Target Australia has gone through a bit of a PR disaster this week after one of its girls’ T-shirts made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The $12 Batgirl T-shirt reads: “Batgirl to do list: Dryclean cape, wash Batmobile, fight crime, save the world.” Because young girls need to know that household chores are more important than setting goals for themselves (like being a superhero), presumably.
If you can’t see the damaging implications this type of message can have for young girls, here’s the thing: It supports outdated double standards between girls and boys by encouraging ridiculous notions of how a female should be represented (with her future seen only in menial chores and no further aspirations). On the other hand, the message that is being sent for boys is completely different. The male version of the shirt reads, “Like father like son, yes my dad is Batman.”
Is this really the message we want to be sending to our youth? That there are different standards to be upheld by each sex? That there are different goals and dreams for girls and boys? That it’s right for one sex to be told to reach for the stars while the other is left to fight for equality? Ninac Ollins? was right when she exclaimed that the shirt was “offensive.”
And she certainly wasn’t alone.
The outcry resulted in Target’s decision to pull the shirt from its shelves. The retailer said in a statement, “After reviewing and reading our customers’ concerns on the Batgirl tee, we have decided to remove the shirt from our stores. It was never Target’s intention to offend our customers with this item.” Yeah, that’s great, but in a way this response makes things even worse — a message like this is considered so “normal” that the sexist and offensive undertones went completely unnoticed.
It’s interesting to note that there are two very opposing views with regards to the tee. Not all moms find its message offensive, and some have been upset to learn that Target Australia pulled the shirt. Mum ?Leah Jayne Primrose? took to the brand’s Facebook account to share her thoughts, writing, “This is ridiculous my daughter loves batman now where am I suppose to get the shirts…”
Amy Costa? revealed she was eager to buy the shirt for both herself and her daughter. She commented, “Hey Target, how can I get my hands the Batgirl tshirt that you have pulled? I want one for my daughter and for me 🙂 I don’t think there is anything wrong them.”
Pete Curulli also expressed his outrage over Target Australia’s decision, saying there are other reasons to be offended, such as the fact “that you present a future where my daughter can’t appreciate a good laugh, irony, or have the opportunity to think and choose her freedoms herself.”