It’s FCKH8 who are the problem, not little girls who swear

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I don’t have a problem with seeing little girls swearing. Sure, it’s a bit tacky and clearly aimed at going viral through shock value. But my real objection is to what they actually say.

The latest FCKH8 video to make the rounds completely ignores intersectional issues. They give the figure of 23% as the gender pay gap, but this does not take into account the added shortfall in wages for men and women of ethnic minorities; black women in the US for example, earn on average 64% of what white men do.Furthermore, trans identities are marginalised by the claim that women miss out on higher wages because they ‘don’t have penises’ – not all women have vaginas, not all men penises. The claims made in the video are pop-social justice which simply ignore issues that aren’t easy to sum up in an expletive-laden sentence shouted by a 6 year old.

The company itself is also terrible. For one thing, the t-shirts that they print on are sourced from American Apparel –a company responsible for numerous misogynistic ad campaigns and whose CEO Dov Charney had repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment.

But FCKH8 are standing up against prejudice, right? Like when they posted an image on Facebook of two topless women kissing each other and commented underneath ‘we want some of that hot lezzie action’? Or when they likened asexuality to masturbating with your left rather than right hand and claimed that asexual people faced no prejudice? Selling some t-shirts that tell people to ‘legalise love’ doesn’t excuse the exclusive use of slim, white models on their website or the aggressive online spamming of commentators who criticise them. Retweeting teenagers’ art and trite pinterest posts without the permission of the artist or author is not activism. There’s even a tumblr dedicated to recording all of their online bigotry (stopfckh8.tumblr.com).

The claims made in the video are pop-social justice which simply ignore issues that aren’t easy to sum up in an expletive-laden sentence shouted by a 6 year old.

On the plus side, FCKH8 have now started donating money to charities for the causes that they make a profit from. For every t-shirt sold, $5 goes to charity. This is a step forward (when they started, they didn’t donate anything) but increasingly, charities are turning down the money. Race Forward, an anti-racism group, refused the donation on the grounds that the t-shirts in question were making money from the tragic death of Mike Brown, as FCKH8’s anti-racism campaign was launched shortly after the Ferguson shooting.

Giving money to campaigns to fight oppression and bigotry is, of course, admirable. But if you want to make a difference, donate the money straight to your chosen charity and make your own anti-bigotry ‘statement t-shirt’.

FCKH8 is that friend who says they’re not racist and then makes jokes about black people when they think you aren’t listening. It picks and chooses campaigns based on what’s trending on Twitter right now. FCKH8 is a capitalist organisation, taking advantage of fashionable causes to make money.

Rebecca Shortt 

Watch FCKH8’s latest campaign here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QZ44fmMAxs

 

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