What Does it Mean?!….. The Boyfriend Tee

This is probably more of a rant than anything else, so just bare with me. David and I have limited shopping options where we live and the closest store in walking distance is Walmart (which also has the most options for baby stuff). So we have, on occasion, walked to the Walmart to pick up a few small items that we might realize we need.

On such an evening this past week we went to Walmart to pick up a baby item and as we were walking out we saw some Batman t-shirts in the women’s section of the store. I find this exciting because not only were there Batman t-shirts, they were not bright pink or some other altered version.

So I got these shirts!

So I got these shirts!

Then on one of the shirts we noticed a sticker that stated “The Boyfriend Tee”. We both just stood there kind of staring because we really could not understand what it meant. There were a number of reasons that we could think to label something like that and all of them felt kind of sexist or condescending.

Shirt Belongs to Your Boyfriend

That purple color kind of makes it seem like it's not for boyfriend...

That purple color kind of makes it seem like it’s not for boyfriend…

So, one of the first thoughts is that the idea is that the shirt is one that would belong to your boyfriend that you would wear. This can be seen sometimes with dress shirts that are called the boyfriend shirt because supposedly it is tailored more like a men’s shirt, thus the boyfriend shirt.

This is kind of problematic to begin with, but with the a comic-based t-shirt I feel like there is another level of issues present. Specifically the idea that something like Batman is “for boys” and therefore this shirt would normally belong to a girl’s boyfriend not to her.

Shirt Helps You Get a Boyfriend

Another option is that the t-shirt is designed to help you get a boyfriend. This follows the same underlying premise as the previous option: that a Batman t-shirt would only be for a boy and that a girl wearing it is an anomaly.

The other piece that this presents is the thought that a girl wants to catch a guy and by wearing this shirt it will help you catch said guy. The very idea is ridiculous because first off why should I spend money on clothing if it is not something I would like? The idea that you would use a Batman t-shirt to catch a guy also plays in to the whole fake geek girl scenario. It just seems so condescending.

Wear Shirt for Boyfriend

The other option is that you get this shirt to wear for your boyfriend. This kind of combines the first two premises because the idea is that it is something that a guy would like and it is why you are wearing it. You already have the boyfriend so it is not about getting one, but you are still buying it for the guy.

I don’t know if I even understand this one completely because why wouldn’t you just buy the shirt for your boyfriend to wear, instead of for you to wear for your boyfriend? Again it falls under the idea that your boyfriend is a geek and you are not, but you want to show interest in something they like. It really falls under the whole fake geek girl syndrome that people believe in.


What does it mean?

What does it mean?

In conclusion my only response is just WHY?! The whole thing is so ridiculous and that it is a sticker that got added to the shirt as a way to promote makes it even worse. Someone thought of this idea as a way to market a t-shirt. I guess the big thing is that the whole idea is just extremely disappointing.


18 responses to “What Does it Mean?!….. The Boyfriend Tee

  1. I LOVE this. I find the “boyfriend jean” the same level of confusing… You had me in stitches the whole time I read this!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Didn’t they used to just sell “t-shirts”? lol Pointlessly gendered marketing…..

    And speaking of, have you *seen* the new “female fan” Bucaneers site? O_o

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! All I can say is yes. Thank you for addressing this issue. It gets me boiling if I’m not careful.


  4. If I remember correctly, boyfriend is the style, years ago that was only for sweaters that looked like they were borrowed from the said boyfriend but well a bit more adjusted. Now yesterday I saw jeans called he boyfriend cut, and like you with the purple t-shirt, I don’t see a lot of boyfriends spotting such a style… I think it’s meant to hint that it’s a masculine cut/design adapted for women…


  5. I’ll never really understand the “boyfriend” labels on clothing. I mean, I guess I sort of get that it’s a style or something that makes it more masculine but is still considered women’s clothing, but it’s so… icky. I bought a pair of “boyfriend” jeans and they fit me better than any jeans have ever fit me and that is mostly because the “masculine” tailoring fits my hip-less figure. In a way I’m kind of offended since that kind of just reminds me how un-feminine my figure is though I’m sure that wasn’t the intention. I don’t know, there are just a lot of ways in which this type of marketing is offensive, I just wish they would stop and let people wear whatever they want without it being labeled as a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” style (which, by the way, why isn’t there a “girlfriend” label in men’s clothes? Some guys wear their girlfriend’s clothing, after all. Also there is such a thing as homosexual couples and whatnot – women wearing their girlfriend’s clothes/men wearing their boyfriend’s clothes – so really it’s pretty non-P.C…. Just a though clothing marketing people).

    Liked by 1 person

    • In regards to the girlfriend label for clothes. I think that aligns with the other issue with these sorts of labels in that it is okay for women to wear men’s clothes (sometimes) but it is not okay for men to wear women’s clothes. Could you imagine if skinny jeans for men were called the Girlfriend jeans or something similar. Honestly for clothing in general it would be nice if they had a better way of identifying. With the boyfriend jean you could call it straight hip jeans. Look that could even be a play on words.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hell if I know. But this is getting shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always assumed it meant “cut for a boy/man,” which to me means more comfortable. I’m a busty lady so often shirts that are “cut for women” either don’t fit my chest or don’t fit my waist, but they could just say “loose cut” or something like this. This is not a terminology that’s ever really gotten to me personally, but I wholeheartedly agree that language matters, and you’ve given me food for thought. Why is something that’s oversized or loose fitting considered a boyfriend shirt, jacket, etc? Couldn’t it just be loose fitting or or loose cut? Also why are T-shirt sizes so sporadic? I’m not sure if men have this problem, but I don’t think I own two T-shirts of the same size and some of the “larger” sized ones are actually tighter.


  8. iminformationtech

    I saw an “I wear Violet for my boyfriend” became very confused and did some research. Turns out it is for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So the boyfriend shirt sticker on a violet shirt more than likely has nothing to do with any form of Sexism and was just about raising awareness.


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