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Target has a gender problem that won’t go away. The retail giant was already in hot water for how it markets to young girls. Now it appears that the issue extends to all women.
The megastore is selling a T-shirt online and in stores that reads “Trophy,” an apparent reference to the term “trophy wife,” used to describe a woman as an object chosen purely for her looks. Consumers began to take notice of the sexist garment, and took to Twitter to share their dismay.
Shopping in the target tees and the first two I find say “Trophy” and “Mrs.” Like, really?! 😒
— madi webb (@madirwebb) July 19, 2015
Now a Change.org petition has gathered steam in retaliation. The creator of the petition goes so far as to say that “use of the word when referring to women encourages a rape culture where women are merely objects, not humans, to be used for men’s pleasure. A large part of the studies done with college campus rapes found that the attackers often took a ‘trophy’ from their victim, be it a pair of panties, bra, photograph, or even video, to later revel in their ‘victory.'”
So far, the petition has more than 3,000 signatures.
But Target stands by its decision to sell the shirt and released an official statement this week:
It is never our intention to offend anyone and we always appreciate receiving feedback from our guests. The shirt you’re describing is part of a collection of engagement and wedding shirts that are available in our women’s and plus size departments. The collection also included shirts that say “Team Bride,” “Mrs.” and “Bride.” These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.
Target also plans to continue selling the shirt.
Target landed in hot water in June after Twitter users were upset by the labeling of their building sets aisle. They took issue with the gendered distinction of “building sets” and “girls’ building sets.”
But let’s not forget the real takeaway here.
Lets be real here – no woman that considers herself a “trophy wife” would buy a t-shirt at Target.
— Nikki (@nikilien) July 21, 2015
And if you’re looking for some more sexist and offensive apparel, there’s no shortage on Etsy.
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.