Apparently no longer content with simply ripping off designs from independent artists without paying or crediting them, clothing a generation of hipster misogynists, pulling their “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” tee off store shelves after just one week (citing non-existent “bad press”), selling packages of ramen noodles for $5.00 USD a pop, drastically marking up products cheaply manufactured in overseas sweatshops in order to make heinous profits, funneling exorbitant sums of said heinous profits to finance Rick Santorum’s presidential bid, and their infamous “eat less” women’s long v-neck, Urban Outfitters have decided to continue their campaign of branding themselves the hippest purveyors of pure evil on the corporate high street by engaging in cheap tranny jokes!
Basically, it’s a little card they sell, in a series called “Rotten Rhymes, Tarnished Tales and Vulgar Verse” that is designed to, I suppose, be “clever” and “funny” reworkings of classic fairy-tales and nursery rhymes. It’s entitled “Ye Olde Jack & Jill”. The text reads as follows:
Jack and Jill
Went up a hill
So Jack could see Jill’s fanny
But Jack got a shock
And an eyeful of cock
Because Jill was a closet tranny
Ugh. Fuck you Urban Outfitters. Fuck. You.
(for the sake of context, “fanny” means vagina in the UK, not a butt)
After linking this on twitter, I had someone ask me if I found it offensive. I’m not sure how exactly anyone could honestly think a trans woman wouldn’t find this offensive.
Anyway… I have no idea what to do about this. I’d propose a boycott if I weren’t so certain of the fact that it would quickly be mocked as a “ladyboycott” (though certainly I won’t be shopping there anytime soon). And I’d suggest some kind of public outcry or letter-writing campaign, but clearly idiot hipsters are going to continue giving them their business anyway, since none of the previous appalling actions of Urban Outfitters put any kind of dent in their business. Besides: “it’s ironic”!
So what are we left with? Yet another reminder of the ubiquity of crass, vulgar, demeaning jokes at the expense of trans women. Yet another instance of us being treated as walking punchlines. We’re a joke first, human beings second (if at all). Yet another instance of the “trap”/”deceiver” trope being perpetuated (which gets a whole lot of us killed, as it happens). Yet another look into how for some reason, while almost all other forms of overt bigotry have been (rightfully) deemed inappropriate, it is still perfectly fine for trans women to be openly dehumanized, mocked and derided, with people and businesses rarely suffering any consequences from deciding to profit from our being ridiculed.
I feel a bit sick. And a bit sad. And a lot angry. And also helpless. Which makes me angrier and sicker and sadder. I need to go scream into a pillow for a moment, excuse me.
Okay, I’m back.
I just wish I knew what to do. I wish I knew what we could do. And I’m tired. I’m tired of having to walk around in a world constantly barraging me with the message that I’m a joke, a freak, an abomination, a deception and lie, delusional, a sinner, an acceptable target.
The ubiquity doesn’t lessen the consequences of things like this. It makes it worse. One little card can be ignored. But a whole world telling you that you’re a lesser human being (or just a thing) cannot.
Actually… I think I’ll go lie on that pillow now and just get the hell out of this world for a little while.
ETA: Urban Outfitters own site is now claiming the card is “sold out”. Bullshit. It was pulled. Which would be AWESOME if they’d actually own up to that, and admit the fuck-up. Anyway, you can see it for yourself over here.