Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Translation, please

This one has me stumped. In my night class this week, a young male student had on a very perplexing t-shirt. Let me tell you a bit about him, which might inform your answers. He's not a stellar student and sometimes borders on disrespectful. He shows up late. He misses class. He never contributes. And this week he sat back in his chair with his arms crossed across his chest for the whole class. And he had on a white baseball hat -- backwards.

He was also wearing a t-shirt that I just don't understand. Given what I've gleaned about his personality thus far, I'm guessing it is some offensive message but I can't figure out just what he's trying to say. Certainly I live in a bubble. The t-shirt was white with the traditional black+red lettering, which said:

I ♥ Lesbians

Any ideas? I wish I knew if it was clearly offensive because I wouldn't permit it in my classroom. Or maybe this is one of those "teachable moments" for me about making assumptions about students?

Update: After talking with several friends and receiving several comments -- a consensus has emerged. This young man was voicing his approval of "lesbian" porn. If that is indeed the case, WTF?? Who wears a t-shirt to school that says I ♥ Porn?? (And on a night when our class discussion is about the sexual exploitation of female slaves??)

So what would you have done if this guy appeared in your class?


Update, again: Another consensus. Most feel they would ignore the t-shirt, which is what I did. Of course, it is possible think of t-shirts that would be so offensive as to merit comment, but this nebulous one isn't quite there. And you're's quite possible he's trying to draw attention, which I did not provide. And yes, I can see the Onion headline now! "Area Man Unsure What Own T-Shirt Means." :)


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Overread said...

My vote would be he's a fan of watching lesbian porn and wants the world to know it.

Because the ladies, they love that kind of thing.

At 10:37 PM, Blogger luckybuzz said...

I agree with overread. My guess is that this guy thinks he's being edgy and provocative, but he's actually just being a boring old straight guy. :)

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have ignored it.

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

I'd probably have ignored it too. I have seen T-shirts along the lines of "I (heart) porn," and while I'm not a big fan of porn personally, I'm not convinced it's evil enough to grant the T-shirt status of being offensive rather than just being silly. To me it's very much the same kind of thing that has people wearing sweatpants that say "Juicy" across the ass, which I think is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen and is nothing that I would ever wear, but not something I see as affecting class.

Just my 2 cents.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger jo(e) said...

I ignore t-shirt slogans. My feeling is that students who wear inappropriate t-shirts are doing so for attention so I don't give them attention. Besides, I tend to be kind of oblivious to what my students are wearing anyhow.

I've never had a student wear a t-shirt that seemed to cause any kind of distraction.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say even the t-shirt wearer wasn't 100% sure what it meant, or was trying to provoke a reaction. You can see the Onion headline now, can't you?

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Kristiface said...

I'm sure this good-ole-boy in the making never even thought about the potential offensiveness of the t-shirt-- when he bought it or when he wore it too class. He probably was out shopping with one of his friends, snorted, said "Cool" and bought it.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Steph said...

Reminds me of a friend of mine in college -- I suppose it would be important for me to mention that he was a MALE friend. Anyway, he decided that he was a lesbian, because he loved women.

And for the record, he wasn't really stupid ... he was just having fun with words. Interesting perspective, though...

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