So a while back I wrote about how the new UO t-shirt is kind of offensive. After I posted, I told Jason about it. He laughed. Laughed. Not at me. At the t-shirt.
Then I told a friend of mine from law school about it. And he laughed.
Finally, a good friend of mine sort of called me out on it this week after reading the blog. She said she thought it was funny. And so did her husband. Who is adopted.
So what's the deal? Is it offensive or am I too sensitive?
I'm the first to admit I can be a little, well, sensitive to things. And while I'm a big believer in the notion that UO should have the right to sell the shirt, that wouldn't necessarily mean I think they should. I feel that way about many things in life. Things I think should be legal but people shouldn't do anyway. But that's a topic for a whole different post. My point is that I have a t-shirt that I think other people might be offended by. But I still bought it. Actually, I didn't. I got it as a gift. But I thought it was hilarious, and I wear it all the time. Well, all the time when I'm not around small children who might ask me what it means.
(And before you think I'm a weirdo freak, the t-shirt says WTF? Which really isn't that offensive except for the F part of it. But it's just the letters, literally. And that's what makes it funny to me. Because I often find myself asking this question in my head when I'm out and about in the world.)
So, what about that shirt. For a while pink was the new black. And UO sells a shirt that says "Rehab is the new black." And even one that says "Scientology is the new black." And I think at least the scientology one is kind of funny. But back to the adoption t-shirt. IS it offensive? Certainly, it pokes fun at celebrity adoptions. There does seem to be a lot of media surrounding Angelina and Madonna lately. But is it fair to say that this t-shirt intimates that all people who adopt do so because it's a trend or a fad? I mean, does anyone who actually chooses adoption do so for that reason? Would anyone in their right mind think we do?
Maybe I haven't given the general public enough credit. I know I didn't adopt because it was the cool thing to do. And I know my kids won't think we chose adoption lightly. And is the t-shirt even directed at us main-stream folks who build our families through adoption?
I don't have the answers to any of this. I can obviously see both sides of the issue. And perhaps it really is more complicated than this-- perhaps for adoptees struggling with identity, such a t-shirt really is offensive. But it doesn't really make me feel any less conviction about the family-building choices we've made. Was I offended? Yeah. I guess I was. But mostly because I guess I don't give enough credit to regular old America to understand that it's not a commentary on adoption at all. . . and maybe a little because I myself couldn't see that either.
Offensive and rude? I dunno. But I'm still at least a little glad they aren't selling it anymore. . .