Look, I get it. It comes off as sexist. It’s not empowering for women, and especially younger girls, who will likely be attending Thorns matches in droves this season. With this being the NWSL’s inaugural season, and after two recent failed attempts at creating a successful women’s soccer league, you’d think that marketing personnel throughout would take a more conservative approach in getting the message out and securing the league’s future prospects.
I’m staring fatherhood square in the face, and will soon have to take time in nearly every decision I make to ensure that it, in no way, affects my daughter in a negative fashion. Regardless of my daughter’s age (5, 15, or 35), I wouldn’t buy this product for her. I don’t really care for the connotation. Plus, speaking as a marketer, I just think that Merritt’s marketing team is capable of much better.
Just as much as it’s my right to not buy this shirt, Merritt has just as much right to manufacture and sell it. Just because we don’t agree with it doesn’t make it wrong. It’s just something we don’t agree with. I don’t agree with most bumper stickers on cars in driveways up and down my street, and consider many of them to be ignorant, but going up to each car’s owner and telling them they have to remove their bumper stickers would be just as ignorant. Like my street, this goes two ways. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Portland has become known as a rather progressive city over the last few decades. I believe the most common term used to describe us is “mustachioed vegan hippies,” but let’s just go with “progressive,” shall we? I would think that as a progressive city, we could take a progressive approach and simply ignore this offensive-to-you-maybe-not-offensive-to-others t-shirt.
Our lack of purchase is the strongest message that could possibly be sent to Merritt’s team. Instead, we had to go and get our PC panties in a bunch and go on a Twitter rampage, bringing even more attention to something that offended us, increasing the public’s awareness of the shirt we wanted to see eliminated. Trust me…that’s a marketer’s dream come true.
If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Don’t acknowledge it. Just move on. If Merritt sees a warehouse full of never-purchased Feeling Thorny shirts, he’ll get the message.
This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the 107ist or the TA.