Is Nike’s Gold Digging T-Shirt Sexist?

gold digging tshirtSo, apparently Nike’s recent “Gold Digging” t-shirt has caused an uproar? The t-shirt was created at the end of the recent Summer Olympics as a tribute to the American female athletes who won an impressive 29 of the U.S.’s 44 total gold medals. (wow!) But is it offensive?

The shirt description on the Nike website read as follows, “The Nike “Gold Digging” T-Shirt: Style that starts a conversation

When nothing less than the best will do, the Nike “Gold Digging” Women’s T-Shirt is up to the challenge with a bold design that’s a treat on the eyes in a slim, comfortable fit.

But after the t-shirt was labeled as “sexist,” Nike issued the following response, “Nike has consistently supported female athletes and the position they enjoy as positive role models. The t-shirt uses a phrase in an ironic way that is relevant given it was released just as the world focused on the success of female athletes.”

anna nicole smith gold diggerSo, I guess I don’t understand why this t-shirt is offensive to women? My thought is that their use of the “gold digging” phrase is clearly ironic… Being a (in this case female) Olympic athlete is the polar opposite of being a “gold digger” (defined as “one who uses charm to extract money or gifts from others”) as they are the most dedicated and focused athletes in the world, getting nothing due to favoritism or charm.

I hope no one is actually losing sleep over this t-shirt. Maybe the whole thing is just playing right into Nike’s plan for free advertising? Anyway, I’m going to go finish watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to clear my head.