Most of us not only frequently shop at Target but also really like the store for its unique selection, trendy clothes and general awesome atmosphere (making it almost seem human for a chain department store). That's why we were so shocked and dismayed to hear about a graphic tee Target is selling that has now come under serious fire. A woman in Milwaukee recently started a petition on Change.org asking Target to ban the sale of this T-shirt for women which references the common, yet demeaning, term "trophy wife."
While some see it as innocuous (Hey, guys call their wives 'trophies' all the time, right?), most argue that the T-shirt instead promotes the age old misogynistic idea that women are merely objects or 'trophies' for male sexual pleasure and nothing more. Amanda R., the woman who began the petition, wrote that labeling any person as a "Trophy" is demeaning their humanity and objectifying them as a tangible object that can be bought, used and disposed of." She argued that "millions of women and young girls are taken as "trophies" every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery and rape. The perpetrators see women as "things" that are bought, sold, traded and 'won' through force where they are then beaten, abused, tortured, raped and murdered for the sole purpose of 'victory.'"
The petition is gaining momentum, with well over 11,000 signatures (although 3,000 more are still needed to reach their goal). The more disturbing fact of this saga perhaps is that this isn't the first time Target has been accused of sexist acts. In June, an Ohio mom accused Target via Twitter of promoting sexist values when she saw that in stores there were differentiating signs for "Building sets" and "Girls' Building sets." The most unfortunate thing perhaps is that in both of these cases not only has Target refused to take any action to remedy the situation, but they failed to even apologize for the harmful stereotypes they helped propagate. In both times, Target issued statements trying to justify their actions, rather than accept their faults. For the most recent transgression, they said (and we quote): "These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests."
It might be difficult to believe that such blatant examples of male chauvinism are readily on display at major retailers, but we hope that this will be an eye opener to critics who claim that feminism is "unnecessary" and that America has reached gender equality. We encourage you to sign the petition and send a message to Target that we won't stand for sexual objectification!