The black shirt, which has the word “trophy” in bold white letters across the front and costs $12.99, has many slamming the retailer for treating women and girls as objects. A number of customers have been posting photos of the T-shirt, which some say they spotted in the junior’s section, on social media, publicly criticizing what they say is a sexist move on Target’s part. While the shirt has reportedly been on sale since June, it’s only recently gained steam on social media.
"Dear Target, why are you selling shirts that describe women as obtainable objects such as trophies?” wrote one user on Target’s Facebook page. “It’s honestly appalling. I’m nobody’s trophy, and I sincerely hope that in your eyes, women are more than something to be won.”
Plenty of women echoed those sentiments. “Losing outdated, ridiculous attitudes toward women could be helped if everyone, Target included, chose to stop marketing to women as though they were objects. When was the last time you saw a men’s shirt that said ‘provider’ across the chest? Let’s all do what we can to lose the stereotypes,” wrote one Facebook user. And in a tweet accompanying a photo of the shirt on display, one user added “@Target under what circumstances should any human being wear a T-shirt that indicates that they are a ‘trophy’?”….
One woman has even started a petition on Change.org demanding that Target stop selling the shirt. “The truth is that millions of women and young girls are taken as ‘trophies’ every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery, and rape,” writes Amanda R., the author of the petition. “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 word trophy should not refer to any person, man, or woman because we are not THINGS — we are human beings. 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.”
And naturally "rape culture" has made its obligatory appearance:
Beyond sexist trophy wife connotations, the petition claims the shirts perpetuate rape culture on college campuses and beyond. "What's worse is that the use of the word when referring to women encourages a rape culture where women are merely objects, not humans, to be used for men's pleasure," A.R. continues in the petition. "A large part of the studies done with college campus rapes found that the attackers often took a 'trophy' from their victim, be it a pair of panties, bra, photograph, or even video, to later revel in their 'victory.'"
So far Target has been holding firm–although it's probably just a matter of time before the abject apology crawls out from under the corporate rock:
"It is never our intention to offend anyone and we always appreciate receiving feedback from our guests," says a Target representative of the Trophy T-shirt. "These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests."
And that's drawn the inevitable scolding from Jezebel:
So the ugly shirt isn’t sexist, it’s just a fun wink! Kind of like how catcalls are just friendly observations.
So now I want to run a "Which Shirt is the More Sexist" contest: Is it the Target "trophy" shirt or this one? You, dear readers, decide.