Word across the web is that Target rolled out a line of marriage themed clothing for their women’s and plus sized departments, that includes the shirt shown below:
Naturally, my first reaction to hearing about this was initially “that’s really fucking sexist” and
I began plotting ways to burn down the nearest Target store. However, I’m working on being a more rational and open minded individual so I did a little Googling and found the articles below:
Please note the sources.
If I’m being honest, initially I decided to read Jezebel (as I almost always read Jezebel) to reaffirm the views I already had. And, yeah they seem to think the shirt is pretty damn sexist too.
I clicked on the Fox News article (as I almost always do) for what I thought would be an enlightening look into the conservative viewpoint. I was not surprised that they defended the shirt, but I was surprised that I agreed with their logic to a degree.
Labeling any human a trophy is dehumanizing. With women in particular this perception of being valued as a trophy effects how the world sees them and how they see themselves.
Fox asks; Does this dehumanization play into when a woman chooses to label herself a trophy? Fox says that if a woman takes control of the term and applies it to herself in a positive way (IE: “I am a trophy. Anyone would be lucky to have me in their life”) then the dehumanization (read sexism) is not a factor.
Power is a big factor in sexism.
If a woman chooses to be photographed nude or chooses to dress conservatively, she’s exercising her rights to her body and her image. She empowers herself through her active choice to participate in practices that have been used to take power away from women.
If a woman actively chooses to label herself a trophy, would the same be true? Or would it just be another case of a women feeding into patriarchal self depreciation where she’s actually demeaning herself, rather than regaining control of the situation?
It’s hard for me to say definitively. Part of it comes down to intention. Is the woman saying “Yes! My only value is aesthetic and I am to be won and claimed.” I would argue that is not empowering, even if it is an active choice.
If the women wears it in an “I’m-so-fabulous-beyonce-esque” kind of way, power to her.
However, while a woman wearing the shirt may mean one thing, at the end of the day I’m inclined to find Target guilty of sexism. First, the shirt is only for women. As far as my research went (albeit not super in depth) there was no male trophy shirt which speaks to how Target views women’s roles in marriage.
Second, it’s apart of a marriage themed group of clothing for wives, presumably as a play on the term “Trophy Wife” where the woman’s only value is her looks. It implies she is a thing to be hunted and won and displayed.
I feel comfortable saying that Target’s intent was for this article of clothing to be implying the term “trophy wife” and from that, I think if someone chooses to buy the shirt from Target they’re supporting that agenda whether or not that is their actual intention.
I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this situation! Would you buy it?
Until next time ❤