The Problem With These Forever 21 Shirts

05/15/2015 05:41 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016

A video on Buzzfeed prompted me to check out Forever21's website. I am way over the age of being allowed to set foot inside the physical store, but the video gave women's reactions to some of their graphic t-shirts and I had to know what all the fuss was about.

What I discovered was an array of shirts which seem to be painting young girls as sexualized, uncaring, insensitive and dim-witted buffoons. I am appalled at some of the slogans being marketed towards young women. Below are just a few that turned my WTF meter to 11.


So, either you can be creative or you can be in love. Really? Turn on the radio, read a poem, watch a movie and it is clearly evident that love can actually propel creativity to new heights. Seriously -- what does this mean?


The subtext being, "But you wouldn't know that by how I dress." I guess smart girls can't wear crop tops. Sorry, ladies who express their personalities through fashion -- if you want to be taken seriously, you better don a muumuu.


This cute script says "Trouble Maker." Why should young girls ever consider being a troublemaker, let alone advertise it? This is a clear play on teenagers' need for acceptance and feeling like if they're the "bad girl," they'll be respected or popular.


Risqué: adjective. "Slightly indecent or liable to shock, especially by being sexually suggestive." Because that's a message that should be marketed to young women.


This one confounds me. Is the wearer saying she's gross, or that the person reading it is gross? I know this is supposed to be cute or something, but I just don't get it.


I believe the defense of this shirt is that the clothing itself is the fancy little number -- like the new little black dress or something. But come on. Is anyone going to look at, or buy, the shirt with that intention? Absolutely not.


"Likes" = love. False love. Ladies should not be told, even inadvertently, that doing things for "likes" is a worthy reason to do things.


Our teenage years are full of hormone surges and complicated feelings that no amount of shopping can -- or should -- replace.


Sexualization and aggression all wrapped up in one black shirt. That's exactly what I'd want my 15-year-old telling the world.


Evidently, the way to a teenager's heart is with a burger and a compliment on her exterior beauty. No need to tell her she's smart or creative or inspirational. Nope. Just "pretty" with a side of fries will do.


The pièce de resistance. This was my mantra through my angsty teen years when all I wanted was for someone to tell me they did care about me. Now, young women can just wear this shirt to divert everyone's attention from the fact they really need someone to listen to them.

I understand these shirts are meant to be cute and trendy, ironic and funny, but they just make me sad that my daughter is growing up in a society where young women's insecurities are being preyed upon for the all mighty dollar. It's just wrong and unconscionable and flat-out disturbing. Shame on you, Forever21.

You can find more from Toni Hammer at Is It Bedtime Yet, on Facebook, and on Twitter.