You are what you wear



Brigid Black

It is fairly safe to say that every student, at some point or another during his or her undergraduate experience, has taken a trip to the University Shop – more commonly known as simply “the bookstore.”

Here shoppers will find a seemingly endless amount of Villanova merchandise. One walks through the entrance and is immediately surrounded by T-shirts, hats, sweatpants and many other V-emblazoned articles of clothing.

Less obvious, however, is one particular section of the bookstore, located on the far right of the huge wall of T-shirts. Somewhat secluded toward the corner, it is a brightly colored land of pinks, hearts and frilly lettering.

Welcome to the infamous women’s clothing section.

I use the word “infamous” because this is not just any average collection of women’s college clothing. What sticks out in this section is not the T-shirts themselves, but the words that are written on them.

The truth of the matter is that much of the written content on women’s T-shirts sold at the bookstore is absolutely absurd – hilariously stupid yet frighteningly pathetic at the same time.

The first of these T-shirts that caught my eye a few years back was a shirt that reads “Everyone Loves a Nova Girl.” While it is a bit cutesy, other than that, this shirt does no real harm.

Don’t worry though, it gets far worse than that. Shirt No. 2 reads “Nova girls party well with others.” There is a certain degree of coquettishness to the statement, and my first reaction to this is an eye roll and a heavy sigh. But then I’m led to ask, “So what?” followed by, “Who are you trying to prove yourself to?”

But wait, there’s more. Shirt No. 3 reads, in obnoxiously large sky blue letters, “We’re just better than you are!” with “Villanova University” printed beneath it. What a pretentious thing to say. I’m sure that St. Augustine would enjoy being associated with that slogan, aren’t you?

And here is the hidden gem of the crop: a long-sleeve shirt reading, “What happens at Villanova stays at Villanova.” I guess that we’re supposed to giggle and gasp when thinking about that statement. Instead, I cringe. While this shirt was in stock at the bookstore last year, it is now nowhere to be found.

I am thoroughly embarrassed that these shirts exist within the walls of the bookstore, for they carry with them an air of arrogance and na’veté.

Yet, I also feel somewhat insulted. I can’t help but ask: Why are these smug slogans and sayings only featured on shirts in the women’s clothing section? More importantly, why is this conceited attitude exclusively marketed toward women?

These clothes are a bizarre example of gender stereotyping found right in the middle of this campus.

To counteract my argument, one might say that I should not be judgmental of outward appearances and that clothes are just clothes. I would partially agree, for without a doubt, the inside of a person contains one’s true substance.

However, we are what we wear. Since their arrival into the fashion universe, T-shirts have always carried with them messages and meanings. Our clothes – what we choose to display on our bodies – reflect who we are and what we believe.

Ideally, we as Villanova women should be an intelligent and able part of this community that is worthy of respect from our male and female peers alike.

Yet how can we expect to be taken seriously while wearing these ridiculous pieces of clothing, consequently giving off a terrible impression of ourselves?

I encourage as many of you as possible to save your money for something more worthy. Clothes make the woman, and you won’t catch this woman wearing any of our bookstore’s notoriously dumb shirts.


Brigid Black is a junior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at [email protected].