Topman selling sexism and excuses for domestic violence

Slogan t-shirts have become so meaningless in the fashion world with one after the other being run off the manufacture line; but two recent t-shirts to hit Topman have instigated a lot of anger. Someone at Topman thought it would be a good ‘fashion’ call to compare women to dogs and advertise sinister sounding apologies for domestic violence. Big mistake. Due to their actions, Topman have been put under pressure to explain just what the hell they were thinking.

The most disturbing of the two is the t-shirt on the right which features a checklist of excuses written like a to-do list bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to those associated with domestic violence. The chief executive of the domestic violence charity Refuge said:

“It is an outrage that such offensive t-shirts were put on sale. Domestic violence takes the lives of two women a week and it is no laughing matter.”

The domestic abuse charity Tender also commented, saying that the t-shirt “appeared to be making light of the excuses made for domestic abuse”. Tender have set up an online campaign and donation site with the intention of raising more money for domestic violence sufferers than the t-shirt made through sales. Meanwhile, a Facebook group called STopman is pulling in the members. Marie Horner, who set it up posted the following statement:

“Promoting the excuses that men use to get away with abusing women is clearly wrong, whether it’s on a T-shirt or not.”

Another Facebook user, Mel Parkin, added:

“Many woman and children flee for their lives every year from domestic violence. It’s very poor taste to promote it.”

Topman, part of the billionaire Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, has withdrawn the T-shirts from sale and apologised, issuing the following response:

“Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light-hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from the store and online as soon as possible.”

The thing is: even if it was intended as a joke, there’s nothing funny about misogyny or domestic abuse. A spokesperson for Tender said:

“We are really pleased that Topman have taken notice of our campaign and have responded positively by removing these T-shirts from sale and we would like to thank them for that. We are in touch with them and have offered them the opportunity to support Tender’s preventative work and to attend a training course about abuse.”





Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Business, People

Author:Mary-Ellen L

Lives at Lecturer in Literature and Philosophy, Poet and Professional Cynic.

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4 Comments on “Topman selling sexism and excuses for domestic violence”

  1. Jimbo
    September 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    While I agree that both t-shirts are in poor taste (extremely poor taste for the one on the right) and you have to wonder who puts their stamp of approval on these garments for mass production.
    To play devils advocate, couldn’t the one on the left have been having a playful dig at blokes who can’t get girlfriend’s so they get a pet for company instead. Granted though, even if that was the case you would have to be a major tool bag to buy and wear such a t-shirt anyway.

    • September 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

      I can see the funny side of the one on the left, to be honest… I think it just got caught up in the controversy.

  2. September 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Personally, I like the fact that T-shirts exist that scream, “I’m a douchebag” to anyone looking at someone wearing one. Just because it makes the task of deciding who deserves to survive and pass on their genes so much easier. If every douchebag wore one of these T-shirts, in one generation women could breed them out of the gene pool and we’d all be better for it.


  1. Avon Fundraising : Empowerment Collection! | aloavon - September 17, 2011

    […] Topman selling sexism and excuses for domestic violence ( 38.695609 -90.249814 Rate this: Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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