Is it offensive?

Is it offensive? The Ardorous X American Apparel Period Power Washed Tee (Images NSFW)

It’s been a long time since our last “Is It Offensive?” post, in which we look at fashion items which have been deemed “offensive” by some sections of society, and as our readers: IS IT offensive? Or is it simply a case of people getting their knickers in a twist over nothing in particular? Today, we look at Petra Collins’ ‘Period Power’ t-shirt for American Apparel, which depicts… actually, it would probably be easier to show than to tell with this one:

Petra Collins 'Period Power' t-short for American Apparel

Buy it here

With an image designed by Toronto-born artist Petra Collins, the shirt currently retails for $32 at American Apparel, where Collins once worked as a sales associate. Collins says:

“I decided to put a super-taboo topic right on a t-shirt to make it viewable for everyone. I’m really interested in what is hidden from our culture. We are always repressing or hiding what is natural to a post-pubescent body. We’re taught to hate our menstrual cycle and even to hide masturbation.”

Not everyone, however, is as comfortable with the image as Collins is. Some have called it yet another cynical ploy by American Apparel, who have never shied away from the use of controversy to sell clothes. Others are simply repulsed by the image, and even many of those who appreciate the taboo-busting message have questioned why anyone would actually want to WEAR such a graphic image. Pointing out that 50% of the proceeds from the shirt will go to female art collective The Androgynous (Be aware that the images on that page may not be safe for work either…),  Jezebel comments: “It seems like a cool project to want to support. But the question remains: where the f***would one wear a menstruating vagina shirt?”

Where indeed: it strikes us that even if you support the message of this shirt, and don’t consider it to be just another way to exploit women’s bodies for shock value, there must be limited opportunities to wear such an item. Indeed, many media outlets are refusing to even run the image alongside their editorials on the subject, claiming it’s too offensive to print. So where would you wear it, assuming you WOULD actually wear it in the first place? In other words…

Is it offensive?

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