Living

Is the front of this T-shirt empowering or offensive?

This American Apparel T-shirt is being called thought provoking, Flannery Dean begs to differ, and we want to know what you think.

The Ardorous X, American Apparel, Period Power Washed Tee, $34

The Ardorous X, American Apparel, Period Power Washed Tee, $34

A menstruating vagina adorns American Apparel’s latest T-shirt, an aesthetic choice that not only puts a new spin on the phrase “graphic T-shirt” but that also made me realize I’m too old to form much of an opinion on an attempt to provoke what is so truly adolescent.

Defy the Taliban and attend school only to be shot by the Taliban, as Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai did, and you earn the title of political provocateur in my view. Draw a menstruating vagina, that is also being masturbated (call me a prude but I found it hard to write that last bit), and you’re more likely to qualify for the Award for Artistic Obviousness.

The Ardorous X American Apparel Period Power Washed Tee $34

The Ardorous X, American Apparel, Period Power Washed Tee, $34

The image (above), which was created by 20-year-old Toronto-born artist Petra Collins, has generated a fair amount of press — or marketing, depending on how you view these things.

Those who wish to support fledgling female artists with an interest in exploring gender issues may pick up the T-shirt, suggests Jezebel.com. Reportedly half of the proceeds will go to support an art collective that Collins is associated with. The collective, called The Ardorous, consists entirely of female artists and their works.

Aid to fledgling artists aside, I can’t say I feel compelled to run out and buy one or snag one for a pal. It’s not because I fear any cultural reminder of the fact that (most) women menstruate monthly, and it’s not because I feel ashamed about the most natural of monthly disasters. (I love getting my period. It means that I can have a Mars bar.)

I think my reluctance to purchase is both age-related and practical. I’m not a teenager or 20-something and so my interest and tolerance level for shock value is at an all-time low and I can’t help but wonder why I would pay for something that I can see all on my own every month.

Been there, done that, really don’t need the T-shirt.

Do you find this T-shirt offensive or empowering? Tell us in the comment section below.

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