Show Me Your Respect

To the manchild wearing a “Show me Ya Tits” tank in the Grille,

My name is Cody Gohl and, no, I will not show you my tits. Nor will any of the strong female friends I surround myself with on a daily basis. Show you our tits? How about you show us your spine first?

I see you eating your Dr. Feelgood after a night partying. You’re a little drunk and feeling a little cocky. You’re surrounded by a group of friends who seem to be the kind of people that not only like your shirt, but wish they had one too. You walk into the Grille like you own the place: tank first, mind second.

Which leads me to my most pressing question: where is your mind? Clearly it wasn’t hanging around when you purchased this piece of clothing because, if it were, it would have told you that wearing this kind of shirt is wrong and stupid and degrading. What are you trying to say? What are you hoping to achieve by wearing a shirt like that in public, a shirt that asks women to show you their “tits”? Do you think that people will find it funny or charming or cute?

Because I hate to break it to you, but it is not funny or charming or cute.

We go to a school where sexual assault is a very real thing. And not just physical sexual assault, but verbal sexual assault. Verbal sexual assault like men yelling sexually aggressive slurs to women as they walk around campus at night. Verbal sexual assault like you deciding it is a safe and appropriate thing to put on a tank top that reads SHOW ME YA TITS. Like it or not, deciding to wear this kind of shirt is an action that contributes to the heavily lopsided state of gender politics on this campus. You putting on that tank top does not move us forward—it works to push us backward.

And so to the manchild wearing the “Show me Ya Tits” tank in the Grille, I say grow up. I say think about the fight for Equal Rights. I say take a moment to think about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the hundreds of unknown women that fought for Woman’s Rights at the turn of the century. I say take a moment to consider how important Feminism still is even in a society that claims itself to be Post-Gender Inequality. I say think about the difference between pay rates for men and women. I say think about glass ceilings and job opportunities and social stigmas. I say think about all of the men and women who will see your shirt and feel defeated because of it. I say think of the ways in which your shirt could make even just one person feel unsafe.

I say take off the tank, replace it with a crisp white V-neck. I can guarantee you that your friends will still like you and that you’ll be a better person for it. Because, no, I will not show you my tits, but I would love to show you the amazing men and women I know, the amazing individuals who are more than just the sum of their physical parts, who are fighting each and every day to establish an order in which women are treated equal to men, an order in which clothing like yours does not exist.

I guess at the end of it all, I hope you enjoyed your meal; however, maybe next time, instead of ketchup, you’ll order your French fries with a healthy dose of perspective.

BOOM AND THANK YOU MUCH,

Cody Gohl

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5 thoughts on “Show Me Your Respect

  1. PREACH.
    Saw this tank, along with “I PARTY WITH SLUTS” and wondered how these two made it so far into their night without even questioning such a ridiculous decision. I personally not only felt uncomfortable, but physically angry every time I saw them. I mean, come on.

  2. Agree completely with Cody. I didn’t think I could feel more disappointed in these shirts until I realized that the people wearing them went to this school.

  3. Cody, chill out. It’s a t-shirt. Grow some thicker skin. There’s an old adage that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Your holier-than-thou, righteous indignation stance brings attention to something that could have been so easily ignored. People wear all kinds of different t-shirts. Should I write a full editorial because your v-neck offends me? What you’ve done is put a single t-shirt on par with some of the greatest women’s rights advocates in history, just because you got mad about someone’s t-shirt. Was putting your “manchild” your on the level of Susan B. Anthony your goal here?

    Wearing that shirt is an expression of free speech. I disagree with the Westboro Baptist Church, but they have a constitutionally-guaranteed right to express their opinions, no matter how hateful they might be. This tank top isn’t even close to as hateful as their message, and you say language like this shouldn’t exist. So, don’t try to infringe on free speech, get off your high horse, and learn how to let something that bothers you roll off your shoulder.

    • Not impressed,

      Thank you for your anonymous criticism. I don’t let things roll of my shoulders very easily. It doesn’t seem like you do either.

      But let’s not make this about whatever holier-than-thou stances you and I both seem to share. This is about the words and the message, the way they serve to construct a power structure that is not equitable or safe for all participants.

      So, no, I will not chill out or ignore something like this. This is a problem and we should be talking about it.

      Cody

  4. Good to see you were willing to address the issue directly instead of passive aggressively discussing it in an article. Oh wait…

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