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Why This J.Crew Tee Is Causing A Tiny Sh*tstorm

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photo Via J.Crew

“Unfollow” “DISLIKE” “Goodbye JCrew” “I love this so much!” “YES!!!!” “What a great message!” These are some of the polarizing (and more sanitized) comments—currently nearly 1,000 of them—that have peppered J.Crew’s Instagram feed after the brand released a seemingly harmless image of a boy wearing an “I Am A Feminist Too.” t-shirt right before the Memorial Day break. The response to the $19.50 Prinkshop x Crewcuts tee is nuanced, but mostly falls into three camps, explained below.

The first camp is in an uproar against the concept of feminism in general, tying feminism (technically, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” according to Webster) to liberal politics. For non-liberal J.Crew customers, they thought the brand went too far to put what they viewed as politics on a children’s tee. Some comment examples from that camp include:
“Make a pro masculinity shirt then you might win me back.”
“Fucking liberals!”
“Google the word Communism…It’s about advocating equality for everyone! Treating everone the same. You see that’s just pure bullshit you just said. Feminism these days is just a man hating movement to spread nonexistent crap like the gender wage gap. Please wake the fuck up.”
“Can’t wait for the ‘feminism is cancer’ t-shirt Jcrew! It’s only fair!”
“While I take no issue with feminism itself, that the feminist movement has enmeshed itself with pro-abortion, anti-Christian, and anti-family values means that I no longer publicly identify as a feminist (which makes me profoundly sad). I am disheartened to see such a quality brand align itself with this kind of extremism, and I will encourage my friends to stop shopping your brand as well, until/unless this campaign is withdrawn.”
“@jcrew So disappointing to see this! Feminism is just about equality?? What a joke! Equality only for women who are liberal. I’m not welcome in your stores so I’ll shop elsewhere.”

The second camp, on the other hand, is excited about the shirt and has no issue with its message. These are the folks responsible for helping sell-out the t-shirt over the weekend (note: there are a few sizes still available on Prinkshop’s website). Those comments go a little something like this:
“All of these negative comments just show how necessary this shirt is. What a great message! Rather than a ‘boys will be boys’ top. this spreads love and equality.”
“We need to teach children equality at a young age? What could be more important to teach them? Than to love and treat all people equally? I love that this is a message J crew is promoting, and find it odd you wouldn’t want your children to believe in this message as well.”
“Yay, @jcrew! My family was needing new wardrobe items & you not only gained our attention but business! And shame, shame on anyone who would teach a girl she is anything less than #equal in anyone’s eyes! Praise the company that supports the child, that all children…and adults are treated #equally. Grateful to stand with J Crew!”
“Sure are a lot of women commenting here that are upset by equality. Yikes.”
“My mind is blown at the fact that people, most of them being women, are in these comments UPSET about supporting feminists. Why are you upset about equal rights, pay, and treatment? How could something so positive be so bothersome to you? Please explain to me.”
“I can’t believe that people, particularly women, have a problem with a boy wearing a feminist shirt. Feminists believe in equality for women. PERIOD. It’s a damn shame that equality is a political statement. The rest of you can go back to not being able to work, own property without a man co-signing, being sexually harassed without recourse. I AM FOR EQUALITY!”

The third camp, the minority for sure, is an interesting one. Parents who might even identify as feminists themselves, but are not into the idea of having their child wearing a t-shirt touting feminism.
“So sad @jcrew. Keep children out of it. They are too young to understand. This topic takes a lot of thought and examination. Most adults don’t even do that.”
“Yay for them. Political graphic tees for kids are still not cute.”
“Can we not force politics on young kids?”

What camp do you fall into? With so many self-identifying feminist mothers as our readers, we’re curious if you feel this shirt is something to be celebrated, or is putting any sort of verbiage on your kids (The Future Is Female onesies, Feminist crowns, Nirvana tees, and the like) a no-no in your book?

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