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Cox On Shirts

« February 2014 »


Citizen activism is generally regarded as a good thing, but citizen activism takes a lot of forms. Abortion clinic protesters are citizen activists. Ted Nugent is a citizen activist. Citizen activism's value depends somewhat on the citizen, and very much on the activism. Which brings us to Judy Cox of Orem, Utah, who was moved to her own bit of citizen activism recently.

This being Orem, Utah, the self-proclaimed "Family City, USA", heart of the magic underwear kingdom, you can probably imagine that the citizen activism we're talking about is something weird and quaint and headed's both wrong- and thick- .

And so it was that Judy Cox went to the mall with her 18-year-old son, and walked by a Pac Sun, which was selling T-shirts. T-shirts that Judy Cox found offensive.

Now, mall clothing stores and offensive T-shirts have a fairly storied history in recent years. Traditionally, the shirts in question are either a little bit rapey or a little bit tween-slutty for general societal health. These shirts fall outside that. They're for dudes, for one thing. And they have scantily-clad models on them. Here's how Cox, engorged with righteous fury, described them. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

“The bottom of one woman is completely exposed, uncovered and it’s a very provocative pose that she’s in. Clearly it was offensive and I was most concerned about the youth and the children that would be viewing this.”

One of the articles I found helpfully provided pictures of either the four shirts or four of the shirts, and I'm afraid I have to take issue with some of what Cox said. The completely exposed bottom is maybe 50% exposed, in a short-skirt-and-thong kind of way. The other shots include the top half of a woman in a bra, and two seated women holding themselves in such a way that you can't tell, aside from bits of a bra, what either of them have or don't have on their torsos.

And frankly, I have to take issue with "clearly offensive". This is 2013. I could have bought dozens of posters when I was even younger than 18 in America's many thriving mall stores that showed more skin, indicated more nipplage, and were generally more provocative than any of these shirts. For fuck's sake, I lived through the age of teen Nagel obsession. Society failed to crumble and both the youth AND the children that viewed that went on to become productive members of society.

But we all have the right to be offended by shit that doesn't make any goddamned sense when thought about in a historical or societal context. And we exercise that right to such a degree that we could really afford to shift some of that effort to, say, our Fourth Amendment rights. What matters is not that Cox was offended, it's how she chose to act on that offense.

She bought all the shirts. To the tune of about $600.

As protests go, this is, of course, hilariously ineffective. If this story hadn't made the news, Pac Sun would have gotten the message, loud and clear, that Orem, Utah can't get enough of scantily-clad women on T-shirts. Plus, her son's probably got the Internet, which means he doesn't even need the shirts to jack it to.

So, what's Cox going to do with a bunch of tacky shirts with models on 'em? Have an old-fashioned filth-destroying bonfire? Nope. She's going to return them in around 59 days, because Pac Sun has a 60-day return policy. Which is, you have to admit, very generous.

So, really, as long as you ignore the fact that these 19 shirts will be back on the shelves by spring, ignore the very concept of restocking, and ignore the added publicity and all the people who now know these shirts exist because of the crazy Mormon, Judy Cox has really effected positive, Godly change in the world and kept the kiddies safe from shapely bare ladythighs. Or, as she put it:

"I hope my efforts will inspire others to speak up within their communities. You don't have to purchase $600 worth of T-shirts, but you can express your concerns to businesses and corporations who promote the display of pornography to children."

Which, to be fair, is a sentiment I could totally get behind, if it came alongside a much more accurate definition of "pornography" than Cox is capable of employing.

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