Why Your Trendy Feminist T-Shirt Has Serious Issues

By Chere Di Boscio

Dior undoubtedly started the trend with their ‘we should all be feminists’ T-shirt. After that, several other feminist slogan tees followed, like ‘feminist AF’, or ‘proud feminist’ or ‘real men are feminists’. And those shirts were worn by all and sundry, from self-declared feminist celebrities like Anne Hathaway and Emma Watson and models on the catwalks, to university students and even a few men.

More recently, vegan YouTuber Kristen Leo has given us food for thought on those shirts, thanks to her video, below. She raises a lot of pertinent questions, like: are fashion T-shirts promoting feminism actually aligned with true feminist values? She originally stressed ‘fast fashion T-shirts’, but frankly, luxury tees have the same issue. And that issue is: the mainly female workers who created those tees are not earning a living wage.

Kristen explains why a feminist T-shirt from H&M, Forever 21, Primark, Topshop and any other fast fashion store is very problematic, but I would like to add that even tees from more expensive shops often use the same factories as fast-fashion brands do and pay their workers just as little; the only difference is that the mark-up of their tees is much, much higher!

Kristen’s video also raises other issues: for example, is it the place of white women to ‘fight for the rights’ of women of colour? If fast-fashion were to end tomorrow, would that be beneficial or detrimental to the women working in garment factories? And are slogans like: ‘the future is female’ divisive, and simply pitting men against women, when we should ALL be involved in the struggle against injustices everywhere?

In any case, it seems those trendy feminist tee shirts have some serious issues. Take a look at her video below – we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Chere Di Boscio

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