An activist shouts slogans as she raises a clenched fist during a protest to commemorate International Women's Day in Manila on March 8, 2019.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Gabriela Youth slams lewd clothing line's attempt at cunning excuse
( - January 27, 2020 - 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — Gabriela Youth slammed the owners of an online store selling "Kain Pepe" branded shirts  for using “creativity” to defend their shirts designs that the group said “trivialize violence against women and children.”

Criticism of shirts designed around the theme of "Kain Pepe" spread on social media. The Facebook page for the clothing line is no longer available online, but supposed screenshots of the page can still be found.

Among the screenshots is a supposed explanation of the shirt's slogan and designs, where "Pepe" supposedly refers to the common nickname for boys and not Filipino slang for vagina. The shirts were supposedly an attempt to address malnutrition among young Filipinos and not, as the designs suggested, about oral sex.

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Among the shirt designs is of a vagina superimposed on a slice of pizza.

Gabriela Youth slammed the owners of KNPP for brushing off the criticism of their shirt designs that they said “objectify women and trivialize violence against women and children.”

"Instead of apologizing and correcting their harmful error, they bullheadedly justified their actions. They even told the public to get a sense of humor," Gabriel Youth said in a statement Monday.

It attached a screenshot of a report from that quotes the owner of the brand lamenting criticisms that they received for their “creativity.” It also added another quote that said: “Please get a sense of humor and stop forcing on women your idea of what makes them respectable.”

Gabriela Youth stressed that violence against women and children is “not a joke” and “should never be made a subject of ridicule.”

“There marketing campaign normalizes and contributes to the feudal-patriarchial system which has historically made women and children vulnerable to discrimination,” the group added.

Forum for Family Planning and Development president Benjamin de Leon said March 2019 that, according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), violence is pervasive even before marriage, as 14 percent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since they were 15 years old.

Gabriela Women’s Party willing to give gender sensitivity training to brand owners

Gabriela Women’s Party said Saturday that it is willing to give gender sensitivity training to the owners of the clothing line.

It called out KNPP for “reducing women to mere objects of sexual desire," as it stressed that "women are not objects of pleasure and satisfaction."

“This shameless advertising and display of merchandise that degrade, objectify and hypersexualize young girls contribute to gender stereotypes that trivialize violence against women and children,” it added.

Gabriela said it is willing to give a gender sensitivity training to the owners of the clothing line “to heighten their awareness of gender concerns and be willing to respond to gender issues.” — Kristine Joy Patag

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