As a digital marketing assistant, I can see how some may view this shirt as sexist – the target market is women, and the phrase is typically associated with only women.
However, if you think about who would buy the shirt and why, it becomes harmless. This shirt would appeal to women who are athletes, know about the Olympics, and would most likely view the message as a joke, and not demeaning. An article on Yahoo states “In this Olympic context, a phrase like ‘Gold Digging’ implies you don’t deserve or didn’t earn your prize, and you went about obtaining it in a deceitful or unsportsmanlike way”. In modern-day culture, a “Gold Digger” is a women who dates someone for their money. The phrase on the shirt does not imply that the women are undeserving of, or deceitful in any way. In fact, because there is a link with the Olympics, the phrase becomes a parody entirely, not truly referencing the modern-day term at all.
Regardless of your stance on the apparel, the bottom line is that a company has to be very careful in what messages they are bringing to the public. It shapes and reflects upon what a business stands for and eventhough bad publicity is still publicity, it can tarnish a reputation and turn away buyers.
You have to admit… it is pretty clever. But why only market it for women? That is where the problem lies. I don’t foresee Nike creating a “Sugar Mama” shirt anytime soon.
P.S. – I created a Facebook page, and I know you’re just itchin’ to like it. 🙂