Goal: Cease sales of female-cut “Gold Digging” shirts released after the Olympics
Following the massive success experienced by U.S. women athletes at the 2012 summer Olympics, official Olympic sponsor Nike began selling a new t-shirt targeted at women and meant to celebrate these athletes’ success. But many feel the design for the shirt does more to denigrate these spectacular athletes than to honor them. The t-shirt, which is only available in women’s sizing, features no graphic other than the words “gold digging” spelled out in gilded lettering across the chest.
Nike has responded to criticisms of the shirt by insisting that the phrase is used in “an ironic way that is relevant” given the context of U.S. women’s Olympic success. The pun may be relevant, but the connotation is offensive. “Gold digger” colloquially means a woman who marries for money rather than working for it, implying a shallow and lazy nature. Are these really qualities we should be associating with our hardworking female Olympians?
Tell Nike that irony is no excuse for offensiveness. The U.S. women at the Olympics worked just as hard, if not harder, than their male counterparts to earn their medals. Associating that success with the phrase “gold digger” is quite the opposite of honoring them.
I am writing today in regards to your recently released “Gold Digging” t-shirts, meant to honor the success of U.S. women athletes at the 2012 summer Olympics. Although your company has stated that the phrase is meant to be taken ironically, the cultural connotation surrounding “gold digger” is completely inappropriate in a shirt meant to honor our Olympians. It is denigrating both to these athletes and to women all over the world, sexualizing the wearer and associating her with a tradition of sloth and shallowness. These traits are a far cry from the diligence and dignity shown by the successful U.S. women Olympians.
Please reconsider your decision to keep the shirts on a pretense of “irony” and cease selling them immediately. If you wish to honor our female Olympians success, do so with another, less problematic phrase.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: fotopedia.com