The Rosetta shirt

I can’t resist writing a post about “shirtstorm”, the drama about the Rosetta guy and his shirt with cartoons of scantily-clad women. Humans have just landed a robot on a comet! This is an incredible achievement and yet everyone is so obsessed with someone’s choice of clothing that we have failed to appreciate the significance of what has just happened. So there’s only one thing to do and that is to add my own nonsense to the foray 🙂

I think men are fantastic (women are fabulous too of course) and when I first read about this I was reminded of a quote from the philosopher Thomas Paine who once said, “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” What has this got to do with cartoon shirts of scantily-clad women? Well, what if I want to wear a cartoon shirt with images of scantily-clad men? 😉 Ok, so I don’t own any shirts with muscular, half-naked men and if I did, I’d probably avoid wearing it on international television. But even so, I think men are wonderful creatures and I can appreciate their physical form just as I presume men appreciate the appearance of women. There’s nothing intrinsically attractive about men and women it’s just that we have evolved to find each other attractive and we do.

Having said that, I do think it was probably a poor choice of attire for international television but I feel a bit sorry for the guy and hope this doesn’t have a negative impact on his career or personal life. I don’t think he did anything wrong. On the other hand, I can also appreciate that some people might be offended by that shirt. In such situations the correct thing to do is probably to say something like, “hey, I find your shirt a bit offensive, would you mind wearing something different to work”. I don’t think any of us really wants to offend anyone else and so an honest exchange of how we feel is probably the best course of action.

I just read that there’s now a petition to have the woman who first tweeted about “the shirt” fired from her job. I think this is really terrible. If someone is offended by something then we should try to be understanding and sympathetic. At the same time, I can see the other point of view in that we should be free to choose our own clothes and should avoid being judgemental of someone else’s choice of clothing. Or if we’re going to comment, then do so tactfully (this is coming from someone who lacks tact btw 🙂 ).

I find spats like this between men and women quite upsetting. It shouldn’t be this way. This kind of thing also turns feminism into a dirty word. I’m not blaming anyone but I do want to say that feminism is about equality for women – the right to vote, equal pay, the right not to be owned by a man and so on. All of us are feminists by definition. Who could possibly object to women having the right to vote?

Being offended by nudity does not have anything to do with feminism. We live together in a society and so we should try to respect each other’s sensibilities as much as we can without compromising our personal liberties. So I don’t think there is any right or wrong here but more a shuffling of cards to find harmony. Let’s find the harmony again and kiss and make up.

Now, where’s that shirt of mine with half-naked men? 🙂