Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sexist Radiohead T-Shirts

At the Radiohead show in Atlanta Thursday night I was standing at the T-shirt booth and wondering just what kind of idiot would pay $40 for a t-shirt. Then my phone rang, and it was my friend Terry asking me to buy him a t-shirt.

"They're 40 bucks, dude," I said.
"I don't care. I want a Radiohead t-shirt."
"They're not all that great. They have slogans written on them. They don't even say they're Radiohead tour t-shirts."
"What do they say?"

I read a few of them to him. They were the kind of cryptic dyspeptic grumbling beloved by Radiohead fans. One, though, stood out. On a plain black t-shirt, in a font that mimicked the electronic CRT displays of the 80s, was printed: "I am trapped in my body and cannot escape."

"That's the one I want," Terry said. I should mention at this point that Terry is trapped in his body and cannot escape. He has inherited spastic paraparesis which has locked his muscles, stiffened his jaw, and left him nearly blind. For him to wear that t-shirt would be a truly blackly humorous form of performance art.

So I told the woman running the kiosk that that was the shirt I wanted.

"It's a baby tee," she said. "A girl's shirt."

"There's not one with that slogan on it in a men's size?"

"Nope. That one's for women," she said.

Wow. So the assumption there is that only women are trapped in their bodies. I understand that body image is a problem that disproportionately affects young women, but still. Also, it's a baby tee. One size: curvy and small. No fat chicks need apply. BBW who are trapped in their bodies will hafta choose a different shirt.

That's kinda sexist, Radiohead.

So I got Terry one that read: "You used to be all right. What happened?"


Elizabeth said...

That' How,

Anonymous said...

Yeah, she was wrong. You can get in men's:!.html

Radiohead wouldn't do something stupid like that.

Jeff said...

Haha, what are you doing at a Radiohead concert?

All of the shirts contain lyrics from their latest album. You know, the one they're touring for...

Nathan said...

yeah, I have one in mens, they ran out, of men, next they cost $40 bucks
because they are made from recycled plastic, you know what that big poster said and on the inside of the shirt.

Anna said...

Wow, I don’t know who you are and ended up in your blog accidentally. However, I must insist: What were you doing at a Radiohead show if you have absolutely no idea what they're about?

The t-shirts have lyrics of their recent songs written all over them, and they come in all sizes... but they run out eventually. The t-shirt your friend wanted read: I'm trapped in this body and can't get out... it's from their song Bodysnatchers. Also, if you look at them from the back, they do say they’re Radiohead tour t-shirts and they are made out of recycled plastic (explaining why they cost that much). Why would you pay for watching some band you barely know?

Congratulations! You just made up an unbelievably complicated interpretation out of a couple of t-shirts... get a job or something.

Oh, and I'm a girl by the way... I can't believe you are segregating yourself,'cause nobody else did. But then again as Thom Yorke once said: Hell, you do it to yourself and that's what really hurts.

Bitter Old Punk said...


Radiohead fans seem to be a humorless bunch.

But they sure do love to defend their band! Cuz they have PRINCIPLES, and stuff.

For the record, it was a great show -- even if the band hasn't put out a decent record since Amnesiac. There I said it. And yeah, I do own all their records. Even listened to the least boring parts of most of 'em. I stole them off the internet...

Also, dontcha think it's kind of amusing that they sell $40 recycled plastic t-shirts with a FIVE-PARAGRAPH long explanation of how virtuous they are printed on them? That doesn't strike anyone as risible? OK, never mind.

Thanks for reading my blog, Anna! I'm actually a progressive leftist who you'd probably like in person! Sorry I have such terrible, terrible musical taste!

Anonymous said...

Anna's right. sexist my ass.

Anonymous said...

Ummm..pretty sure the band doesn't sit their and say "I want this slogan on the shirt and it can only be for women. And it MUST be in a small..a baby tee." I'm pretty sure that would be the decision of the company making the your research:)

Anonymous said...

i have this shirt in a mens size, i bought it at the show. maybe they didn't have them in stock?
and it says "i am trapped in this body and can't get out" :)

Anonymous said...

Nice, pulling the humor card when you got proven wrong. Anyway, you're an idiot, bye.