Michigan’s Soulja Boy-Themed Shirts Upset Students

Michigan dorm apparel referencing popular song raises questions of misogyny.


Corrected on 2/26/2008: An earlier version of this post misstated the phrase on the back of the T-shirt.

The sexual assault prevention center and a feminist group at the University of Michigan are outraged over a dorm T-shirt, saying its references to the Soulja Boy song "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" are demeaning to women, the Michigan Daily reports. The shirt features the Superman logo on the front (helping to spell out "South Quad") and the phrase "Superman that" on the back, apparently a reference to the phrase "Superman that ho," which is slang for a nonconsensual sex act.

Sales of the shirts were halted a week after they were first sold in December, but dorm officials were still holding forums and releasing statements this month. "University Housing considers the South Quad T-shirt message inappropriate and unsettling," the officials said. "The message is contrary to our mission and values for developing inclusive and respectful communities within university residences."

A woman who attended one of the forums was dismayed that the conversation there veered toward a condemnation of hip-hop and defended the idea that free speech was hardly being violated by the ban. "I think that to stop Soulja Boy from singing the song would be a violation of free speech," she said. "The problem is that this isn't about someone's free speech; it's about Housing condoning sexual violence." She added: "If the shirt said, 'Rape that whore,' I think there were would be a very different response."