Walking through the market, I saw (repeated in several shops, as are all items at Camden) a couple of new lows in the 'funny' t-shirts department. I didn't have a camera with me, but had no trouble pulling up google images from online retailers.
First, life's "priorities":
Then, "your girlfriend, my girlfriend":
The sexism speaks for itself. But what I found really curious was that when I went to google these, to my surprise, I found quite different versions available. The "life's priorities" shirt above is apparently a parody of a popular line of inoffensive t-shirts in which the second panel features various sports (football, karate, weightlifting, etc- still all "manly" sports but that's another story). The "your girlfriend, my girlfriend" shirt comes with a variety of sexualized stick figure women in the "my girlfriend" panel, but in positions comparatively less demeaning than the one pictured here and on sale in Camden.
For example, less of the sexy hair and no high heels (though perhaps this one is equally demeaning):
I find this very interesting indeed. While I obviously have no way of determining the sequencing, my guess is that the more offensive t-shirts are newer, representing an evolution in pornification, hyper-sexualization, and just plain old sexism. Indeed, when I googled "your girlfriend my girlfriend t-shirt" again today to update this post, these two popped up (right at the top of the results):
Neither of these showed up in Google images when I googled last year. It will be very interesting to find out if they are on sale in Camden now.
The other interesting, and utterly depressing, fact is that the inoffensive "priorities" t-shirt and the (slightly) less extremely offensive/demeaning "girlfriend" t-shirts were not on offer in Camden. Are the vendors creating or responding to demand for more extreme sexualized degradation of women? Probably the latter- stocking what sells. Either way, these are grim signs for the full equality and respect of women.
What do you think? Has pornography influenced the types of images making it into the mainstream? How would you feel if you passed a man wearing the bukkake t-shirt above? (This actually happened to me a few months ago, though it was a different bukkake t-shirt. I felt really angry.) Do you think my guess is right- that the t-shirts are getting more sexually degrading and that the less offensive t-shirts are old school?