31 Aug 2008
When you can't do graffiti, you buy tees. With statements, meaningful or vague or queer or bizarre. Regardless, they attract attention and engage you. Some make for examples of good design work, some are loud, and some are bland. But it's only a few days ago that I realised some could be shocking too.
It was on my last two visits to a shopping mall that I spotted four girls - pretty, I must say, each of them carrying a guy along - flaunting the statements (prominently flashed across you know where) that shocked me. Thinkers who follow the leave-appearances-at-that school of thought may accuse me of being a pervert, but I found the statements obscene.
Statement 1: "36!"
Statement 2: "Dirty minds think alike"
Statement 3: "Look or you miss"
Statement 4: "Yummy! I love milk"
Given the perceived visual, I thought of... well, that's beside the point. Yes, it is possible to justify the statements by attributing their focus to other references, but that's a sheer idiotic exercise. That is denying the importance of context. Context is everything. If it was a drunk party or orgy, the captions would not have been out of place (literally).
It's not my business to question their rights to wear what they did, but I cannot help wondering if they are not going overboard. If they believe it reflects how bold they are in making such statements among crowds or how casual, "cool" they are in making them in such a matter-of-fact manner, do they also have it in them to take the gazes and comments of guys without any trace of discomfort, rage, or frustration? What exactly are they conveying by wearing such tees? Yes, tees have flourished as a medium for personal expression, but how good is it to exploit it to flash obvious references and religious/political allegiance (reminds me of a guy who flashed a pro-Nazi statement, complete with the Swastik symbol)? Is it not unfortunate that the young fail to find better examples than Britney or Paris or Hitler?
I don't pretend to know the answers to these and other questions that come up, but I am surely at a loss to see how their parents and siblings could allow such choices. Or do they think the girls are going to Mardi Gras? But then, maybe I'm just too conservative, because it didn't shock them or the girl herself. And when statements like "I am a bitch" are fast becoming fashionable, thanks to reality shows like Splitsvilla, this is, after all, a sign of things to come.
I reckon I have found the statement I will try on one myself: "If it's on the tee, it's on the mind".