A good T-shirt can become like an old friend. It can make you feel comfortable and happy. If it has a funny slogan, it will not only make you laugh, but will also put a smile on the face of everyone you come into contact with. Sometimes it can even shock and make people think. This is the point of good offensive T-shirts.
When a slogan is provocative, people will talk about it. This encourages dialogue and deeper thinking about the message. It is after all not necessarily the message itself, but rather the way that people react to it, that can offend, especially when the slogan touches on human rights issues like gay rights or women’s rights.
Most T-shirt slogans are designed to provoke a reaction. The idea is basically to wear your heart on your sleeve, or rather on your chest. Of course your message may get some people really upset, but if you’re lucky, someone somewhere will read the slogan and think about it, what their own attitudes are towards the issue and whether these behaviors are fair and justifiable.
When there is an upcoming election, slogans with a political slant tend to become very popular. They can even be an effective way of garnering support for a certain candidate. A slogan that pokes fun at the opposition candidate tells people in a humorous way why they shouldn’t vote for that particular candidate. This is a much more effective way of getting their support than one that tells them in a boring, unoriginal way that they should vote for your candidate.
Many tees designed to shock and offend do so by mentioning bodily functions. Most people will react to these with a mixture of horror and disgust. However, some may start wondering why it is that perfectly natural functions like menstruation, breaking wind or excretion should be swept under the carpet when everyone does it.
Sometimes your tee can offend without you meaning it to. A slogan about being a sexy girl, for instance, can be construed by some as just another example of how the patriarchal system puts women in boxes and expects them to fulfill only certain roles, like being appreciated for their sex appeal and not their ability to think. The message that you were trying to send then gets lost in a completely opposite interpretation of what you intended.
The person wearing the particular slogan has the power to make that slogan either meaningless or to make it more powerful. This is often the case when a slogan that tries to reinforce an ethnic stereotype is worn by a person of that particular ethnicity. The person shows that the stereotype isn’t valid. At the same time, he or she fights bigotry with a sense of humor, rising above the petty behavior on the part of the T-shirt designer.
When you decide to design or wear offensive T-shirts, you should carefully consider the message. There is a fine line between being provocative and being downright hurtful. That slogan that makes fun of rape, for instance, may sound clever to you but it won’t to the statistical average of one in four women who has been raped.