"Princess. Not in need of rescue"

A new line of T-shirts seeks to provide "emotional armor."


Katharine Mieszkowski
April 6, 2006 10:42PM (UTC)

As an adult, it's easy enough to sniff at sexist T-shirts for teens, and cheer on the very successful "girlcott" of them. But Jenifer Hoffman, 36, a tri-athlete and mother-of-three who lives in Newburyport, Mass., outraged at the crass slogans plastered on clothes at her local mall, actually did something about them. She launched a full-fledged propaganda counterattack in the form of a line of T-shirts that she calls Emotional Armor, according to a profile in today's Boston Globe.

On a shopping trip to buy clothes for her 8-, 6- and 4-year-olds, Hoffman was appalled: "In every store, there were messages on apparel for adults and children of negativity, sexual innuendo, and violence," she said. "I thought, I'll just make T-shirts I feel my kids, myself, and others should embrace, with positive reminders of what's important." The slogans on her shirts for women, kids and babies include: "Princess. Not in need of rescue," "I believe in me," "Natural born hero" and "Walking my internal red carpet." Proceeds from the shirts benefit the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, a local domestic violence shelter.

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Hoffman was inspired to start her line of tees after she suffered an assault. One evening when she was out for a walk, she was attacked by a young man who "tried to carry me off." She escaped.

Who knows if this mom can really inspire rebellious teens who love to offend adults to stop wearing T-shirts that proclaim "Bitchy is my middle name." Still, at least Hoffman's making an alternative available, while raising money to help domestic violence victims.

Broadsheet salutes Hoffman, who not only literally rescued herself but cared enough to try to help others do the same.


Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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