I now understand why my parents wouldn’t let me go to the mall with my friends for years as a teenager. They were worried that I would be exposed to despicable trash like the t-shirts available for young men at Spencer’s gift stores. They just didn’t want their daughter to see clothing stating, “When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll take my dick out of your mouth.”
Mom and Dad, I understand now. You weren’t ruining my life. I’m sorry.
Alright, my over-protected childhood aside, Buzzfeed has discovered a veritable treasure trove of misogyny available for the young men who visit Spencer’s gift shop. This mall staple is best known for gag gifts and a naughty section that teens visit when they want to feel risque. Now, it’s the store that every mother should teach their children to avoid.
After seeing the nauseating collection of women-hating apparel, Spencer’s isn’t just the place for joke keychains and lava lamps. It’s less, “fun place to shop,” and more, “the place decency goes to die.” It’s depressing to think about impressionable teen boys walking in and seeing a t-shirt that reads, “Twinkle Twinkle little slut, name one boy you haven’t fucked,” and thinking it’s funny or witty.
When we see disgusting sexism like this, it highlights the importance of active parenting and teaching our children to respect themselves and respect those around them. These t-shirts prove that we can’t trust pop culture to help raise our children. We need to be educating them about the dangers of “humor” such as this. If you see your son come home with a t-shirt like this, here’s your teachable moment. Here’s when your son needs his mother most.
If your daughter wants to date a boy who wears shirts like this, you have every right to step in and discuss the importance of respect in relationships. You need to be sitting that boy down and explaining that his humor isn’t appropriate or amusing.
Somehow, in the decade since I’ve been there, Spencer’s turned in to the worst example of woman-bashing. It’s all the things we’re trying to teach our sons not to be. It’s all the sentiments we’re trying to protect our daughters from.
Some women are joking that at least if we see a guy wearing these t-shirts, we’ll all know he’s a horrible person. It’s like a douchebag dog collar. But I’m not worried about the grown men who choose to promote these disgusting “jokes.” I’m worried about the teen boys strolling through Spencer’s who begin to see degrading women as an enjoyable past time. I’m worried about the young girls those boys date, who begin to feel that they deserve to be treated poorly and insulted.
These jokes focus on treating women like pieces of trash to be used for sex and nothing else. They are the most blunt form of sexism and misogyny you can find. And this store is selling that hatred to teen boys across the country. I guess we all need to be a little more vigilant in protecting our teenagers from trash like this.