“We are not THINGS — we are human beings.”
A Milwaukee, WI woman has launched a petition calling for the retail chain Target to stop selling what she believes to be a sexist t-shirt.
The petition, posted to the Change.org website four weeks ago, calls for the removal of a shirt currently being sold in Target stores and online that reads “TROPHY.”
Amanda R., the creator of the petition, wrote an open letter explaining that the t-shirt perpetuates rape culture by suggesting “that women are merely objects, not humans, to be used for men’s pleasure.” She wrote that she was compelled to start the petition when she saw the shirt displayed in the junior girls department of her local Target.
“The word trophy should not refer to any person, man or woman, because we are not THINGS- we are human beings,” Amanda wrote. “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.
Dozens of commenters have expressed their support for the petition, sharing sentiments of agreement that the t-shirt is sexist.
“I’m signing this because I want my son’s generation to not see people as objects to be owned and displayed,” commenter Allison Blau added in her signature.
In June, Target came under fire when an Ohio mom tweeted what she felt were the sexist store signs that differentiated between “Building Sets” and “Girls’ Building Sets.” A representative of the retailer later made a statement in regards to the controversy, explaining, “Our goal is to provide our guests with choices.”
In her petition, Amanda referenced the retailer’s past history of criticism for sexism and gender bias, noting:
“It seems their prior offense taught them nothing about how corporate responsibility begins within their own stores… dozens of people approved this shirt before it hit store shelves, and THAT is a problem. The fact that no one at Target had the judgment to see this as demeaning and objectifying shows their ignorance to their own female market.”
When asked to comment on the shirt and the petition, a Target representative told The Huffington Post:
“It is never our intention to offend anyone and we always appreciate receiving feedback form our guests. The shirt… is part of a collection of engagement and wedding shirts that are available in our women’s and plus size departments. The collection also included shirts that say ‘Team Bride,’ ‘Mrs.’ and ‘Bride.’ These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.”
As of Monday afternoon, the petition had over 200 signatures.