A T-shirt marketed to girls which reads 'Training to be Batman's Wife' has come under fire for the 'sexist' message it sends out.
The top, sold at US-based supermarket Walmart, was spotted by a blogger who goes by the name of PJ.
Her photo has now made it into major news outlets, with many reporters wondering how and why the official merchandise was approved by DC Comics, particularly at a time when major comic brands are struggling to fend off accusations of sexism in their portrayal of female characters.
In an accompanying blog post, PJ spoke of her outrage over the product, which she argues promotes an idea of girls as 'passive' and encourages them to think of themselves as a supporting character rather than a protagonist.
"The idea that you should settle for being married to or sleeping with someone awesome instead of being the awesome person is insulting," she wrote.
"Fuck being Batman's wife. I want to be Batman."
There was humour in her scathing critique, too, as she wondered what exactly Batman's wife would be training to do, given that loyal English butler Alfred caters to his every need.
The DC-licensed top is far from the only offender when it comes to offensive clothing for girls. North of the border in Canada, a horrified Aimée Morrison shared a photo of baby onesies she had seen on sale at supermarket chain Target.
The one aimed at boys read 'Future Man of Steel' - inspiring, right? As for the girls' design, the makers had plumped for the significantly less aspirational: 'I Only Date Heroes'.
- Aimée Morrison (@digiwonk) September 29, 2014
Once Morrison shared the picture over Twitter on 29 September, indignant users immediately began retweeting the image of the offending items. Critics were concerned not only about the message the phrase seemed to be sending to girls, but also the sexualisation of babies.
One commenter on women's lifestyle site Jezebel summed it up plainly: "If you're young enough to wear footie pajamas, you're too young to be talking about dating or getting married."
In the UK, a quick internet search reveals that similar products are being sold in this country - on eBay.co.uk shoppers can buy a child's T-shirt which reads 'I only date heroes' over a graphic of Superman embracing Lois Lane, while top fashion chains have been criticised for selling girls' clothes which focus on beauty and flirting.
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