“What is more offensive? A little girl saying ‘fuck’ or the fucking unequal and sexist way society treats girls and women?” That is the premise of a new ad for progressive apparel company FCKH8
, which recruited a group of little girls, dressed them in frilly princess costumes and plastic tiaras, and instructed them to swear like sailors to promote feminist causes. (Also: to sell T-shirts.) “What the fuck? I’m not some pretty fucking helpless princess in distress!” one shrieks. “Here’s a hot tip!” another yells. “Stop telling girls how to dress, and start teaching boys not to fucking rape.” Later, a special co-star joins in: A boy, also dressed like a princess, screaming, “Bro, when you tell a boy it’s bad to act ‘like a girl,’ it’s because you think it’s bad to be a girl.” As one of his fellow little princesses says: “Fuck that sexist shit.”
As BuzzFeed notes
, ad producer Mike Kon has “defended” the ad
, writing: “Some adults may be uncomfortable with how these little girls are using a bad word for a good cause. It is shocking what they are saying, but the real shock is that women are still paid less than men for the same work in 2014, not the use of the F-word.” Eh. Videos of kids cursing are YouTube staples
that are mostly passed around for the adorable factor, not shock value. The ad works because it’s fun to watch girls and boys shatter precious princess tropes and refreshing to see little kids straightforwardly announce the necessity of feminism at a time when grown men and women
are still tip-toeing around the word. Plus, it's hard to criticize cute little kids, even when the statistics they spit out about the pay gap
and the rates of sexual assault
are a little fuzzy, and mining political causes to sell T-shirts is a little crass. Well-played, adults.
Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer.