Back in 2014, Matt Taylor was condemned by the media for wearing a shirt depicting scantily clad pinup girls with guns, cars, and helicopters during a press conference about his achievements surrounding the ESA’s Rosetta mission. The man landed a probe onto a comet, but had to deal with such accusations as “one small step for man, three steps back for women,” and other radical feminist nonsense.
Amusingly enough, the shirt was designed and made by a female friend of his by the name of Elly Prizeman, who now sells a line of similar clothing. Naturally, being the provocateur I am, I had to have my own. A few months ago, I ordered the same shirt from her site. For awhile it sat in my closet more or less unused, because I was waiting for just the right sort of moment to wear it.
Some time ago I decided to try a social experiment of sorts. I wore the shirt to the family-friendly Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens, a Tampa-area theme park. I was hoping to get a rise out of people, to see offended scowls, muttering tones of disapproval, or even outright confrontation. I saw none of this. There wasn’t a single scowl, muttered remark, or disapproving glance. The shirt did, however, receive a number of compliments, an enthusiastic vote of approval from a few tattooed bikers, and joy from one of the park workers who actually recognized Elly Prizeman’s work for what it was and was thrilled to see the shirt that launched the shirtstorm in person.
So, while I was pleased to note that I could wear the shirt in public without a mob of angry feminists coming after me, I was disappointed that I was unable to offend anyone with the shirt. So I decided to try the same social experiment at a different venue: a local car show. Hundreds of muscle cars lined up in the hot Florida sun for this particular event, and it was likewise a family-friendly affair, so I brought along my 18-month old son and donned the shirt.
Everybody wanted to know where I bought the shirt, so that they could get one (Elly, I may have just sold a bunch of shirts for you). One of the female muscle car drivers was downcast. Not, I should note, because the shirt offended her, but because everyone was checking out the scantily clad women on the shirt instead of her (she was half-joking, mind you, but still). She asked if the shirt-maker also made dresses, to which I replied in the affirmative. I wouldn’t doubt if she patronized the seamstress in the future, also.
Again, not one unkind word or furtive glance. And, if anything, an even more enthusiastic reception for the shirt from both men and women. Forget my car and the work I’ve done to it — everybody wanted to know about the shirt.
The lesson from this little social experiment is that radical feminism, while it controls media, college campuses, and has a strong voice in government, has little impact on the sensibilities of the common man. Go to a theme park or a car show, and far from being offended by such things, they want to know where to buy one themselves.
Matt Taylor’s mistake wasn’t to wear the shirt, but rather to do so around a hostile media establishment. I doubt his coworkers, male or female, cared one whit. In fact, if the reaction at both of the venues I mentioned was any indication, people probably admired him for wearing it. Once again, modern feminism is making mountains not just of molehills — but things that weren’t even molehills to begin with.