Forever 21 Releases Weird, Rape-y T-Shirt: How Does This Even Happen?


Sometimes, finding cheap, affordable fashion that reflects the real you can be a challenge, you know? But it's a challenge that gross date rapists don't have to deal with anymore, thanks to a new, extremely rape-y, extremely disturbing T-shirt from Forever 21.

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The shirt, which is black and white and depressingly boring (outside of the text, of course), reads, "DON'T SAY MAYBE IF YOU WANT TO SAY NO."

So, let's discuss. Rape-y, right? Right. Maybe on a lady it'd be some kind of empowering reminder, but on a dude, it feels like an excuse to go ahead with nonconsensual sex. Which, of course, is rape.

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Also, the text leaving the box feels like some statement on "breaking boundaries" and "being revolutionary," but it could also just be sloppy design. Your call.

Forever 21 was called out big-time for this one, and here was its response:

Forever 21 strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously. With regards to the t-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product.

It's not the first time we've seen something like this -- it feels like just yesterday Zara was releasing concentration camp–like outfits for kids and Urban Outfitters sold a blood-spattered Kent State sweatshirt. It's not new, but it's still appalling -- how many people had to look at this shirt and give it a hearty thumbs-up for it to get all the way to the store?

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Even if the shirt doesn't have to be read as rape-y garbage (the other interpretation is that it's encouraging you to be true to your thoughts and say no when you feel it), the fact that it's still promoting the idea that a "maybe" could be anything but a "maybe" is dangerous, especially in a world that doesn't want to take women at their word. 

It could also be read as berating women for being "teases," which would be victim blaming and equally problematic. So, no. When there are so many dangerous subtexts to this, I don't care what you intended it to mean. Don't sell it, especially to men.

 

Images via Tupungato/Shutterstock; forever21.com

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