This week Target became the latest target of the politically correct warriors.
Target’s crime of political correctness was to sell a T-shirt. A pink T-shirt for girls. The t-shirt read, “Batgirl to-do list: Dryclean cape, wash batmobile, fight crime, save the world”.
And with that, the warriors launched their attack on social media. The accusations the warriors levelled at Target ranged from the T-shirt being “outrageous”, “really inappropriate”, sending a “really damaging message” and the final coup de grace, “out of step with 21st century family values … it is utterly offensive and must be removed”.
Target is a business and it isn’t in the business of fighting political correctness. It’s in the business of selling affordable clothing to the mass market. So it withdrew the T-shirt from sale and issued the following statement: “After reviewing and reading our customers’ concerns on the Batgirl tee, we have decided to remove the shirt from our stores. It was never Target’s intention to offend our customers with this item.”
The warriors celebrated their victory like a grand final win. But we should be commiserating. The surge of political correctness undermines our freedoms, including in this case the freedom to raise our children in a way we choose.
Let’s consider a few things.
First, the T-shirt wasn’t sexist. For many, including me, the T-shirt sent an empowering message to girls that they can do anything. It was far more interesting and sassy than the boys’ version of the T-shirt which merely read, “Like father like son, yes my dad is Batman”. No crime-fighting or world saving for the boys.
But the deeper meaning in this two-year-olds’ T-shirt was open to interpretation. For the politically correct warriors who found the T-shirt sexist, was it necessary to attack Target and call for its withdrawal? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. No one is forcing anyone to buy these clothes.
Why should the moral outrage of a few bind us all to their value systems? In parenting there are many hotly contested debates about “good parenting” and what sort of messages we should send our children, especially our girls.
As a parent, it is and should be your choice how you raise your children and the values you instil in them, what you dress your children in, what schools you send them to, what language you use with your children. But inherent in this is “choice” and freedom to choose. Instances such as the Batgirl T-shirt are indicative of a disturbing trend of the politically correct imposing their value systems on the rest of us. Next time, warriors, please remember not everyone agrees with you.
This article originally appeared in The Age on the 7th of September, 2016.