Arn't I A Woman?: An Open Letter to Spencer Gifts



Dec 4, 2012

An Open Letter to Spencer Gifts

Remember when you were 12 and were a Mallrat and you hung out at stores like Hot Topic and Spencers? Shockingly those stores don't just fade into obscurity when you grow up. They're still there selling blacklights, vampire teeth, and fake vomit to adolescents and goth kids.
                                     (Me and my friend in high school.)

I only bring it up because I was unfortunately reminded of such stores when Buzzfeed posted this article today: 20 Examples That Spencers Gifts Hates Women

It has a bunch of images of different shirts the retail chain is currently selling.

Here are a few gems being offered (Get yr credit cards ready!):

If you didn't just come back from vomiting your breakfast up in the bathroom, congratulations, you are a misogynist! The subsequent e-mail is for you as much as it is for Spencer Gifts. 

I wrote this e-mail not because I thought anyone of importance would read it, or respond to it, but because I'm at a point in my life where I am sick of standing idly by. We all read posts like the one at Buzzfeed and sort of shake our heads and are steaming mad for a few minutes, but what do we as people do? I'm trying to take more active stances against systematic oppression, so I guess this is my first shot at it. Not much but at least I'm doing something....?

Here is the e-mail I wrote to Steven Silverstein, the CEO of Spencers gifts. Feel free to e-mail him here if so inclined. 

Awesome Shirts Bro! 
Dear Mr. Silverstein, 

Perhaps you are aware of a post today on the cheeky pop culture website Buzzfeed about the company in which you currently maintain CEO status. The post can be found here:

It details the disgusting merchandise your retail store makes available to consumers. These T-shirts are not simply snapshots of toilet "bro" humor. They are an obscene promotion of the sexualization and exploitation of women. These shirts mean you stand in solidarity with date rapists. On the issue of date rape, you stand on the pro side. These shirts are a great example of how we continue to breed an environment of violence towards women; of why sexual, physical, mental, and emotional abuse towards women and girls runs rampant in America. Because someone like you decides it's funny. More horrifying is that you make money off these products. You support yourself through perpetuating the dehumanization and objectification of women. It's times like these that I wish we had the ability to control who can breed. :(

I'm sure your mind is racing "freedom of speech! it's just a joke! America!" The issue here isn't one of free speech. It's an issue of hate crimes. You are willingly promoting material that encourages and perpetuates hate towards women and this type of hate too often materializes through violence and abuse. 

What if you had a daughter, and she brought home a boyfriend to meet you one day, wearing one of your shirts? I bet that shit-eating grin you are probably wearing right now would be swiftly wiped from your face. 

Or, imagine being a woman and growing up your whole life seeing products like this. Seeing yourself objectified in the media. Being rendered powerless over your own sexuality and mind. Being told that you are good simply for sex (only when a man demands it) and homemaking. Never allowed to fully develop as a human being. What do you think that would be like? Have you ever thought about that? 

These shirts are beyond offensive. The whole shtick of your company is to promote offensive material. So I won't even give you that. These shirts are physical representations of discrimination against women, and that my friend, isn't offensive, it's illegal. 

Please reconsider the shirts, the company, and your life. 

Jessie Feigert 


  1. ha! I found this because I'm writing a letter to Steve about the racially and sexually offensive halloween costumes being sold in Spirit Stores. It's an assignment for my english class but we're actually going to send the letters. I give it a 5% chance he reads mine.

  2. nice!!! yeah i never got a response...still pissed at that. i would love to read the letter and hit me up if you hear anything back! kudos to your class for that project too.


Older Posts

Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio