To the Editor:
As a graduate of an all-girls’ school, I grew up acutely aware of my gender and all the social implications that went along with being female. Yet, I believe the decision to pressure Urban Outfitters to pull the shirt discussed in Allison Phinney’s article (“Touchy T-shirt pulled from store’s racks,” 9/27) was somewhat rash and impulsive.
My reasoning does not stem from support of violence imposed against women, whether it may be through images or literal acts. But I feel that by pressuring the shirt off the racks, women are once again a “victim” of the social construct we so vehemently oppose.
Furthermore, the discussion on gender that should have emerged in response to the shirt seems to have become more a debate on free speech and constitutional rights. What frightens me and leads me to think twice about my disapproval of the removal of the shirt is the comment made by Russell Greenberg about women objectifying themselves.
The dangerous fact about sexuality is the duality of its nature. There is a certain amount of power in a woman’s body, but when objectification is imposed and women are subdued by it, that amounts to violence. People have to be cautious about that distinction.
I do not support the shirt or what it represents, but I feel that women have to respond actively instead of reactively. For instance, maybe Urban Outfitters should manufacture a T-shirt of a naked man, paralleling the one of the naked woman. One may argue this idea may perpetuate the problems, but at least the discussion would continue and opinions could be heard.
Ji Park ’02
September 27, 2001