Is this T-shirt a deliberate trivialisation of domestic violence?


I’m struggling to decide whether the Topman T-shirt that’s been causing a stir today is a deliberate allusion to, and therefore trivialisation of, domestic violence; or whether it was intended to be worn as a kind of self-parody. Men, after all, are stereotyped for their ability to apologise for a whole host of offences, many of them minor, with the catch-all “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it”.

I imagine Topman’s defence will be just that – that by wearing the T-shirt, men will be effectively taking the piss out of themselves for being such dysfunctional individuals. In other words, it’s humorous banter.

But the reference to “you provoked me” does suggest violence in particular is the implied offence. No-one says “you provoked me” to justify not doing the washing up, or leaving the loo seat up again.

And let’s be fair, a lot of Topman customers probably lack the intellect or level of self-awareness to wear slogans on their clothing for the purposes of self-parody.

I’ve always disliked clothing that carries slogans and logos. It seems such an unimaginative way of declaring one’s allegiances; it’s saying “I don’t have any ideas or personality of my own so I’ll wear someone else’s ideas to try and create an identity for myself”.

If the intention of Topman designers really was to send young men out in public trivialising domestic violence, this T-shirt is tasteless at best. And even more so when worn by the type of intellectually vacant thug that one imagines will be the customer most likely to be attracted by it.

There’s some interesting debate on Twitter at the moment (#topman), with many outraged by this T-shirt and others arguing it’s a bit of fun and there are plenty of more offensive slogans and items of clothing available. Any opinions?

For more on this subject, here’s a link to a blog that focuses on the whole issue of Topman’s T-shirts and their alleged vulgarity. http://meowcake.blogspot.com/2011/02/vulgarity-of-topman.html

Here’s the link to the product on the company’s website. I wonder if it will still be there by the end of the day.

http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=33056&storeId=12555&productId=2650690&langId=-1&categoryId=&searchTerm=T%20shirts&pageSize=20

4 thoughts on “Is this T-shirt a deliberate trivialisation of domestic violence?

  1. Al Voto says:

    Fuggetaboutit. Here in Jersey (pronounced “Joisey” for those who speak proper English) we appreciate men wearing these Tee’s (especially Guinea tees and “wife beaters”). It lets us know what kind of guy he is. Now, if he is either married or attached to one of our mothers, sisters or nieces, then we know how to handle the “sit” (situation), by smacking da guy around a while or punching his lights out! We have enough of these puny bastards around here who like to wear these outrageous shirts to get attention. So, we oblige cause we’re real “Goombas” (gents) here in North Jersey. But, if we come across any of those South Jersey (a.k.a. Jersey Shore) scum, we handle the situation and rid the planet of these vermin. Now, don’t get me started about South Philly, it would take an hour. 🙂

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