Disorder t-shirts create disorder


By Maureen Dunn

While browsing a rack of clothes Aydan Heinlen, freshman, shops for shirts without offensive words and phrases. (Photo by Maureen Dunn)
While browsing a rack of clothes, Aydan Heinlen, freshman, shops for shirts without offensive words and phrases. (Photo by Maureen Dunn)

The recent trend of t-shirts sporting designs based on specific disorders has some consumers speaking out against the controversial attire. Stores such as Urban Outfitters and TJ Maxx along with online stores are selling shirts that poke fun at conditions like anorexia, colon cancer, Crohn’s disease and others. The topic has caused an uproar with teenagers. Should people be making shirt designs about such sensitive topics?

The battle started when two young women modeled shirts for Urban Outfitters’ online shopping website. At first it was just a rumble, but once the shirts made their way to stores, the controversy escalated. The shirts said “Eat Less” and “Depression.”

“I think that the subjects are sensitive for a reason. Everyone is beautiful just the way they are and having these disorders on these well known brands is awful,” Brianna Perez, sophomore, said.

These controversial shirts are on display in popular stores. T. J. Maxx recently marketed a shirt that had the words ”Hang Loose” with a noose hanging between the two words. Twitter followers spoke out about the shirt, and it has since been removed from the shelves.

There are other designs that have sayings parodying OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). There are also websites dedicated to making and designing shirts that have logos of the disorders.

“I’ve seen shirts that make fun of other disorders like ADHD and ADD, and I don’t agree with it. Sure, there is freedom of speech, but there is also a line of respecting the boundaries of what can be printed on a shirt,” Taylor Byrd, junior, said.

T-shirts flaunting this sensitive material have become a trend and have people speaking out about these topics, but the discussions aren’t positive. The subjects are sensitive for a reason, and they should not be joked about.

These topics need to be openly addressed with the intent of understanding them, not making fun of them. Stores should not be selling shirts with the topics of anxiety, suicide, or bipolar disorder. Store owners and customers should know the limit of what is appropriate and what is not. Everyone is unique, but no one should feel like an outcast.