Now that being “woke” is super trendy, teen retailer Hot Topic has introduced an entire collection of shirts and accessories designed to let your teen exhibit their rebelliousness in as conformist a way as possible.
Called the “Lifestyle” collection, Hot Topic, best known for its band tee shirts and having invented the JNCO jeans trend of the 1990s, debuted the selection of woke merchandise over the weekend in an email that was intended to bring out the social justice warrior in all its customers.
For around $20, you can now outfit yourself for an anti-Trump protest at your high school, or better yet, be the envy of your middle school Humanitarian Club.
The collection includes gay pride shirts and buttons (including one that promotes intersectionality with Black Lives Matter), and a handful of feminist items, including “Nasty Woman” jewelry, and bracelets that implore you to “stop the hate,” though it’s not entirely clear what Hot Topic is referring to.
Wokeness, of course, is a trend among retailers and fashion designers, and feminist tee shirts covered the runway for Spring/Summer 2017. The availability of feminist- and activist-branded merchandise has become a controversial topic among career social justice warriors, largely because many are afraid the commercial acceptance – and even celebrity nature – of modern activism is counterproductive.
Hot Topic certainly won’t be making the argument against that. The store is known for its agile product strategy, hopping on high-fashion and cultural trends and mass marketing them in friendly ways. You might never dream of going to a punk rock show, in other words, but Hot Topic provides a safe, suburban location to outfit yourself to look like you might.
The same goes for political protest.
Of course, when retailers like Hot Topic suddenly get ahold of social justice, well, the results can be mixed. Capitalism is a wonderful thing, and if it means you can get your sleeveless unicorn tee for less, that’s great. But you also might get confused. This shirt sold in the collection, for example, seems antithetical to third wave feminism, at least.
The theory of intersectional progressivism tells me that that’s probably sexist. Also, maybe racist. And probably ageist. Also uglyist, if that’s a thing.