Ladies, what should YOUR t-shirt say?

logoWhen my business partner and pal Greg Moody and I began 12th Apostle a while back we really intended the business model to be male-focused.

We figured most Christian t-shirts targeted at guys were pretty much  the same, fairly dull, way too preachy — or a weird mix of God and country we weren’t comfortable with. We wanted something different. Something we would wear proudly.

Well, it seems a lot of our shirts really speak to women, too. From the first day I brought the shirts back from the printers, I had female friends who bought our t-shirts for themselves, demanded we offer women’s sizes (maybe brighter colors) and asked that we feature some verses that speak to women in particular.

So Greg and I have decided to begin offering some shirts for women. Great idea, right? Well, we decided we needed to do it a while back and we’re still on high center.

Why?

Well, I’m lazy and Greg is overworked, but that’s beside the point. The real reason is we’re not women, so we’re not sure which way to jump.

My first thought was the shirts should feature the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman. You know, the virtuous chick whose worth is more that rubies; who pretty much is the combination of the perfect mother, wife and businessperson. And the one who leaned in before leaning in was en vogue.

A guy would have no trouble wearing that sort of shirt. For us, it’d be like wearing a Superman t-shirt or a Dallas Cowboys shirt if they were our favorite team, or an Affliction shirt if we were a mixed martial arts fan, even though we know we couldn’t punch our way out of a paper bag.

But I wondered if women would be concerned that others would think they were braggy if they wore a Proverbs 31 shirt. So, I did some research and realized I didn’t think like  a woman, not one bit.

I found blog after blog written by women who were bugged by the Proverbs 31 lady. They felt she represented unrealistic expectations that nobody could ever meet. That she was this unreachable ideal and somehow her clearly super-powered attributes reflected poorly on them.

I was a little stunned.

My favorite 12th Apostle shirt is Ready to Rock. Which talks about David getting ready to go out and face Goliath. It speaks of a shepherd boy, with a unique set of skills, having the guts to step out in faith.

When I wear it I don’t think folks think I’m saying I kill gigantic dudes on a regular basis.

Clearly I think like a guy.

Wrestling with this concept had me recalling a story I read about a woman who had created a new action figure. For all intents and purposes, the action figure was  a boy scout who came with some camping gear. He wasn’t an eagle scout. He wasn’t young Indiana Jones wearing his scout outfit. He was a boy scout who went camping.

The woman’s rationale was that boys’ action figures are unrealistic physically, with broad shoulders, flat stomachs, big muscles. And they were super-powered and got in fights and did stuff that nobody could do.

As a guy, I just had to say, no kidding, that’s the whole point. Guys don’t usually look up to somebody who can do exactly what they can do. It would be weird.

When I was a kid, I could easily be a boy scout. Even though my dad hated the outdoors I went camping. I don’t need an action figure for that.Why don’t you give me an action figure of an accountant or a straight-A student, while you’re at it?

Unfortunately, I can’t be Spider-Man or Batman or Superman, a professional football player or a cage fighter, but I wish I could. That’s why I need the action figure.

As a guy, when I look at Spider-Man, I don’t see a whisper-thin, like zero-body-fat physique I’ll never live-up too. I see a guy who can stick to walls, swing through the city on a web, and who realizes with great power comes great responsibility.

When I think of Batman, I don’t worry I’ll never be a millionaire playboy and live in stately Wayne Manor or have a cool butler named Alfred. I also don’t concern myself that if I like Batman it means I might have tendencies to be a sociopathic  loaner. Batman helps me realize that in a world filled with evil, a guy with no super powers but his mind and  his determination (and his massive checkbook) can make a difference.

And don’t get me started on Superman.

Talk about somebody no human male could live up to. He has the perfect body, wonderful, freaky-smart women chase him, he can fly for goodness sake, bullets bounce off him, he can bench press like, well a bunch, and he has a wonderful career as a journalist (OK, I can do that), and he wears his underwear outside his outfit and nobody says anything to him, and nobody, I mean nobody, pulls on his cape. They wrote a song about it for goodness sake.

But he shows me that you can be a stranger in a strange land and still care, still make a difference, bleed, sweat strive and even die for those you love and believe in.

Not too shabby. Or course he sets the bar really high. That’s why he’s a hero.

So, that’s a long way to go to say, I guess, I don’t understand what women would want in a shirt.

I won’t go so far as to say I don’t understand women, because, I think I sort of understand one of your species, a pretty amazing one really, who I tricked into marrying me. And I hope I pretty much understand another wonderful one, who is funny and smart. The one I’m blessed to be the father of.

But really, in broad strokes, I guess I’m in the dark where women are concerned and by extension, what they’d like in a Christian t-shirt.

So, if you’re reading this, and have stuck with me so far, please let me know what verses you’d like to see on our new women’s line. Or maybe just topics you’d like to see covered, like love, or trust, or forgiveness or motherhood. You can just put a comment here on the blog, or on Facebook or send me a note at john@12thapostle.com.

Today, in church, my pastor was teaching from the Book of Job and noted that Job’s wife suggested the following to her beloved husband in Job 2:9: “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

And really, in all honesty, I thought for a second, hey, that might make a good shirt.

So, clearly, we need help. Let us know what you think.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch Once Upon a Time with my two best girls. I’ll be hoping for a sword fight or two.

 

4 Comments

  1. “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1

    This is the verse I’ve been holding onto for the past week. As women, we have so much that we are juggling. It gets overwhelming at times. It’s reassuring to know that God is fighting on our behalf; that I can give over my battles to Him.

  2. Thanks for asking. I love Proverbs 31, but have found most women do not. The rebellious do not like God telling them what to do. Male or female. You probably won’t sell many truthful shirts in these days, that tell women what to do.

    Rise while it is still dark. Yeh right. No commands there, about getting to bed while it is still dark, are there?–only that big heavy-hanging-over-my-head: Get up before the man does, or else.

    Try this: “God said to get me some maids. Prov. 31:15” Yeh. I could get that.

    How about: I’m a keeper. Titus 2:5. A little double entender never hurt anyone.

    OR “Come away with me, my beloved” on an over-sized A shirt? Oh, maybe not.

    You see how easy it is to feel snarky about being second in command, the weaker sex, etc. Which is why you find some wanting men’s shirts. Just sayin’.

    Actually, I’ve found fewer and fewer ladies willing to be a walking billboard. We just let our actions speak louder than words. Those who do have the “meek and quiet spirit” feel odd wearing braggy words and/or domineering words. Or even t-shirts.
    My statement might be more about whether I know what is proper to wear, and whether I’m willing to settle for guys’ undies as my outerwear…

    I think the best one I’ve heard of is: There is not a just MAN upon the earth that doeth good…

    However, I jest.

    I really never have liked wordiness and words on my clothing just goes overboard for me. Thanks for asking. I love God’s special words to women, but have found most women do not.

    • Thanks for your insights, Katherine. It’s been interesting trying to figure out what our next step should be on our women’s line. I think the fact that a lot of women have purchased our shirts might be clear evidence perhaps we don’t really need different verses, just different styles.
      But that’s why this call for help is important to us. We need opinions and reactions. So once again, thanks much for yours.
      We’re new to the t-shirt game but out intent was not to be walking billboards but instead to create shirts that were conversation starters and ice breakers of sorts. Rather than “Our team is better than your team”, something more akin to “Wanna talk about football?”