A Tee Party Kicks Off ‘All Things Girl’ Week on Shaping Youth!

Nov. 10, 2008 Sick of suggestive innuendos plastered on the chests of wee ones? Tired of ‘So Sexy So Soon’ messaging at ever-younger ages? Looking for media and marketing that builds up rather than tears down youth psyches?

Have we got a fun week for you!

All week, Shaping Youth will be featuring worthy sites, thought leaders and conversations among those eager to raise the bar for healthier messaging sent to ALL children. (boys’ picks will be next month, so blitz us with your best offerings) Even if you’re not a fan of ‘human billboards’ nor even a ‘wearable art’ kind of reader, come join our TEE party to submit your own meaningful messages!

We’re awarding the top three winning entries (by Dec. 1) a hardback edition of Packaging Girlhood, written by Shaping Youth Advisory Board authors Dr. Sharon Lamb and Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown…If we get some really good conversation ramped up I’ll also buy more Age Of Conversation 2 books to sweeten the pot (and benefit Variety, the Childrens’ Charity too!)

Last round, we teamed up with Girl Mogul on Eco Child’s Play to see if we could get some sustainable tee offerings, and so far, THIS one submitted by Amy R. is begging for a Threadless tee creation: Alternative energy = girl power! Get the idea? Start slingin’ those slogans!

No question we need some pendulum swings to balance out the tween thong-n-tee cultural shift and universal Pink Think…

Not to mention the David and Goliath ‘throw rocks at ‘em’ anti-male satire, Happy Bunny “tees with ‘tude” (and entitlement brattiness) or the offensive A&F blunders of yore, like, Who Needs Brains When You Have These…” etc.

One more “Bleh” and we’ll get ready to get positive. BLEH on Ashton Kucher’s rude, crude Blah Girls,a South Park-style trash-talkin’ newcomer to the media mix. Bleh. Bleh. Bleh!

Okay…can we get positive? Yes, we can!!!

Here are a few “tops” on Shaping Youth that bust open the ‘boy toy’ soul-eroding harm and psychological damage of early sexualization. (I’ve left the comic book ‘sheroes’ and Wonder Woman stuff out, as they’re a given and everywhere)

Here’s hoping you can wrap up some change this holiday season by supporting the company of your choice, and sounding off to others via purchasing power. Girlcotts, op-ed media stories, and ‘wallet walking’ is a great way to send the “money talks/retailers listen” message…

Smart Girls Rock: “Make smart the new cool” is the theme here, which is a Shaping Youth anthem of sorts, so it’s no wonder these witty designs like the emblem for “Madame President” appeal to yours truly.

Smart Girls Rock is the brainchild of Dayna Steele (author of Rock to the Top, What I Learned about Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars) these tees pack a punch that’s palatable for self-described ‘geek goddesses, red-headed rocket scientists, or brainy brunettes’ around the globe.

Emotional Armor: “Own it. Wear it. Feel it.”

As a branding/name generation gal by trade, this one tops the chart for me in terms of concept, form and function.  Sentiments like, “Write your own happy ending,” “Walking my internal red carpet,” and “weeeeeeeeeeee” are just some of the colorful bumper-sticker whimsy…

Moreover, it’s their new line that really kicks is up a notch with poignancy, called “Emotional Tattoos,” infusing the spirit of beauty and power that comes from within, quite literally, by offering a unique ‘tattoo’ of empowerment words “hidden” INSIDE the shirt rather than a chest thumping femme fest channeling Helen Reddy of yesteryear.

I LOVE this subtle “strength within” idea…

It’s like some secret elixir you carry with you…After all,  what’s going on with girls on the inside is often quite different than what’s projected on the outside, so it’s all quite fitting holding your own terms and boundaries.

Often we wear our inner scars like badges of courage, so this theme resonates with me thinking about all the strong women in my life (thanks, mom!)

Whether in need of inspiration, self confidence, strength, humor or courage you can wear your tattoo for those times when you are the only one who needs to know you have one.”

Smart. It’s brilliantly thematic in genuine extension, too, for net profits from emotional armor will be used to start an empowerment program for children and help fund ground breaking efforts in violence prevention via the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center.

Social entrepreneur and founder Jenifer Hoffman uses the marketing prowess of a pro…The simple shirt at left? “Lemonade print on Caribbean tee.” (copywriters like me notice things like that, I’ve written many a product description)

She’s giving girls survival skills to navigate the gauntlet of today’s pop culture with confidence and courage, with a worthy blend of cause-marketing and savvy branding that comes off as raw, real, and whip-smart…just like a few teen girls I know. 😉

By the way, the “Face your fears” emotional armor tattoo applies to both genders, I’ll let you take a look at the icons and figure ‘em out. Bravo! (hat tip to Parent Dish where I found this one!)

OneAngryGirl.net: The antithesis of hushed and hidden under a sleeve, this site wears brazen and brash beautifully well with shirts like the one at left, acknowledging something is “very, very wrong with how our culture treats women and girls; we’re here to support you as you wade through the misogynist sewage our pornified culture spews out by the truckload every day.”

With great resources and links, this anti-porn-army of validation marches to an unapologetic drum beat, as if to scream, ‘knock it off people!’ loud and clear. You go, girl. I want in that parade. Her tagline? “Taking over the world one shirt at a time.”

Cool Mom Picks nails this descriptor about tees from Ava’s Closet, with slogans like President not Princess and Doctor not Diva, ensuring newborns to six year-olds can “proclaim some pretty lofty aspirations. Plus it’s a diplomatically subtle hint for the relatives to ease off the sparkly princess crowns at birthday time.”

Personalized Rosie The Riveter: Exclusive to the Signals.com pbs catalog, they’ve taken the “We can do it” retro WWII theme and done the ol’ “insert name” bit. “Madeleine can do it!” “Tiffany can do it!” Kinda fun.

Hey Ugly! Products: U.G.L.Y. stands for “unique, gifted, lovable, you!” Just like America Ferrera in “Ugly Betty” takes a loaded term and turns her persona into an aspirational hero, this product line diffuses the angst out of ‘ugly’ by facing it down in ‘bring it on’ style.

My favorite tee is their “I deserve” collective compilation, created by voices across the country finishing the sentence, “I deserve…” Results of their top answers?

“I deserve…happiness, love, respect, peace, friends, health, freedom, acceptance, equality, fun, joy, prosperity, honesty, fulfillment, understanding, balance, contentment, serenity, success, support, appreciation, harmony, tranquility, miracles, more than I can possibly imagine, to feel, to grow, to live, to be, to dream, to search, to find…” Sweet.

GirlsEmpowered.com: “Run, throw, kick like a girl,” or “Stop the meanness, spread the kindness” worthy words that I think have come out of my lips just tonight! (I overheard my daughter on the phone in one of those ‘who did what to whom’ moments, as she barked “why would she DO that to me? That’s SO messed up!” Of course the room fell silent as soon as I walked in, “It’s nothing, mom, it’s fine…you can go away now.” (gee, thanks, love) Stop the meanness indeed. Ugh.

GirlMogul.com: Future Leader of the Free World, Future Marine Biologist, Future Brain Surgeon, Future CEO, Future Best Selling Author…the list goes on…Find your fave, add your own, more on Andrea and her company in a full interview up next.

Sticker Sisters: Their collection of “brave girl” picks includes a cartoon antidote to princessdom, “My kind of princess escapes the tower, outsmarts the dragon and finds the treasure.” Woohoo! Best of all, boys can support girls with this one too; as it’s organic green, sweatshop free AND unisex.

I Am That Girl.com: Okay, Marlo Thomas visions aside (showing my childhood touchpoints here) the designs are au courant, the colors vibrant, and the philosophy inspiring,

“It’s not just a t-shirt, it’s a lifestyle, a conscious effort to respect yourself, love yourself, walk in confidence. It’s about standing up for something you believe in and sharing it with every stranger you see.”

Interesting. Alexis Jones is the diva behind this one (a pop culture product of the reality show churn herself as a cast member on Survivor: Micronesia, on ESPN, Sports Illustrated’s pop-culture Top 10, etc.) She appears to be taking a ‘celebrity approach’ with some strong fashionista and passionista hybrid energy shining through.

“I am That Girl is the confident, classy girl who dreams big, is perfectly flawed, lives life on HER terms, knows what she deserves and defines beauty for herself!” –mama media proof-reading fingerwag: ‘yay! now go fix the typos on your site!’

Design It-Inc.: Sanctioned by the GSUSA as a vendor, you’ll find girl power and friendship tees galore, in all themes and graphics from subtle to rainbow, blindingly bright to simple and subdued.

Girls Can! These tots celebrate girlhood in multiple career forms, saying ‘girls can do anything’ to start ‘em out young in ‘think beyond princess’ mode…firefighter, doctor, astronaut, basically anything that plays well in uniform is depicted here.

In a related find, YoonKids enables kids to literally customize their wall art by choosing their adorable character’s skin, hair, career, background color, etc. to match their room or personality. (Yah, I know, it’s not a tee, but it sure is empowering, couldn’t resist!)

One Brown Girl: Feeling good about the skin you’re in and wearing cultural identity and pride, the clothing and blog both speak to the one in four Americans in minority groups that are projected to make up a majority by mid-century…Their landing page says it all, “Giving brown girls everywhere positive messages to wear and live by…Be proud to be Brainy. Gutsy. Artsy. And Blessed. In fact, wear it on your chest.”

They offer a global celebration of self, poetically painting with universal inclusiveness, “Our skin comes in every shade: From cocoa to tan to honey to onyx to olive to cinnamon and back again. Our eyes are shaped like almonds and coconuts and mimic the colors of maple syrup, tanzanite and the deep blue sea. Our hair is Black, Brown, Blonde, Red, & sometimes even Pink; Short, Long, & In Between as well as Coarse, Curly, Wavy, & Bone straight. We are every age and speak every language. No matter where we live, work or play, what we eat, or how we worship and celebrate life, we all share a universal human experience. We are all One Brown Girl.”

Well, I’m more of an OBG ‘one budget girl’ as I noticed OBG is ‘on sale’ through Nov. 15

BGirl.com: The theme is all about ‘being’ —(B-ing!) and believing (in yourself!) and bringing the aromatherapy of doing good things into a sustainable company concept.

Cathryn writes, “I created B-girl while I was a publicist in the music industry. Among my artist clients were Sarah McLachlan, Patti Smith, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, AC/DC, and David Bowie, I’d like B-Girl to be the kind of company I want to see in the world; taking what I learned from being a music publicist, an environmentally aware person and someone who cares about wildlife and animals…”

Seems she’s more about aromatherapy and organics than her organic tee, but either way, B-Girl serves as a reminder to take time to stop and smell the flowers…

Jordann’s Positive Apparel: “A positive attitude is always in style” and like Emotional Armor, a portion of proceeds help survivors of domestic violence via the nonprofit R.O.S.E. (Regaining One’s Self Esteem) fund. (RoseFund.org)

Have more to add? Of COURSE you do! Come to The Tee Party and create your own message.

No woulda, coulda, shouldas…this is your chance…

What would you say? Any ages and stages are fair game here. Students? Moms? Teens? Tweens? Dads and daughters? Leave a comment! (even if you’re not ‘the t-shirt type)

Join in the fun, maybe win a book or a tee, and stay tuned for a great week of “all things girl”…it’s gonna be a doozy!

pinkstinks Yes, yes, I know I didn’t include PinkStinks (at left) and all of the cool self-created art meets retail approaches like Cafe Press and Zazzle, so if you know of must-sees, send ’em along!

Same goes for clever organizational tees…like Girls Inc’s glass ceiling and badge of courage sayings…Had to stop somewhere! 😉 Keep ’em comin’ though, okay?

Visual Credit Lead Photo: Golden Island/Senorita Collections



  1. I’m a jean and t-shirt girl at heart so this post is right up my comfy,laid-back alley. Who knew that you could pack so much empowerment into a t-shirt?
    Awesome selection too. Emotional Armour’s “princess not in need of rescue” tee has my daughter written all over it. Great job!

  2. Hey there Mommy B! Check out the latest link (above) for MORE Girl Power tees and triumphs…

    GirlMogul.com rocks! Now…let’s get you spinning some slogans of your own! I’m sure they’ll be beauties! (frankly, your book title and book jacket qualifies, eh? Feel Good, Girl! 🙂

  3. I want some that say Pinks’ line “I’m not here for your entertainment.”

  4. Hey Tracee…actually that one already exists, along with “music is my boyfriend” I noticed at ‘Scorpios Attic’ via CafePress. (did a Google search, figuring Pink would have a TM on it somewhere!) 😉

    That said, there’s gotta be a whole ‘not a boy toy’ type of site out there somewhere folks can point girls to, yes? 😉
    P.S. Post is still forthcoming, as we may need to ‘extend our week’ with all the great stuff!

  5. Hello,
    I would like to submit another site encouraging self-respect in girls and women it is jordannspositive.com. I sell and design T-shirts that encourage girls and women to be confident and courageous. I love what I read here and I hope you can check out my site. Our motto is a Positive Attitude is Always in Style. Go Girls

  6. thanks, Carla, I just checked it out! Readers, you’ll find lots of pastels-n-positivity (as well as butterflies, the symbol of change, joy and color in many a culture) Here’s the link to her site: http://www.jordannspositive.com

    Now where are the rest of you for this TEE PARTY? I have three Packaging Girlhood books a-waitin’!!! 😉 Get to it!

  7. We need to inspire all our beautiful girls when they are still young!
    Please take a look at my just published book

    Daria Rose And The Day She Chose

    Join Daria Rose in a seven-day adventure as she discovers the powers she had inside her all along. She takes control of her days and learns how to make good choices. She discovers that her decisions can change the outcome of the different worries and fears in her life. Daria Rose learns that life is all about choices and it is up to her to make the right ones.

    A story of self-empowerment; to foster positive behavior, confidence, courage, strength, determination, friendship, good values and the importance of being thoughtful and thankful.
    ISBN# 978-0-9818366-0-7
    by Yvonne Capitelli

  8. Adding a few more I’ve recently found:

    Check out PigTailPals: http://www.pigtailpals.com
    For cute cartoon graphics with pithy sayings that ‘redefine girly’

    And note that GirlMogul.com has updated theirs as well…Glad to see some viable choices that are clever and witty…Keep ’em comin’ just add ’em here! Comment any time you find more!!
    .-= Amy Jussel´s last blog ..BlameAThon: Tweet Your Troubles to Fight Cancer Today! =-.

  9. wow ! thank for this .

  10. A great book for young girls is Daria Rose and The Day She Chose. It inspires young girls to make good choices and about the amazing power they have within to create a life of happiness. Yvonne Capitelli

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