Your Reactions to Forever 21’s Controversial T-Shirt

Entrepreneur yesterday posted a tale in regards to a T-shirt from Forever 21 that created such a backlash on social media that the garment was pulled from shelves and taken offline.

The shirt reads "DON’T SAY MAYBE IF YOU NEED TO STATE NO." Some were upset by the message, seeing it as a tone-deaf slogan that perpetuates rape culture. Given the prevalence of sexual assault, especially college campuses, those calling for the shirt’s removal say that its message contradicts the thought of enthusiastic consent, that “yes means yes” in sexual situations. Forever 21’s target customers are teens and adults.

While none of Entrepreneur’s readers expressed outrage over the shirt, some did say it had been in poor taste.

@Entrepreneur @CarlyOkyle – I believe the message is confusing and really should not be promoted until it really is unambiguous and absolutely clear. #words

– MHjsurvivingaday (@survivingaday) March 15, 2016

Amos Schorr They clearly weren’t discussing sex, so they don’t really deserve all that backlash… nonetheless it was clearly poor judgment release a it. The results should’ve been obvious.

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Meanwhile, a lot of Entrepreneur’s readers saw the message as an empowering reminder to convey your opinion unequivocally. Many who responded said that they viewed the shirt’s slogan through the lense of a business proprietor. People first considered the need for clearly stating your opinions rather than committing to doing a thing that you’d rather not do.

Neriah Dorothy Muraya It’s about meaning everything you say; being decisive and firm which can connect with any many situations. Folks are definitely overreacting. It might even be about not being truly a push-over in life or at work…

Michele Wells As a business owner, I believe saying no is important. And I really like when people just say no — it saves me hard work. I don’t think this is directed at supporting rape culture. I believe if there is a silhouette of individuals on the shirt maybe. But I took it as saying, be honest, be straightforward, and say everything you mean. Which totally reflects my attitude [100%] of that time period.

Jessica Reaser McCartney Before I browse the article title I thought it had been about being decisive and honest in your enterprise! I have trouble telling clients no, which just caused a heated argument with my partner (husband). For rape culture, I have to not [be] as alert to it as lots of people [because] it didn’t offend me.

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Similar to the comments above, both male and female readers start to see the shirt’s message as empowering, implying that folks should say what they mean and stand their ground. Considering that perspective, many said they’d use it if indeed they could.

LaRee Antoinette OK so they said [this] is a bad shirt when it comes to rape. However, I read this shirt as a reply I get from some people when I’m selling something. I’d rather you say No therefore i can move on but telling me maybe keeps me returning because you didn’t decide… BTW given that they pulled the shirts, where may i buy one now?

@Entrepreneur I actually really like this shirt.

– Dark Angel (@deezeegirl) March 15, 2016

Because the slogan could be interpreted in two completely different ways, context clues make each of the difference. The individual modeling the shirt for the business was a guy, and the shirt was designed for men. Public reaction may have been different if the model have been a female.

Sherry Whitaker Budziak I view it as telling girls to state NO! They probably must have put the T-Shirt on a female.

Jon Eisenstein From the man, it’s an attack that women experienced used against them. From a female, it’d be considered a solidarity

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