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My thoughts on yaoi the class shirt

So, friends list, what are your thoughts on this picture?


(description: woman looking at a ring on her finger and a bracelet with text "Gold digger: Like a hooker...just smarter")

Based on the 50s nature of the image, you'd think such a slogan came from that era, even though the term 'gold digger' was popularized only recently. You guessed wrong.

It's the text on Agnes Scott's Class of 2009 shirts. Yes, you read that correctly. For those who aren't familiar with Agnes Scott traditions, the first-year class chooses a mascot at the beginning of each year around a class color of one of blue, yellow, green, or red, while the sophomore class tries to unveil the mascot to the whole school. If for some reason the first-year class despises their mascot a year later, they can appeal to change their mascot. My class did this with our assigned color of yellow, and our original choice was the Muses of Apollo, a choice I thought was clever only because there were nine muses. However, a lot of people didn't think this choice was clever, so there was a revote the next year.

This was how we became the Gold Diggers. Originally intended to be a play on the actual gold diggers of the nineteenth century who traveled to California in the hopes of striking real gold, our class intended to be powerful (and admittedly sexy) gold diggers who sought out only the best for themselves. Sure, we weren't the most spirited class, but we had our own things we were devoted to.

Then the email announcing class dues and t-shirts popped in my inbox tonight, I was aghast--and I check out sites like T-shirt Hell and Busted Tees regularly. Who on earth would think that appropriate to put on a t-shirt? This shirt belongs there, not on a campus that encourages female empowerment. I'm sure the women who started the women's rights movement are rolling in their graves right now, just as the ladies in public folders are breaking the peace by debating the hooker ideology. I'm also sure that I don't need to explain said ideology in great detail to you. However, one must take into account what "Gold Digger" means here. Does it mean a member of the Class of 2009, or what one typically associates with a gold digger? Based on the picture, one might think the latter. However, knowing that this shirt was printed for Agnes Scott seniors might lead you to think the former. Whatever it means, the context is ill. Printing the shirt on a college campus meant to empower women, and then comparing a gold digger to a hooker, is causing onlookers to judge the gold diggers in question, whether the senior class or the typical gold digger (who may or may be a real hooker), not to mention judge the wearer of the shirt and label them as a gold digger--and possibly a typical gold digger at that!

Then you notice the shinies, or what I like to call the bracelet and ring. Despite the simplicity of the drawing, it's all but obvious that the ring in question is an engagement ring, and the woman is gazing at her jewelry fondly and grinning. Sure, jewelry is nice, but this isn't just about jewelry. A typical gold digger is all about having nice 'bling', as I hear it's called these days. This bling often comes in the form of significant others. Is this what the Class of 2009 is coming to? Now, I'm not averse to the idea of marriage or partnerships (I am significantly othered myself, after all!), but using that as an excuse to gain bling is just not cool. And even more importantly, is this the most clever design someone could come up with?

Apparently so. This email just popped in my inbox mid-entry:

Hello all,

It has come to the attention of the class officers that there is controversy and uproar surrounding the design for this year's Black Cat T-Shirt. First and foremost, the class officers did not pick the design nor did we approve of the design. We were made aware of the design as of this weekend. The shirt design was determined by the Black Cat Chairs. It was intended to be funny, it was not intended to be disrespectful or insulting.

While we understand that the t-shirt has been deemed offensive to some members of the class we in turn must stress that a lack of participation and cooperation results in decisions that everyone is not pleased with. This has occurred in the past and will continue to occur as long as an apathetic approach is taken. This does not mean that the offenses taken are invalid or unimportant. We will work with the Black Cat chairs to ensure that the issue is handled.

Also, in the future we ask that when a problem or issue arises that you come to us so that it can be handled immediately and tactfully instead of posting on a public domain.

Sincerely,

Class of 2009 officers


Sure, we're not the most spirited or involved class, but last I heard, there was no call for t-shirt designs. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this. Hey, maybe the class officers will--gasp--ask if they want people to get involved. Even if the same few people are overbooked anyway (I have three meetings, a cultural event with Scott McCloud, and work between 5pm and midnight tomorrow), it doesn't hurt. Right?

Now, if you'll excuse me, this unspirited hooker Gold Digger has forty more pages of French reading, a senior seminar problem set, and about five emails to write.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
sushimustwrite
Sep. 16th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
I think it's more the context of the shirts than anything else. Saying OH HAI this is going to be your shirt to a bunch of people who may or may not care (but many of whom despise the gold digger mantra) is just, well, asking for it. If I saw this on a site where this was the norm, I'd probably laugh. But that's just me.

But there's a poster of this? Inquiring minds want to know.
(Deleted comment)
sushimustwrite
Sep. 16th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Well, if I saw your poster, I'd probably think differently than if I saw someone wearing the shirt. The poster would say "Heh, slightly amusing", while someone wearing the shirt would make one ask if the wearer was serious about that or if the person just thought it was funny because I'm a judgmental asshole like that. (Probably the latter, but you never know.)

And I'm all about the risque shirts too. This one can be interpreted way too many ways, though, and the added element of the mascot just adds one more. You buy yours, I won't buy mine, and we'll all be happy.
(Deleted comment)
satellitewish
Sep. 16th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Why does she have a lobster hand? :(
ficwize
Sep. 16th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Yellow is a hard color.
My class was the Sun Goddess. We kept our mascot for all four years and we loved it. Epically.

Our senior tee shirt was a mockery of the old student handbook definition of drunk - "loud and vulgar".

It had Egyptian Sungoddesses and Black Cats dancing (with beer bottles) and the logo - ASC CLASS 2001 - LOUD AND VULGAR.

Good times.

And good luck with your shirt situation.
moonglade_swan
Sep. 17th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Why doesn't this surprise me?

Black Cat was fun during the one semester I was there. But, if I had stayed the whole Gold Digger thing probably would have ruined it for me. The shirt on it's own sort of amuses me, but as a class T-shirt it's more than a little inappropriate.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )