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Is Nike's Olympic 'Gold Digger' shirt sexist or ironic?

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM
Nike, the London Olympics' official supplier, has sparked outrage for selling a women's t-shirt that reads "Gold Digging" across the front.

The shirt retails for $24.99 and because it is only sold to women, some people argue that it's unfair to associate successful female athletes with the stereotype of money-hungry "gold diggers."

"Was there not another more positive, inspiring phrase Nike could have printed on these women's tees?" Yahoo blogger Joanna Douglas asks, pointing out that women participating in this year's London Olympics won twice as many medals as men.

Online store World Soccer Shop sells the t-shirt with the description, "We aren't saying they're gold diggers - we're just saying they're out for the gold! What's wrong with that?" The shirt also sells at national retailers like Footlocker and Sports Authority.

Nike issued this response:

Nike has consistently supported female athletes and the position they enjoy as positive role models. The t-shirt uses a phrase in an ironic way that is relevant given it was released just as the world focused on the success of female athletes.

Jezebel says they're "divided" over the controversy but ask, "Have we really come far enough in terms of gender equality that it's totally cool for a massive corporation to joke about women athletes being gold diggers? Or is it just an "ironic" reappropriation of the phrase?"

One comment on Nordstrom.com, one of Nike's retailers, wrote "Why are you selling this shirt? The message is disgusting, disgraceful, degrading and extremely disrespectful. If it's all in good fun, why isn't the shirt available in men's sizes?"

"I agree it is sexist and degrading for women. On the other hand, no one is forcing you to buy it. If you don't like it don't buy it!" responded another commenter.

[Via Shine]

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