3:39pm PT by Graeme McMillan
DC Entertainment on Sexist Merchandise Outcry: "Certain T-Shirts Are Offensive"
Following accusations of offensive material appearing on licensed merchandise featuring Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, DC Entertainment responded Tuesday with a simple, if surprising, message: "We agree."
The popular DC Women Kicking Ass blog first highlighted the issue this weekend, sharing a shirt that shows artwork of Superman and Wonder Woman in an embrace (the two characters have been romantically involved in DC's comic books since 2012), with captions exclaiming "Score! Superman Does It Again!" The post noted that, while "it took a public shaming for [DC parent company Warner Bros.] to allow the Superman logo to be used on a statue of a young fan who had been starved to death… it's always interesting to see what DOES get signed off on."
Discussion of the shirt moved to social media, where other shirts — including a ladies' shirt with the slogan "Training to be Batman's Wife" and baby pajamas with the Superman logo above text reading "I Only Date Heroes" — were brought into the discussion, which even included current Batman comic book writer Scott Snyder:
I say, where are the "training to be Batman's husband" shirts? Because I'd rock that— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) September 29, 2014
In a post for the site Comics Alliance, former DC editor Janelle Asselin summed up the overall response. "It's important to understand that if the characters are used wrong or presented wrong, it comes back not to the licensee necessarily, but to the company that owns those characters," she wrote. "It's for this reason that the fact that DC approved these tees, or trusted these licensees enough to let them create this content unsupervised, shines a bad light on DC as it makes moves to course correct and re-engage female fans."
A statement released Tuesday afternoon, first reported by Comic Book Resources, suggested that DC understands the damage done in the eyes of many fans by the merchandise.
"DC Comics is home to many of the greatest male and female Super Heroes in the world," the DC statement read. "All our fans are incredibly important to us, and we understand that the messages on certain t-shirts are offensive. We agree. Our company is committed to empowering boys and girls, men and women, through our characters and stories. Accordingly, we are taking a look at our licensing and product design process to ensure that all our consumer products reflect our core values and philosophy."