The mean T-shirt: From the Stupid Factory
Todd Goldman says his popular boy-bashing T-shirts are simply
So why are retailers having second thoughts?
The National Post, Georgie Binks, Saturday Post, May 29, 2004
Three teenaged girls, ponytails swinging, riffle through the T-shirts at a Bluenotes clothing store in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. They giggle when they spy a T-shirt with the words, "Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them" emblazoned on the front. Lisa Sanzo, 16, shakes her head, "They're pretty stupid, kind of childish. I would never buy one."
But when they spot one with "Stupid Factory, Where Boys are Made," they love it. Lindsay Di Verano says, "These comments are cute," and Vanesa Rauti, 16, says, "They're not sexist."
Bluenotes assistant manager at Yorkdale, Hilary Kippenhuck, smiles, "The kids love them and we've sold quite a few. A lot of kids come in and are excited about them -- they've seen them on the Web site."
The Web site is www.davidandgoliathtees.com, and David and Goliath is the company in Clearwater, Florida, that makes them. Todd Goldman, 35, the laid-back single entrepreneur who owns and operates the business says, "I started doing some funny sayings a couple of years ago, like 'Fourth graders say boys have cooties,' 'Boys are smelly,' 'Boys are stupid' and I added a twist, 'Throw rocks at them' and people seemed to like it. It makes them laugh."
It also makes them spend money. Goldman boasts $30-million a year in T-shirt sales, which range from his "Boys are Stupid" T-shirt to the Read More ..nventional "Chicks Rule," as well as a licensing program of purses, sandals and watches, with cutesy (and not so cutesy) sayings that he hopes will hit $100-million this year.
While the tees have been a hit with teenage girls, they have caused an uproar in the United States, where they've been called sexist and disturbing by a number of organizations. While the most common tee displayed on Canadian shelves is the one saying, "Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them," a visit to the Web site, where shirts can be purchased online, shows T-shirts with messages far Read More ..olent. "Boys Lie, Poke Em in the Eye," "If Boys Are So Tough, Why Are They So Afraid of Knives?" (accompanied by a picture of a small boy running from knives whizzing through the air). Another has a picture of a boy with his mouth taped up and a slogan reading, "Tape Can Be Fun."
Priyanka Khimasia, a 17-year-old Toronto student, winces, "It makes me feel sick. It's very violent and I think some boys would also find them hurtful. If there were T-shirts like this about women, people would be outraged."
In the United States, Glenn Sacks, a fathers'-rights activist and talk-show host, is trying to get the shirts removed from retailers' shelves. "Every Sunday night I declare a target, and put on my show's Web site the e-mail addresses and fax numbers of the different CEOs [of the retail stores that carry the tees]. My listeners bombard them with mail. Pretty much every time, the next morning we have a letter apologizing for the shirts and saying that they will remove them. We have knocked them out of 3,500 stores."
Why does he feel so strongly? "Boys have fallen way behind in school and are struggling. For an 11-year-old boy to go to school and to see shirts all over that say, 'Boys are Stupid,' it really rubs salt in the wounds."
In Canada, a number of retailers are selling them. Mrs. Tiggywinkles, a toy store in Ottawa, has pulled them because of complaints, as has Le Panier in the Montreal area.
Bluenotes sells them Canada-wide. Rachel Noonan, the company's brand manager, says she thinks they're cute but knows they're controversial. "We need to take responsibility because kids are very impressionable and this is where it starts. When you condition them to have expectations, it creates who they are. These are tongue-in-cheek, a little lighthearted, but some cross the boundary."
Canadian distributor Mark Whyte, head of Whyte Agencies, says in Toronto the tees are available at Over the Rainbow and Sporting Life. In Montreal, they're at Simons, Jack and Jill and Neon. And in Vancouver they're at Off the Wall. Says Whyte: "In Ottawa and Montreal, their consumer tends to be younger and they didn't want the hassle." So they pulled the offending T-shirts, but they continued to buy the cute ones like "It's All About Me" and "Dramaqueen," also made by David and Goliath.
Goldman, who calls himself the "guru of stupid" doesn't see what the big deal is about. "I'm not trying to promote violence. I don't expect people to take it literally. If so, I would sell rocks with the T-shirt. Most people laugh when they see it. They don't think, 'That's degrading to boys or that's violent.'
"There's way worse out there -- rap music, violence on TV and movies," Goldman says, adding that his T-shirts have nothing to do with the girl-power movement. "I'm a guy. I couldn't give a rat's ass about girl empowerment. Our market is teenage girls. I know what sells."
The "Boys Are Stupid" mantra is spreading to other media, courtesy of Goldman. The David and Goliath Web site has a game inviting players to "Throw Rocks At Boys," but instead of evoking screams of glee from young players, it is more likely to make them wince when the rocks hit a little boy and he gets a black eye.
There's a Boys are Stupid Journal (Andrews McMeel Publishing) available at Indigo stores in Canada, but a company spokesperson said no one was available to speak about it. And Goldman has another book set for a fall release, Boys are Stupid -- Throw Rocks At Them.
The Canadian Children's Rights Council filed a hate-crime complaint with the Toronto Police in March against the Toronto Star, the clothing distributor and retailers that sell the T-shirts after the Star ran a feature titled "Feminist Fashionistas," which showed the T-shirts. Council president Grant Wilson says his organization was told hatred against children was not an offence under the Criminal Code.
The T-shirts, unlike boys, may have been made in the Stupid Factory, but Goldman wasn't. All of the publicity is making him a lot of money. "Just because a few department stores that are PC pulled them, it's stronger than ever."
And Goldman has no plans to change his T-shirts. Indeed, he's planning Read More .."We have new boy-bashing shirts coming out," he promises.
National Post 2004
Laurie A. Couture
For the past five years, the feminist-promoted trend of "girl power" has gradually evolved into what has now become a conceited, self-righteous pop-culture fad of hatred towards boys. Recently, the David and Goliath T-shirt Company's "Boys are Stupid" line of T-shirts and merchandise has gained popularity with girls, making a fashion statement out of promoting hatred, sexism and abuse against boys - in the name of "fun" and humor.
Despite the pervasive popularity of male bashing and boy-neglect in the past decade, men have been largely silent in demanding and end to this reactive sexism. Corporations are cashing in on this opportunity. However, with the arrival of the David and Goliath "Boys are Stupid" product line, male activists such as Glenn Sacks, as well as women and girls, have been demanding that stores immediately cease carrying these offensive products. Several chain stores have complied, including Claire's and Bon Macys. However, David and Goliath itself remains firm that the shirts are their biggest sellers, and will not be pulled from production.
The anti-male radical feminism of this decade has strayed embarrassingly far from the feminism of the 1960s, which sought to promote equality between two equally valuable sexes.
On a recent trip out to a local mall on a Saturday evening, I was picking through the T-shirts for teenagers when I spotted one with the words "Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them."
I'm used to seeing variations on the Girl Power theme when I'm in these stores but I was shocked to see something so negative about boys. As the mother of both a boy and a girl, I felt sick when I saw the slogan. I felt even worse when I logged onto the website of the retailer who sells these products. They are designed and manufactured by a clothing company called David & Goliath, based in Clearwater, Fla.
I was not happy to see a list of so-called funny slogans: Boys Lie, Poke Em in the Eye; Boys are Goobers, Drop Anvils on Their Heads; Lobotomy, How to Train Boys; If Boys are So Tough, Why are They So Afraid of Knives (this with a picture of a boy running away with knives in the air); or Tape Can Be Fun, a T-shirt with a boy's mouth covered in tape. One of the T-shirts is actually featured in the February issue of YM magazine this year.
Can't you just imagine the hue and cry if the word girl was inserted into all of these
Men's News Daily
January 6, 2004
The campaign began Sunday evening at 9 PM, and by 9 AM the next morning, it was all over.
Men's and fathers' issues radio talk show host Glenn Sacks declared a campaign against Tilly's clothing store, which sells T-shirts which say "Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them" , during the Sunday, January 4 broadcast of His Side with Glenn Sacks in Los Angeles and Seattle. The shirts depict a little boy running away as several rocks come flying at his head.
The next morning Tilly's, which has 32 locations in Southern California, was deluged with angry e-mails and phone calls. Sam Mendelsohn, Tilly's Senior Vice President, issued a statement Monday morning saying he had "immediately instructed the removal of merchandise in question [throw rocks] from all locations." Mendelsohn expressed his "sincere apologies regarding the merchandise." Read More ..
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.
Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.
Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.
It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.
At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.