Debenhams’ t-shirt causes outrage on social media over ‘sexist’ slogan

Parents have taken to Twitter to share their outrage after a mum spotted a t-shirt in the children's clothes section with the slogan 'Groupie Academy' printed on the front.

Mum Helena Burke posted a screenshot of a what looks to be a Facebook post which shows a lilac children’s t-shirt with the slogan ‘Groupie Academy’ printed in gold.

It’s not clear whether Helena spotted the t-shirt for herself in store, but she was so outraged by what she had seen that she vented her frustrations on Twitter and reached out to Debenhams directly.

In a tweet, Helena asked for clarification as to why they would choose a slogan which many are calling out as sexist.

Helena wrote: ‘@Debenhams is this really on sale in your children’s wear @EverydaySexism’.

Karen, who was managing the official Debenhams Twitter account, replied: ‘Hi Helena, Sorry I don’t see the point you are raising; The Cambridge dictionary definition is: a person who likes a particular singer or other famous person and follows them to try to meet them. – Karen’.

Helena was unimpressed with this response and highlighted that the meaning of the term has much more sexist connotations when used more colloquially.

She wrote: ‘Pretty sure this is the more commonly understood definition. groupie ˈɡruːpi/Submit noun informal a young woman who regularly follows a pop group or other celebrity, especially in the hope of having a sexual relationship with them.’

Another outraged Twitter user commented: ‘Hi Karen and Debehnahms, whether the CED says it’s sexual or not, that is the meaning taken from society, the OED, and Google. Something like this isn’t appropriate for children, and your reply is inappropriate, Karen. Either you’re being facetious or naive. But please respond.’

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A third wrote: ‘Or try the @urbandictionary for a more accurate and up-to-date definition: groupie A young woman, often under age, who seeks to achieve status by having sex with rock musicians, roadies, security, and other band-related guys.’

What do you think of the t-shirt slogan? Is it inappropriate and what action should Debenhams take? Join the conversation over on our Facebook page!