These are both amazing and weird times that we live in, folks. After all, in this 116th American congress there's more women than ever before serving in decision-making positions. Yet, women still make up less than a quarter of the bodies in the legislature. We've raised RBG to icon level status (get it, girl!), but there have only been four women to ever serve in her position at the supreme court level. And, the last justice this country swore in was accused of sexual assault before the legislative body prior to promising to serve the American people.
While the MeToo movement took the internet and several powerful men by storm, there's clearly more ground work that needs to be done. The silver lining is that voices are being heard, women are speaking up, and tomorrow looks brighter than ever. Historians have dubbed this period in history the 'fourth wave of feminism' which is targeted to make women more autonomous than ever when it comes to careers, choices about their bodies, and family planning independently. If you've been on the front line of the movement or just happy to cheer on those that are, here are 20 shirts that you're going to need. A few are sized for little future feminists too.
I heard this while watching the Cartoon Network's DC Super Hero Girls with my daughters- "One woman's success does not preclude another's." It was muttered by a high school aged Wonder Woman to her nemesis (because of course an Amazon would think this way). It, like this tee shirt, means that when a lady makes it to the top she should reach back and give another woman a hand up. It's these women who become the Gayles and Oprahs of our world. That's no small feat, but becoming next level like that is easier with a push from another powerful woman. #girlgoals
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The saying goes, "If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm." However, some women are more storm than sunshine. That's okay. In fact, it's something to be celebrated. It's those stormy personalities, those forces of nature that won't be quieted, that become the Frieda Kahlos and Sojourner Truths. After all, Sojourner Truth had the gall to butt heads with Frederick Douglass when he tried to encourage people to take equality by force. She did so again when he undervalued the need for women's voices in the movement for true freedom. She famously asked, "How came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and woman who bore him. Man, where is your part?"
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After savvy star Jameela Jamil told the story of how a man once punched her in the face after she rejected his advances, a commenter left this post- “It’s gross that you had to mention that you were already taken by another man (we’ve probably all done this) to try to ‘let a man down easy’ in order to stay safe and that didn’t even ducking work.” We need to change the narrative. All people need to know that any woman has the right to say 'no' without having to mention another man. A woman doesn't belong to her father, her boyfriend, or even her husband. It's not 1802, boys.
Want to buy it? Get it from LexiesSilverLining on Etsy, $18
Here's a shirt for your boss days. Beyonce says, "Who run the world? Girls." If she says it, we must believe it. After all, the woman's won awards in the music, fashion, and retail industries. She does all this while being a mama to three kiddos, befriending the likes of Michelle Obama, and traveling the world with the husband she sang about on Lemonade. It's said that you can't have it all, but women are no longer willing to accept limitations. Wear this shirt when you refuse to be stopped, limited, or into sacrificing one thing you love for another. Who run the world? We do!
Want to buy it? Get it from girltownapparel on Etsy, $22+
Despite the warning inherent in shows like Handmaid's Tale, we hold out hope that women of the future will get a 50% share of the world. This shirt says so. Every day there's another step forward, and our great grandmothers would be (and sometimes are) amazed by the freedom of our lives. Just seventy years ago women were just entering the work force because the men of the country had gone off to war. The Rockford Peaches broke into baseball since most able bodied men were engaged in the war effort. From their sudden freedoms found in wartime to our ability to live on our own and take up powerful positions, we've made exceptional progress. The future holds more leaps for our own grand kids.
Want to buy it? Get it from Tee4meClothing on Etsy, $21.50
We do! We do hustle harder! And, we have to. There's still a gender wage gap and internet trolls like this one who believe that women belong in the home. Thankfully, we're aware of the problem and working to eliminate it. Women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are leading the charge in congress to close the wage discrepancy between genders. Can someone send her this shirt? If anybody embodies this sentiment, it's AOC. Plus, her nearly four million twitter followers will love it.
Want to buy it? Get it from girltownapparel on Etsy, $25+
And she did. Maya Angelou was nine when her parents’ marriage fell apart, was shuffled with her brother between her grandmother and back to her mother, and then was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. Afterward, she fell completely mute. She didn’t speak again until she was fourteen. Somehow, despite that, she ended up getting attention in high school for her drama and dance studies. She became pregnant as a teen and was charged with raising her son on her own. Maya Angelou went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and teach at a prestigious college. That’s not just rising. That’s a full ascension.
Want to buy it? Get it from RebelUsApparel on Etsy, $16.99
Business Insider says, “Everybody knows how important first impressions are. But not everybody knows that the "first impression" is actually only a seven second window upon first meeting someone.” Often, women get assigned labels in that window that are completely unfair. Rarely does someone see a woman walked down the street and think, “She’s smart.” However, that’s got to change. It’s 2019. Women are killing it in fields like engineering, aerospace, and athletics. There’s a female NBA coach. A woman is the acting CEO of General Motors while another just spearheaded the project that took the first photograph of a black hole. Women are smart, and the world is taking notice.
Want to buy it? Get it from ShopMoxieMaven on Etsy, $21.99
This shirt and the saying it boasts were inspired by Senator Elizabeth Warren. She was objecting to the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, as Sessions had a dark history of not treating people of color with curtesy and respect. She quoted Ted Kennedy’s earlier comments on Jeff’s integrity and wanted to read a letter by Coretta Scott King about Sessions’ backward understanding of civil rights. Yet, Mitch McConnell disagreed with her and led a vote to not allow Warren to read the letter on the Senate floor. Warren did it anyway. McConnell silenced her. When asked why he did so Mitch uttered the phrase, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Mitch became an instant meme, and Warren was catapulted to feminist signage everywhere.
Want to buy it? Get it from sunnydazestudiouk on Etsy, $20.02
Ursula. Sea witch. Eel wrangler. Feminist? Okay, probably not. She did advise Ariel that men don’t like talkative women and to instead use “body language” to make the prince kiss her. Yet, these words are wise. If you’re a Disney stan and feminist (hey, we exist), this shirt’s for you. It also gives off the “villains have more fun” vibe. Refusing to be silenced any longer is the impetus behind both the Times Up and #MeToo movements. Women are refusing to be quiet. We’ve learned the value of our voices. As a group, we’re refusing to ever be quiet and biddable again.
Want to buy it? Get it from LostGifts on Etsy, $16.99+
Cyndi Lauper sang this tune in 1983. Who could have known that more than thirty years later she’d be walking with her fellow feminists down the streets of New York during the Women’s March? Cyndi said being part of that event inspired her to team up with Planned Parenthood and the True Colors Fund to release a “Fun…damental rights” shirt. She donated the proceeds to those two organizations. True Colors exists to stamp out homelessness among LGBTQ youth. We’re here for both the fun and the resistance. So is Lauper. We also love that the song that inspired this shirt was released on Cyndi’s album “She’s So Unusual.” That’d be a good tee, too.
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Women are no longer pigeonholed into being a nurse, a teacher, or a secretary only. Those days are long, long gone (unless you’re a Duggar daughter). Then, you’re encouraged to marry young, produce a ‘quiverful’ of babies to takeover the earth, and to do all that while being ‘joyfully available’ for your sexually needy husband. Eew. For those of us planning to raise daughters to be something besides babymakers, this tee represents the power and potential intrinsic in our little girls. Yeah, she can be a CEO. She could also be an artist, an inventor, or a president. That is, unless you ask rapper T.I. who said, “the Loch Ness monster” is more likely to be elected than a woman since the latter are so unstable. Yay for not being his daughter.
Want to buy it? Get it from HappyLifeClothing on Etsy, $20
Having seen the impact of the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana on England’s economy and pubic relations, it’s an easy jump to make to say that princesses are mighty. After all, Business Insider claimed that, “Like Kate Middleton before her, Markle's entrée into the royal family is expected to bring a huge boost to the British economy, this time to the tune of $1.4 billion (£1 billion).” And they’re not the only lady royals who’ve run the world. Hatshepsut was an indomitable female pharaoh, the OG Elizabeth won several military battles while on the throne, and Queen Boudicca beat back the invading Romans. Oh, and Rapunzel hit that charming intruder upside the head with a frying pan.
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A strong woman is…well, that’s up to you to decide. Most would agree though that a strong woman is a confident woman, a resilient woman, a woman who speaks up for others when they can’t. A strong woman teaches her daughters to be strong as well, both actively and just by being herself. However, strong women still make mistakes, must ask for help, and fall down every once in a while. There seems to be a stereotype that feminists are ice queens. Even Grace Kelly said, unfortunately, “Emancipation of women has made them lose their mystery.” There’s only one mystery here- how to raise daughters not to speak or think like that.
Want to buy it? Get it from GiftsByKiley on Etsy, $20+
Okay, so Wonder Woman’s real origins are a little murky. She was written by the male inventor of the lie detector test, who was in a committed relationship with two women at the same time. One was an attorney and the other a medical student. It is rumored that the women together inspired the Wonder Woman character. However, since then, Wondie has morphed from a female version of overpowered Superman to something entirely different. She’s an Amazon, a leader of men, and, most importantly, a staunch advocate for all women. Just watch DC’s new Super Hero Girls cartoons to see how little girls of today are still relating to her, some seventy years after her taboo creation.
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This sentiment was really embodied in the MeToo movement and showed the world how powerful women are both when they’re speaking up and when they’re lifting someone else’s voice. It's also is clear in documentaries like ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’ You don’t have to be a woman he preyed upon to want to see justice for those that’ve had to escape him. Women have learned that when you’re not quiet about abuses, you’re not alone. Sisters will stand up and support your claims. Even in the case of Christine Blasey Ford, who was drug through the mud on conservative media, inspired others to speak their truth. After her, two more accusers spoke of their similar experiences. Their justice, we can only hope, will be found someday. Then, we can all celebrate.
Want to buy it? Get it from SalteesApparel on Etsy, $20+
Who doesn’t love Catwoman? She’s a gal who somehow gets away with living by her own rules, taking what she wants, and evading the smartest, richest man in her world. She also flips sides when it suits her. Yes, she steals from the rich and gives to the poor. She also has saved cities and looked damn good while doing so. She’s been re-branded a few times, but she always comes back to the street wise shadow figure that both opposes and entices the Batman. She also proves Grace Kelly so wrong. An emancipated woman does not lose her mystery. Not at all.
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In case you don’t know, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86 year old supreme court justice who’s been busy throwing down for women for the past 60+ years. Before her appointment by Bill Clinton, Ruth was an attorney taking cases before the supreme court, fighting for equal treatment for women in the eyes of the law. Before even that, she was a law student who tied for first in her class at Columbia, where women were just starting to be admitted. She’s told people she does, in fact, have a cache of Notorious RBG tees which she distributes as gifts. Can I get one over here?!
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Princess Leia is the Disney princess who saved herself. Yes, she sent a droid to Ben Kenobi for help, but she also provided cover fire for Luke to blast the Death Star’s control panel. She used the force in The Last Jedi to save herself from space when the bridge was blown up by Kylo Ren’s lackies. Leia was the daughter of a queen and the ultimate baddie, became a general in the resistance, and then gave birth to the universe’s next unmatched villain. While she’s given a love story plotline in the series, she’s so much more than a romantic heroine or a princess. She’s someone who sees inside people, who inspires fantastic loyalty.
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Vulture called the princess of Wakanda, "the Disney princess we deserve: young, gifted, black, and already rolling her eyes at your ignorance." We couldn’t agree more. After all the glass ceilings and stereotypes that Black Panther broke, we still can’t help feeling that the stand out character was the young woman who happened to be the smartest person in the entire world. That’s right, people. Shuri was advancing tech farther and faster than Tony Stark (and he’s Iron Man). In the comics Shuri goes on to become the next Black Panther, following in her brother’s footsteps. We’d wear that movie’s tee shirt, too.
Want to buy it? Get it from G33kChicMerchStore on Etsy, $26.99+
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