A Nike Olympics shirt bearing the words "Gold Digging" and the signature Swoosh logo has caused quite the stir as some observers claim the words have a sexist connotation. But is it really an offensive piece of clothing, or just a fun play on words? You decide.
Nike was an official sponsor and clothier for the 2012 Olympics in London, but the new "Gold Digging" shirt has gone too far, according to some critics.
A key reason many folks are saying the new Nike Olympics shirt is offensive is because of the fact that it has only been made in female sizes and cuts, which critics say suggest that it the term is being used in a manner that is derogatory toward women.
A "gold digger," aka someone who engages in "gold digging" is defined by the Urban Dictionary as follows: "A girl that is only with a man because she wants his money; shell spend it on jewelery, clothes, psa treatments, etc. Once he goes broke she'll go for another man that is rich or just plain financially stable."
As such, the connotation is a negative one, and one that specifically targets women, as in Kanye West's hit song "Gold Digger," which states "I ain't sayin' she a gold digger / but she ain't messin' with no broke [men.]"
The fact that this black-and-gold shirt not only uses the arguably-offensive term, combined with the fact that it only comes in women's sizes, is seen as even more distasteful in light of the fact that there was much discussion during this year's Summer Games about whether women were being treated equally.
Many saw the 2012 Olympics as a watershed moment for women in sport, but others argued that just because more women competed this year than in any previous Summer Games, that does not mean that sexism was not at play throughout the Games.
For instance, the occasion of the first appearance of a Saudi Arabian woman competing on behalf of her country in an Olympic event -- track athlete Sarah Attar -- was viewed by many as a triumph for the women of her nation. But as some have pointed out, she still represented a nation that won't allow anyone of her gender to drive or appear in public without the supervision of a man.
And the hubbub over Gaby Douglas' hairstyle tarnished the 16-year-old's awe-inspiring gymnastic feats and gold medal in a way that it is nearly inconceivable had she been a man.
That brings us back to the issue of a women's-only, 2012 Olympics-inspired Nike shirt bearing the words "Gold Digging." Yes, American women Olympians racked up a whole pile of gold medals this year, but does that make it okay for Nike to use such a term in referencing a Summer Games that had its fair share of sexism?
A lot, according to the fashion blog Styleite, which Yahoo! reports tweeted the following: "US ladies win two-thirds of the country's gold medals at the Olympics, and @Nike rewards them with this sexist tee," which garnered responses such as this one, by a man on Twitter who agreed, writing, "Really, @nike, really?! You're going with "Gold Digging" for one of the #USWNT Olympic shirts? Super sexist."
Others support the shirt, but it appears that the debate will rage on for now, as the company does not seem to have any plans to pull the shirts from shelves, despite having seen enough controversy over them to actually sent the following statement to Yahoo! in order to clear the air:
"Nike has consistently supported female athletes and the position they enjoy as positive role models," the company said. "The t-shirt uses a phrase in an ironic way that is relevant given it was released just as the world focused on the success of female athletes."
No matter the gender politics at stake in the conversation over the shirts, stores including Footlocker, Finish Line, Nordstrom, Eastbay and Sports Authority are carrying -- and in some cases nearly selling out of -- the "Gold Digger" Nike tees at $24.99 a pop, according to Yahoo!
What do you think of Nike's 2012 Olympics-inspired "Gold Digger" shirts?