’t shop there anymore after I learned of their ripping off R.E.Load, a very small custom bag company in Philly, the same town as their headquaters!! Stirring up controversy with a shirt like that is just that, controversial. Screwing a small and local company like R.E.Load is just wrong. I’m sure they do the same to other small niche businesses in the area.

  10. pokemontaco.wordpress.com
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s not funny. :/ if something is offensive and funny, more power to it.
    But I just don’t this or what’s supposed to be amusing about it. Unless it’s meant to be straightforward. In which case it’s still boring and sad, the art isn’t even good.

  11. pedestrian
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    You know, I’m in the right age bracket and location to get the whole hipster “ironic is everything” shtick, but it just irks me most of the time.
    The joke is always to disconnect a material object with strong associations from its normal context, and attach it to someone who is young, wealthy, privileged, and usually white. Rich young white girl dressed like a homeless person! Hetero male trying to look gay! Childish kitsch being used by a young adult! Native Americana! I read this as a statement of power – “Whatever I decide to wear, I still hold the power; I can keep you guessing, because I write the rules.”
    I think that a lot of the white male retro stuff has an added message: “We once had the power, and maybe we still do.” Maybe I’m taking it all too seriously, and I KNOW that not every shopper is making an explicit political statement, but that’s what I read into it.

  12. pedestrian
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    That message would be clearer if it were a woman sporting the shirt. On a man I think it’s a little too ambiguous.

  13. pedestrian
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I’d argue that “offensive and funny” is nearly always a power struggle. Offensive to disadvantaged people and funny to those with power is just cruel. Offensive to the oppressors and funny to the oppressed is subversilicious.

  14. IAmGopherrr
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Weird. I guess it can sort of be seen as funny if we didnt have the abstinence only atmosphere that we have that actually believes this exact thing. Maybe a guy could wear it ironically but the fact that we dont know why hes actually wearing it turns it into something thats not funny. Maybe its also supposed to be something like ‘protect your daughters from me because I’m out to take her virginity/have sex with her’ which would be even sicker since now its like a patriarch ‘war’ over females. Since I doubt its going to be worn ironically as I dont think urban outfitters demographic is exactly ‘there,’ I think its sick.

  15. Suffering Sappho
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Even if it is ironic, since it’s a men’s shirt, I think they are trying to play up the “You should embrace your sexuality and independence and have sex with me to prove it”. >_> Idiots.

  16. Mytrr
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I guess it’s one of those things like racism and sexism that just don’t exist anymore in the minds of some people, so they make “ironic” shirts like this and then wonder why they don’t sell. Even if this wasn’t an issue, this shirt still comes off more as creepy and weird.
    Also, using the image of Uncle Sam as the father is a double whammy, seeing as how so many people want the govt to control women’s sexuality. Gross.

  17. Audentia
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Of course the daughter is white.
    Women of color still cannot represent purity in the white (read: target audience) mind.

  18. asseenontv
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    You know the only thing that makes hipsterism somewhat okay, is that it supports tolerance and progressive tolerance. Hipsterism that won’t come out for gay rights is just abhorrent.
    That article says the founder of Urban Outfitters is a right-winger. This is just the perfect storm of awful.

  19. Gesyckah
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    The irony and intent is there, but the shirt design is just awful in so many ways.

  20. paperispatient
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    That’s a much more “glass is full” way of looking at it, and I kind of like that. On a similar note, I’ve been wanting an “Iron Hymen” shirt for a while (http://www.cafepress.com/thewhitehouse/245405) but am concerned that most people won’t understand that the site is a parody and that I’m not pro-virginity-policing.

  21. Gibsongirl
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    How exactly are sunglasses (huge or not) ironic? I’m curious…

  22. Melissa
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Well yes.
    But that doesn’t make it ok.

  23. Broggly
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I think I get how it’s intended to be interpreted. It’s satirizing how seriously people treat virginity. I’m not 100% sure (not being American and so being unfamiliar with all your historical imagery) but I think this is a WWI poster so it’s implying purity-types think virginity is as important as the lives of all the people killed on the Lusitania and lost in war. Plus, it’s saying they see themselves as the equivalent of war heroes for preserving their daughter’s virginity, an especially apt caricature given this era of Culture Warriors.
    It’s not a very nice looking shirt, though. In my opinion, when appropriating old art for shirts it looks better to just use the most important figure and cut out the background, although in this case that wouldn’t work too well

  24. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Like Vanessa said, it doesn’t really matter whether this was intended to be funny. Does that necessarily change anything? Plenty of kids from the po-mo, ironic-detachment-from-everything generation are incredibly sexist and appearance-fixated — the difference is that it may actually be worse because the irony gives them a level of self-awareness.
    Malcolm X said he preferred interacting with deep south whites because their racism was overtly expressed, whereas if he encountered a Yankee who was racist, he didn’t always know it right away. Similarly, if you meet a guy at a party who assures you of his rejection of outdated patriarchal beliefs, you might be surprised to learn that his rejection of them is based on the fact that those particular sexist beliefs are outdated and unstylish, and not because they are patriarchal.
    It’s not exactly cool to want to be a fifties housewife anymore, but that doesn’t mean there is no gendered pressure on women anymore — the locus has simply shifted from domesticity to beauty. This is what Foucault discusses in his History of Sexuality — the injunction to have promiscuous sex and talk about sex openly all the time, birthed by the sexual revolution of the sixties, didn’t necessarily liberate anyone if all it result in was a new pressure to be permanently sexy and sexually available — while being self-conscious enough to avoid any hackneyed, unsexy, and unstylish old-patriarch tropes.

  25. Ariel
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Dear Urban Outfitters,
    Satire only works when the extreme is beyond reality and human comprehension, hence emphasizing its absurdity. There is already plenty of fathers who pressure their daughters virginity and moreso it is condoned by society.
    To put it more bluntly: YOU FAIL!

  26. smartbunny
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I cannot even tell what the picture is supposed to be… is the girl draped over the man’s knee? It’s weirdly drawn.

  27. allegra
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Meh. Lame. Also, what the fuck is the girl in the picture even *doing*? She’s in a stupidly unnatural position, I can’t tell what the fuck she’s doing with her hands, and the white sheet over her head appears to be floating of its own volition. They could at least make a decent picture if they’re going to act like it’s super-cool-ironic.

  28. MisukoB
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised that so many press the “like”, and seems to think that something like this is okay, as long as you say that it is “ironic”, and thus excuse it. *sigh*

  29. OKathyS
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Ew. THat is just…gross, creepy… the list goes on.

  30. pesematology
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    It looks like a Married to the Sea caption to me.

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