T-Shirt Trouble

by phobrla

Today, I accosted a female student at my school. As she cranked a cereal dispenser, filling a stoneware bowl with Special-K, I asked her what the copy on her bright pink t-shirt was proclaiming. I calmly explained that I didn’t want to be construed as looking at her breasts, when I was piecing together the words and phrases on her shirt. As I made this clear, I realized that I had gone a step too far. The t-shirt, which advertised a student leadership conference, spoke of inequality and power dynamics. Mind you, it was no essay, but it had significantly more text than many other tees I’d glanced at before. After she very briefly outlined the copy to me, she glared at me and swung away.

            I’m supposed to be a male feminist, or a progressive Democrat, or a justice-mined Christian, but it so turns out that I fall into the stereotype of a misogynistic gay man more than I want to admit. I’m still not quite sure what I did wrong, and I’m not annoyed that she gave me the ‘stink-eye’ for my unwanted attention, but I can’t help but feel like I violated something by actively trying not to. I know that there are a great deal of double standards for women; does this faux pas with the t-shirt fall into one of those double standards.


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