Forget decorations. What about decorum?
Clearly the F-bomb has become more common in the nation’s vernacular. However, as a mom, I know that the parents of young kids work diligently to shield them from learning vulgarities. Well, Merry Christmas! “Hip” clothier Urban Outfitters has just made that task more difficult by branding everything from flasks to T-shirts with the F-word in their new Christmas catalogue.
Really? Now that’s an interesting marketing strategy. According to Businessinsider.com, 58.6 percent of shoppers will give clothing as a gift this year, making up part of the whopping $228.4 billion spent on gifts in total. Still, someone should remind them they are not the only place to buy a cute boho sweater anymore these days.
The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America recently wrote, “Urban Outfitters, headquartered in Philadelphia, operates five retail brands including clothier Anthropologie all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Urban Outfitters’ main demographic is between 18 and 24 — and many of their shoppers are even younger than that — meaning a good portion of shoppers aren’t legally old enough to drink. This is especially disconcerting because research shows that alcohol advertising targeting youth is strongly correlated with increased alcohol consumption.”
Right on! I’ll admit, I thought the price point and hipster vibe was different, appealing for my teenage daughter. I even ventured in myself to grab her a sweatshirt for camp. But their holiday catalog’s obscenity-laced rant, flasks, and even marijuana-leaf shirts sealed the deal. I won’t be back, and neither will my credit card.
Shame on Urban Outfitters! This is just another example of corporate culture being part of the problem, and not part of the solution. How can we complain out of one side of our mouths at the apathy and lack of responsibility taken by our teenagers while turning a blind eye to a company that markets flasks and filth to kids?
It’s unfortunate, because Urban Outfitters is supposed to be the adult in the room. But let it be known: They don’t care about your kids, and they don’t care about you as a parent. In fact, I would argue that the “F u” on the shirt is really meant for the parents who are paying the bills.
Yes, we live in a free-market society, and I will be the first to support capitalism and free speech. Surely, Urban Outfitters can design and sell clothes without adding to the coarsening of our culture. They have a right to sell what they want. But we have a right to vote with our pocketbooks.
What about our rights as parents to guard our children from learning vulgarities when they are just learning to read? What 5-year-old needs to learn that word? Yet, with the help of your local Urban Outfitters, a T-shirt emblazoned with it may be coming to a mall near you.
Moms and Dads, don’t spend your money at Urban Outfitters this Christmas. And if your kids are using your credit card to purchase their clothes, check your receipts and take advantage of the store’s return policies. There are plenty of other Main Street stores that would love to have your business.
Let’s be a part of the solution.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).