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Store takes heat for selling violent and sexist ‘Problem Solved’ T-shirt January 14, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, gender discrimination, offensive, Sexism, Sexist, violence.

A children’s T-shirt has aroused the ire of a local shopper.

The T-shirt depicts two panels of stick figures, with a male figure pushing a female figure out of a box. Captioned “Problem Solved,” the shirt has appalled people engaged in deterring domestic violence.

“I thought that shirt was very offensive, and I’m sure people who made that shirt thought it was cute,” District Attorney Evert Fowle said Friday. “But when you prosecute 728 domestic violence cases a year, it’s not cute.”

The shirt was removed briefly after a customer protested — but later returned to the shelves of the Augusta Kmart.

Earlier this week, Kristin Aiello of Hallowell told Kmart store manager Joyce Beane the message on the shirt was offensive.

“I see so much domestic abuse in our community,” said Aiello, a lawyer who frequently represents children involved in the court system. “I see children in jeopardy.”

Aiello said the shirt sends the wrong message to the young wearers.

“It affirms that this sort of a solution is OK,” she said. “A child can’t filter it the way adults can.”

Beane pulled the shirts Tuesday. On Friday, she referred all questions to corporate headquarters.

By late Friday, Kimberly Freely, manager of corporate relations for Sears Holdings Corp., Kmart’s parent company, said the Augusta Kmart will continue to sell the shirts, manufactured by Route 66 clothing company.

“We respect the opinions of our customers,” Freely said in a statement issued from corporate headquarters. “However, we believe these attitude Ts are meant to be light-hearted in nature.

“Kmart serves a diverse customer base and is committed to providing quality services, products and solutions that earn our customers’ trust and build lifetime relationships,” Freely’s statement said.

Donna Shepherd, executive director of the Family Violence Project, a group that works to halt domestic abuse in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the shirt sends the wrong signal.

“Obviously, the shirt sends children a message that violence is OK and reinforces messages they’re already getting from the media and elsewhere,” she said.

She said the Family Violence Project offers younger children a “Hands are Not for Hitting” program that teaches children alternatives to violence.

“Part of the premise is that it’s OK to get angry, but it’s not OK to hurt other people,” Shepherd said.

“There are things they can do with their hands other than pushing or shoving. They can play with clay or play with puppets. And things they can do with their anger: go for a run and climb a tree.”

The same logo appears on a T-shirt sold on the Internet by Goody’s Family Clothing, but it appears to be aimed at older wearers.

“I’m concerned with how they got designed, printed and put in Kmarts across the country,” Aiello said.

“How did this happen? It’s the height of corporate irresponsibility marketing shirts for children with messages affirming domestic violence.”

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com

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