Flat White

Guys, your shirt is literally oppressing me

1 April 2021

11:09 AM

1 April 2021

11:09 AM

We have come a long way since white chalk exercised the privilege of writing on blackboards. 

I am pleased to report that our children are growing up with coloured pens scratching Greta-approved sermons onto digital whiteboards, which are then automatically uploaded to a Silicon Valley fact-checker. 

It might not sound like a proper revolution, but these things matter. 

By not having a white marker pen in the box, schools are ensuring that the next generation of children never have to see white-words in print. As I am sure you will all agree, whiteness is safest when relegated to silence in the background. 

Which brings me to racist, sexist, ageist, classist, sizeist, imperialistic shirts. 

The fashion world has made a lot of mistakes in the past. Who can forget when Met Gala picked Catholicism as its theme and we had to watch Rihanna dress up as a Pope? Talk about disrespectful garbage. Imagine how triggering it must have been for all those victims of sexual assault to watch the pinnacle of modern morality glorifying the Crusades with Cartier jewels and Louboutin heels!.

Everyone agrees that it’s okay to appropriate bigoted cultures – but not if you make them look hot. 


Even the notion the fashion industry remains divided down the ruthless line of gender is barbaric. Has anyone bothered asking why they persist with this Medieval system? It is not like you have to cut the clothes differently to accommodate physical disparities between men and women. These labels are purely social, not biological. You think I’m lying? Go out West early on a Sunday morning and you’ll see at least one six-foot bloke in fishnets and a plastic mini-skirt totally rocking it. 

When we talk about unconscious oppression, there is no greater sinner than the average office bloke. 

Now listen here. We women know that actual men (not women who identify as men) only open doors and hold elevators for (actual) women because you want to get laid. When you carry heavy things for us, you pretty much consider that a down-payment on sex. All of these micro-aggressions are terrible, but what we really need to speak to you about are your hateful shirts. Specifically, the coloured shirts with white collars and cuffs. 

Obviously, the whole ‘white’ thing is wrong. 

If you’re trying to promote your company on social media as taking its diversity sensitivity training seriously, the last thing you do is bookend your colourful shirt with the shackles of white imperialism. When you wear something like this, you are one step away from literally chaining people to a slave ship. Is that the image you want to paint of your corporation? 

This advice isn’t just for white people. If anyone slightly tanned decides to try out the look of white supremacy, the latest internet trolling mob will (quite rightly) brand you a ‘race traitor’ and hunt your organisation into economic extinction. 

More to the point, the French Cuffs aren’t even French – they’re British. 

According to Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States, all the worst white things are a product of that shitty little island drifting off the West Coast of France – including its White Cliffs of Dover which reach up out of the waves like a huge ‘F-You’ to the rest of the world. 

It is not as if this is a new thing. Shirts and their collars have been used as a classist tool of oppression since the honourable workers started wearing blue collars and the office pricks went with the white collars. It was a way of determining a person’s worth without having to go to the effort of treating them as individuals. 

Then you have these shirts… These mentally deranged hybrids which blur the class line. Anyone who wears them clearly has no respect for the emotional sensitivities facing our civilisation. That’s why white-cuffed, white-collared coloured shirts are called ‘Asshole Shirts’. 

As Jackson Wilkinson writes: 

We’ve all seen it: the blue shirt with a white collar and cuffs. The perfect way to maintain your white-collar social status while wearing a coloured shirt like the cool kids. In fact, if you want to be even more of a status symbol, consider similar shirts in pink, green, or the pattern of your choice. Never will you be confused with one of those grunts wearing similar shirts without the white-collar, and we can all be thankful for that!

Alexandra Marshall is an independent writer. If you would like to support her work, shout her a coffee over at Ko-Fi.

Editor’s note: April Fool.

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