Back To School Shopping: Urban Outfitters T-Shirt Glorifies DrinkingMonica Bielanko
Another school year, another inappropriate T-shirt.
This time Urban Outfitters is the culprit and it isn’t even the retailer’s first controversy of the school year.
Earlier this month a mother objected to the store’s use of profanity on T-shirts. On the company’s homepage, there was a phrase that said “Punk as f%$*” There was also a symbol of a marijuana leaf, and the store sells stickers with both. As Danielle Sullivan reported here on Strollerderby, Margaret Gutierrez wanted the items and icons removed.
Now, as Shine from Yahoo reports, the clothing chain is promoting a provocative line of T-shirts with drinking slogans like the one pictured left.
But, as Shine points out, the joke isn’t funny considering the stats: alcohol use is associated with increased rates of sexual activity for teens, as well as decreased condom use. Not only that, but a recent survey reports that 1 out of every 5 teens reports drinking, smoking or using drugs at school.
Even though the under 18 crowd is the second-largest demographic that shops at Urban Outfitters, the T-shirts are perfectly legal. “You can’t pull them from outlets. They are protected under laws that allow the promotion of branded merchandise,” Janet Evans, spokesperson for dontserveteens.gov, the Federal Trade Commission’s program to prevent underage drinking, tells Shine.
In her post on the Urban Outfitters controversy earlier this month, Danielle Sullivan says her teen daughter shops there and that she didn’t really find the curse words inappropriate.
But I get the angst. A major retailer whose demographic includes children should probably think twice before placing the F bomb up on their homepage. And yet I also think that anyone who has ever been near a junior high school or on a city bus when school gets out has probably heard that word about 20 times within 10 minutes. It doesn’t make right. It is what it is and I’d much rather that word than a word filled with hate.
What do you think about the new T-shirts celebrating drinking? No big deal or very big deal? How would you feel if your teen came home wearing one? Does your opinion change if your teen is over 18? And what about your high school-age children who shop at Urban Outfitters? Isn’t the T-shirt sending a bad message or is it all in good fun?
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You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.