The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Designer’s good intentions turn tasteless

New “I was raped” T-shirt rubs us the wrong way

While wearing a T-shirt that conveys something about yourself is trendy, one woman has taken it too far. Jennifer Baumgardner has developed a new T-shirt that certainly makes a statement: “I was raped.” While the intent is good, the execution is not.

The design is simple: An illustrated safe with a small card inside with, “I was raped,” written on it is on the front of the shirt, and the back is blank. It’s not too flashy or busy, but the design itself isn’t the issue; it’s the format through which this message is being depicted that could create problems.

If the shirt was meant to be worn on a certain day for rape awareness or to a meeting for rape victims, that would be one thing. However, making the T-shirt for everyday wear opens the door to the possibility of parody or misuse.

It would be incredibly inappropriate for this shirt to fall into the rankings of shirts like those found on BustedTees.com. What if a shirt like this showed up for sale on that Web site? Ed Board appreciates a good Busted Tee as much as the next person, but the issue of rape has no business dealing with this forum. Rape shouldn’t be trendy.

Putting such a serious issue on a T-shirt creates problems because of the way in which a shirt like this could be perceived. While it could create a forum for conversation about an often taboo topic, it’s a dangerous venture. Just think about Jim Belushi’s notorious “college” shirt. Putting the issue of rape on a shirt seems to equate a terrible experience with a pop icon.

While the social stigma placed on rape victims should be eliminated, wearing a T-shirt with this image is not the proper medium for accomplishing this goal because the negative impact could be greater than the positive effects. While rape victims shouldn’t keep their feelings locked away, printing, “I was raped,” on a T-shirt is not a great or completely effective way to get people to open up.

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