October 16th, 2017

Dear Ms             ,

Upon your request I have done some thinking about my T-shirt sporting the slogan “The Future is Female”, and have decided to share with you what I thought.

I remembered that when I first met a woman wearing one of these T-shirts my immediate reaction was to tell her that I loved it and to ask where I could purchase my own. I loved it because it reminded me that we are changing the world, that though there has only been one female Prime Minister, that there has never been a female President, that as of 2016 only 16% of CEO positions are held by women, this is changing. When my amazing cousin bought me my shirt it was as reflection of how all women need to support and encourage each other. I wore it and loved it because it reminded my younger sisters and my female peers that they can, and will, do amazing things in their futures. I love it because when I wear it I meet so many great people who come up to me and tell me that they love my shirt. I love it because when I joined the Women’s March on Washington I saw so many people I admire wearing it. I love this shirt because 25% of its proceeds are donated to Planned Parenthood, an organization I support “founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits”[1].

I agree with you that when I wear this shirt it sends a message. It sends the message that I support and want to empower all my fellow females. It sends the message that despite the fact that women were not even considered persons under Canadian law less than 100 years ago women’s rights have come so far and continue to grow. It sends the message that I am grateful for the teachers who are educating me so I can be the future.

 I disagree with you however that this shirt might make male students uncomfortable. I disagree that if they saw my shirt they might feel as though they are not part of the future, just because the slogan empowers females does not mean that it tears down males. You brought up feminism when you spoke to me. The feminist movement aims to bring equality between men and women, not to make women more powerful than men. To confirm my thoughts on how this shirt would make male students feel I spoke with a few of my male peers, none of them revealed any offense to the shirt, they agreed that it stood for the feminist goal of equality. Though the shirt is about females it doesn't mean that it is exclusively for women, being a feminist isn’t a solely female thing, it’s important for men to be feminists as well in the true meaning of the movement.

After you spoke to me I thought I should research the company that sells the shirt to see what they intended the message of the shirt to be, this is their statement;

“This slogan has lasted through the decades and is reemerging as an empowering statement for all, as female-identified bodies and rights remain under attack. Inflexible and compulsory sexual and gender binaries are used to oppress and deny people their humanity and agency. Otherwild believes in an inclusive, expanded and fluid notion of gender expression, identities and feminisms. We support liberation, embrace our trans sisters and brothers, and call for the end of patriarchal ideology, domination, oppression and violence. We believe that “The Future is Female” is the past, the present and the future, and is language that resonates.”[2]

        In conclusion, your suggestion to think about what my shirt means reaffirmed my pride in it and unless it directly violates school dress code I will continue to wear it to school. This letter also includes a print off from a blog my mother gave to me after I explained our discussion today, I think it offers an excellent additional perspective on the topic of these shirts that I hope you will take the time to read. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in.

Sincerely,

Erica Brown


[1] Parenthood, Planned. "Who We Are." Planned Parenthood. Accessed October 16, 2017. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are.

[2] "The Future is Female T-shirt." Otherwild. Accessed October 16, 2017. https://otherwild.com/products/the-future-is-female-t-shirt?variant=3783684289.