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Yes, Women & Girls Can Wear Band T-Shirts Too — Stop Asking Us To Name 10 Songs

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Why Men Shame Women For Wearing Band T-Shirts

If you’re a woman who has ever worn a band t-shirt, I’m sure you know the drill.

You show off your tee in public and get met with an onslaught of questions from peers and strangers. 

“Name every member of Guns N’ Roses” or “You like Nirvana? What’s your favorite song? And it can’t be ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’” 

There is a certain kind of elitism among fandoms of bands, particularly those who no longer make music. 

It can be almost offensive to these fans to think that a woman could also enjoy the music they listen to or worse, just like the t-shirt. 

Kourtney Kardashian was targeted for wearing a ‘The Cure’ shirt.

These critics don’t just police the women they meet. Often they congregate online to tear down strangers. 

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When Kourtney Kardashian dared to don a “The Cure” t-shirt over the summer, Twitter was outraged. 

“I wonder if Kourtney Kardashian liked The Cure before dating Travis Barker,” one user wrote onlinee. Because, of course, a woman could never like a band without her boyfriend leading the way.

“If she genuinely likes them then what’s her fav song?” asked another. Needless to say, Kardashian didn’t reply.

Given how rarely we see these kinds of comments targeted towards men, it’s hard not to wonder if Kardashian’s femininity and physical appearance has something to do with the backlash. 

Perhaps these commenters are uncomfortable with the idea that a woman whose family has redefined modern pop culture would enjoy a band from their “I was born in the wrong time” era. 

Or perhaps they just hate her because she’s a woman.

Band fans often hate on women for wearing band t-shirts.  

One Reddit thread I stumbled on didn’t even attempt to hide the misogyny is band tee elitism.

“Girls shouldn't wear band t-shirts unless they actually know something about it,” it read.

The poster rambled off about confronting a female co-worker for wearing a band shirt and raged against women while assuming none had a clue about rock music. 

While some people in the comments defended women and said men do the same thing, the poster made his thoughts clear, “[in] my experience the guys actually know, the girls don't.”

I cringe at the thought of men like these confronting female co-workers, questioning their knowledge of bands and interrogating their right to wear whatever they choose. 

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A poll found fans think people must know 10 songs before wearing a band t-shirt. 

Judging people for wearing band t-shirts is a well thought through process, at least according to one poll by Rush Order Tees

The survey spoke to 1,017 owners of band T-shirts about their purchasing habits and beliefs about music apparel. 

Turns out many had a criteria to determine if someone should or shouldn’t wear a band t-shirt. 

Most respondents thought someone should know at least 10 songs by a band before wearing their T-shirt. 

Nearly half (43.3%) of those polled said that the most important rule was to buy a band T-shirt before a show and to wear it during the gig, while 20.6% thought that was a bad idea. 

While the poll didn’t specify the genders of those responding to the survey — nor did they ask who they quiz about their band t-shirts — the implicit gender bias remains. 

Band t-shirt elitism is rooted in toxic masculinity. 

It’s a sad form of toxic masculinity when men fear women might identify with their interests and feel threatened by a woman who may know more than they do.

Can only Nike employees wear their brand? Have you been to all the colleges, cities or countries mentioned on your sweaters? Can no one wear “NASA” printed clothes if they haven’t been to space?

Sounds ridiculous, right? This gatekeeping and pushing women out of spaces deemed only suitable for men is no less harmful in band culture than it is in every other aspect of life. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.