I have this shirt that I wear quite often that causes people to do a double take. If you were to only read the front (as many people do), it could read as questionable. It is a shirt that I am proud to wear, but at the same time, it’s terrifying to wear it because I never know how people will react.
I’ve been cursed out because of this shirt. I’ve been yelled at. Given dirty looks. Avoided. But I’ve also had some amazing conversations because of it. It has made people smile. Opened doors.
This shirt is part of a legacy. This shirt has a deeper story that I am proud to display and share.
Above you can see Team Lady. I was adopted onto this team, so I cannot claim to be an original member. Anyways, there I am. With the shirt.
On the front, the shirt reads: “Women are good for three things.” Then the back has the following list:
1 Tree Felling
3 EVERYTHING ELSE
This shirt was designed by several of the ladies I served with in the AmeriCorps St Louis Emergency Response Team, who affectionately called it the Lady Shirt. I’m pretty sure that I was the only guy who bought one of these shirts.
I can’t speak for the amazing women who created these shirts or choose to wear them. I can only speak for myself and why I choose to wear it.
I wear this shirt because it is a statement against sexism. Too many times I have seen men turn down the help of a skilled woman because the simple fact that she was born a female. I know some amazing women who can fell trees like bosses, swing polaskis and pick-axes like nobodies business, and pick up logs and throw them over their shoulders better than most people out in the field. And yet, these are the same ladies who are being told that their assistance is not needed because they are delicate. Or fragile. Or inferior.
I wear this shirt to support my team. As an honorary member of Team Lady, I support them and their decision because they are stronger than they appear to be. I support them because I know that in many ways, they are stronger and better than me. I support them because so many times they have supported me.
It might raise a few eyebrows, but it grabs attention and is the catalyst for conversations. And that is why I wear it.
This shirt is a statement. This shirt is a spark for something bigger. Something deeper.