We Fucked Up

almost 8 years ago from , Publisher of Designer News

Well, we fucked up. A couple people have pointed out that our DN t-shirts only come in men's sizes. This is a total oversight (and screwup) on our part, and we hope that you guys can apply Hanlon's Razor to this one:

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Designer News is and always will be a community of people of all genders in design and technology, and this was a moment of stupidity on our part.

We’re going to hold off on further sales until we are ready with both styles for male and female designers. We're also making a $1,000 donation to Ladies Learning Code.

So sorry about this, everyone. We blew it.


  • Ed AdamsEd Adams, almost 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for this. I think we can all appreciate demonstrable accountability and owning up when a mistake is made. I certainly can!

    103 points
  • Alejandro DorantesAlejandro Dorantes, almost 8 years ago

    I personally think this whole thing is fucking stupid and DN doesn't owe nothing to anyone. The shirts are Unisex.

    87 points
    • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, almost 8 years ago

      I'm happy that the people running it disagree.

      72 points
    • Ed AdamsEd Adams, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

      Not at all. This whole article is worth reading, if you'd like to take the time. Sure, they'd fit on a woman's body, but they wouldn't look nice or flattering. They're not at all unisex in that sense.

      13 points
      • Dale Lloyd, almost 8 years ago

        From your link: "Text or images across the chest area of a shirt draw attention to that area. Many women are uncomfortable having attention drawn to their breasts in this manner."

        Is this a joke?

        28 points
        • Tyler DeitzTyler Deitz, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

          Please keep on explaining how women should feel.

          42 points
          • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 8 years ago

            That's not entirely fair. Should Threadless not have t-shirts for women because they all have graphics on the front? I think imagery on shirts has enough nuance that saying it is inherently sexualizing is as much speaking for women as you are claiming he is.

            One can both agree that unisex t-shirts aren't good enough while still calling out taking the discussion to an absurd extreme. You don't have to agree with that call out, but just saying NO is hardly useful here.

            14 points
      • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, almost 8 years ago

        Genuinely curious - if I'm a really fat dude can I complain they don't accomodate me too?

        And no - I'm not saying super fat dudes are the same as women. But simply asking that if I don't feel I'm being "represented" by t-shirts then do I have the write to get all pissy?

        14 points
        • Tom BradyTom Brady, almost 8 years ago

          Considering super fat dudes makes up 1/3 of the US population, you absolutely have the right to get pissy. However, unfortunately for you and all the other super fat dudes, being fat in tech isn't hot right now.

          4 points
      • Ix TechauIx Techau, almost 8 years ago

        Nice or flattering for whom, exactly? Why are women's t-shirts meant to objectify us?

        0 points
  • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    Wow, it's a shirt size... this whole thing seems even more ridiculous after reading it again, hours later.

    44 points
    • Jake Lazaroff, almost 8 years ago

      Why is it ridiculous to try to not exclude people?

      8 points
      • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

        Here is what a reasonable person would do. Send a public or private message to Designer News or Andrew on Twitter, "You guys forgot to add women's sizes on your t-shirts." The response would be, "Oh wow! Dumb mistake! We'll fix it right away!"

        Instead, some people get overdramatic. But hey, acting like children seems to be in vogue these days.

        51 points
        • Connor Tomas O'BrienConnor Tomas O'Brien, almost 8 years ago

          I don't agree. There are huge issues with 'call out culture', but in this case the good of a (very benign!) public shaming has far outweighed the bad. This is a community of designers, many of whom will be professionally responsible for making similar kinds of decisions for their startups or organisations in the future. Playing this out in public highlights that these kinds of subtly sexist decisions signal who is and isn't welcome as a customer or member of a community – which, I hope, will result in less of these kinds of mistakes in the future.

          This is a design community, where most members share the ethos that the 'little big details' matter. Why are some little big details worth discussing, but others are deemed ridiculous?

          9 points
          • John PJohn P, almost 8 years ago

            but in this case the good of a (very benign!) public shaming has far outweighed the bad

            Benign like a tumour maybe, just look at the comment threads and imagine if anyone wants to be associated with a place like this after reading those, this whole matter would have been better solved in private.

            Currently it feels like we're trying to clean gum off a sidewalk by firing high pressure sewage at it… but hey! it got the gum off right? RESULT!

            10 points
  • Dale Lloyd, almost 8 years ago

    Daniel Eden was looking to publicly shame you. It's not about the shirt. Otherwise he would have done the professional thing and tried to resolve the matter privately.


    41 points
  • Daniel EdenDaniel Eden, almost 8 years ago

    This is a huge gesture. Thanks for stepping up, Andrew and everyone else at DN—it’s my hope that conversations surrounding these issues and more continue to happen in this community, and it’s reassuring that the people at the headwaters recognize the importance of this.

    38 points
  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 8 years ago

    This is brilliant marketing. I didn't even know there was a DN shirt, and now I do.

    32 points
  • Mike Wilson, almost 8 years ago

    PC BRO

    Stay PC, bros. Or else.

    31 points
    • Daniel SieradskiDaniel Sieradski, almost 8 years ago

      Treating people of all genders with respect isn't about being "politically correct." It's about being a decent human being.

      30 points
      • Mike Wilson, almost 8 years ago

        I agree completely. Everybody deserves the same respect and decency. So how "decent human being" is it to hate-shame the people running a website you enjoy visiting over some t-shirt sizes? I think the lynch mob response from people echoes the emotionally charged nature of this issue rather than logic.

        Something more useful to discuss than t shirts, for example, why does design in tech differ so much from design as a whole in terms of gender equality? Women are a 54% majority in the overall design industry: http://www.aiga.org/what-the-us-census-says-about-the-design-workforce/

        The lack of t-shirt sizes (or in the last angry post, the lack of diversity in a movie trailer) are simply surface symptoms of underlying demographic numbers. These aren't diabolical, evil acts that need public hate-shaming.

        Treating the symptoms might feel good (ie. going on PC crusades), but you actually cure a sickness by attacking the underlying cause. A crowd of self-righteous white guys shaming innocent people on the internet is a "feel-good" distraction that does nothing to address the underlying issues.

        9 points
  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I think apologizing is the right thing to do.

    I also think the shame-game went way too far. Just a one-off "a shame you don't have women sizes" would've done just fine.

    They were working on the female shirts. Nobody knows why they weren't here yet. Can we ask about that before we go all "OMG YOU FUCKERS HATE WOMEN" on someone? Please? Or maybe I missed the part where we asked before we grabbed our pitchforks.

    Regardless, I think this world could do with some empathy.

    .edit: To me, this whole thing feels a bit like bringing fruit to the office for all your co-workers, and some of them gets pissed off that you didn't consider their fruit-allergy.

    22 points
  • Sean HealeySean Healey, almost 8 years ago

    Are all of you people serious with this outlandish backlash? As the owner of an apparel company I'd like to point out something: TO MY UNDERSTANDING, the shirts are printed on the American Apparel 2001 Crewneck T-Shirt. This particular shirt is known to boast a tapered European fit, meaning the sleeves are shorter than, say, a basic Hanes tee you might find at the craft store. They are also tighter around the bicep. The torso of the tee tapers down from the armpits to the waist to contour, somewhat, to the body. This creates what is known as a "unisex" cut. It is truly unisex because it's not super-boxy like basic men's tees, but it doesn't have the extra-short sleeves of women's tees.

    I myself have printed on this exact shirt in years prior in an attempt to afford a broad range of sizes for both genders. If I hadn't done that, I'd have to order less varied sizes, and I'm a fat dude that can barely fit in an XL, so that wasn't something that would work for me of the brand. Would you rather discriminate against fat people instead of female people because that scenario doesn't directly pertain to you? I hope not.

    Female friends of mine have not only worn these shirts confidently, but actually MODELED in them and garnered more attention to the brand than anything else. So save your complaints for a worthy cause, because DN is a beautiful place that hasn't wronged any of us, ESPECIALLY in this situation over a stupid unisex vs. men's t-shirt debacle. They not even a shirt company. And you're not an activist if you're berating others in the comment section of a forum; you're more like a raincloud. Go away.

    20 points
  • Jared KrauseJared Krause, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    Using the word "Fucked" is a trigger and I personally will not stand for that

    17 points
  • Nancy TsangNancy Tsang, almost 8 years ago

    This matters. Thank you.

    17 points
  • Kemie GuaidaKemie Guaida, almost 8 years ago

    Thank you

    11 points
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, almost 8 years ago

    If DN chose to only sell Men's shirts and ignore the women, then yea, you fucked up. If it was a mistake or ("worse") a business decision to maybe start slow then nah, I think y'all are good.

    The people who fucked up are the ones that asked for your "heads" (proverbial heads) on a silver platter for T-SHIRT SIZES when there are more serious things to be concerned, worried, raged about.

    But, thanks for owning up to it. Now the ragers will have to find something else to rage about.

    8 points
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, almost 8 years ago

    It's cool guys, some people see it as blowing out of proportion but I think the voice has made an effort to shine a little light on some of the wider issues at hand. Not everyone will agree but I think it's this baby steps that help move us in the right direction. Really appreciate the team taking such a bold step forward.

    8 points
  • Marcus Schaefer, almost 8 years ago

    It's a bit unfortunate to address the audience with «you guys» in this context.

    5 points
  • Nicole DominguezNicole Dominguez, almost 8 years ago

    I was one of the first people to bring this issue up, before DN even really announced the t-shirts.

    I'm a woman, and the reason this is important and worth talking about is because of the tone and attitude DN seems to take when choosing to offer only Mens shirts. Even if the shirts were indeed "unisex", they were consciously labeled as shirts for Men, not just shirts. As other women on this thread have mentioned, one of the repercussions of the t-shirt fiasco was that it creates a space that is not safe or welcoming for women.

    Granted, I doubt DN had those intentions - or any bad intentions for that matter. But this is a community, a community where we should be able to challenge the status quo and expect more from ourselves and leadership.

    Should we just accept the microaggressions, saying nothing about inequality?

    Should we not expect more from DN, from ourselves?

    Maybe talking about this kind of stuff will show decision makers and leaders that sexism in tech is real. Worth being concerned about. Worth trying to fix.

    4 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, almost 8 years ago

    You are human. Shit happens

    4 points
  • Axel ValdezAxel Valdez, almost 8 years ago

    Thank you.

    4 points
  • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, almost 8 years ago

    Good answer. Thanks.

    4 points
  • Michael AfonsoMichael Afonso, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    It's cool that you guys had a response for this and it seems very appropriate. I would think the community could've handled this situation little better though. I know we all want to make the right steps forward to create the best environment for both sexes but the reaction to the original Men's Shirt issue is very much so over the top.

    It does however bring to attention a small detail that some might not have been aware of when handling similar issues like this out in the wild. Very small things like this can be taken and turned into very big problems. Be as inclusive as you can be and always be thinking about that when creating content.

    3 points
  • Naim SheriffNaim Sheriff, almost 8 years ago

    There are DN T-shirts?

    2 points
  • Ike KuIke Ku, almost 8 years ago

    I have only one question. Why woman may now pay money and receive a t-shirt, and I can't? If you are interested in so as not to infringe on the rights of the people, so why do you choose whose rights to not infringe? Why can't I buy a t-shirt outside the United States? Why you drew attention to the problem of female audience and did not pay attention to the problems of people who live outside the United States?

    1 point
  • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    That's very thoughtful of you guys but that's not a "fuck up". I was expecting a scandal or something. You've just mis looked a point. Don't forget you're all humans. You can't think everything every time. Also do not care about the internet most of the time. Even designer news is have antisocial people who constantly feeding their troll under their bridge just for their pleasure. I know it's hard but try to filter some noises in the feedbacks. If you're going to punish yourself, just don't do designer news. Because self worthiness and consciousness is much more important then anything. Yeah anything because those two is the only fuel to survive in this world. If you feel one of two or both compromised, and love what you do, like I've said try to build a logical filter in your brain.

    Ok a huge majority are designers in here but also don't forget that all are on internet, hiding behind their nicks and monitors. I'm not against about anything, I never saw a swear word in DN admins and I guess you guys was in mental pain since you think you "fucked" up.

    You didn't fuck up anything. If you hurt someone intentionally and post it on DN on "mistake", that's a fuck up.

    1 point
  • Gerry Mckay, almost 8 years ago

    Not only did you "fuck up" once, but you also "fucked up" a SECOND time.

    You've been really apologetic that you seemingly forgot to order women sizes for you t-shirts and go on to say: "Designer News is and always will be a community of people of all genders in design and technology and this was a moment of stupidity on our part."

    But only a few lines previous to that statement you said...

    "This is a total oversight (and screwup) on our part, and we hope that you GUYs can apply Hanlon's Razor to this one:"

    You're addressing GUYS, no mention of girl, girls, ladies, women or females!!!

    So yet again mate... YOU FUCKED UP

    1 point
  • Matthew HowellMatthew Howell, almost 8 years ago

    Well done taking ownership of this and acknowledging that it matters.

    To nitpick the language a bit (sorry), I think "oversight" and "stupidity" might not be the best excuses to offer. Maybe a more accurate word would be thoughtlessness? That doesn't imply malice, but does accurately reflect that there was deficiency in the thought process that led to this.

    Oversight and stupidity are both difficult to fix, and thus, easy to excuse again in the future. But, you can build thoughtfulness into your processes. We all can.

    For everyone complaining that this is trivial, why take the time to join this conversation then? Even if you feel that this doesn't matter to you, it's not harming you that people care about it.

    And if you feel it is harming you that a community is attempting be a little bit better at including people (all people) then, maybe take a few minutes to unpack that thought.

    1 point
  • Kat ☺, almost 8 years ago


    0 points
  • Sunny Tsang, almost 8 years ago

    :) you guys rock.

    0 points
  • Andrei KorytsevAndrei Korytsev, almost 8 years ago

    I think just making a female t-shirt would be enough. You forget about it, it happens to everyone.

    0 points
  • Moeed MohammadMoeed Mohammad, almost 8 years ago

    Class act.

    0 points
  • Ghaida ZahranGhaida Zahran, almost 8 years ago

    Thank you.

    0 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, almost 8 years ago

    Would love to see sales figures for women's sizes in six months or so. Barring some white knight buying t-shirts just to prove a point, I can't see women's sizes selling, perhaps at all.

    0 points
  • Cody IddingsCody Iddings, almost 8 years ago

    What if they treated these shirts as "MVP?" We do it all the time with our work. We see who the most valuable users are, and cater to those user stories, "discriminating" the rest. If I was owner of DN, and I had data to suggest the male persona were my most valuable persona, and I just wanted to see if the shirts would sale, I'd only put out shirts for Men. I'm not against woman and woman rights. I'm just discriminating based on my most valuable persona to gain valuable insight.

    Not to mention, these shirts are Unisex, which Sean Healey described well above.

    0 points
  • Eric Foster, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    ITT: People getting their undergarments twisted in all sorts of different directions

    TL;DR: Women shirts available; seen as a good move by most, some are indifferent, others are outraged at the perceived overly-PC nature of the move

    Sorta OT: Love my unisex DN shirt! Hooray for being within the normal range of shapes and sizes males usually come in!

    Edit: Personally, I'm glad we live in a society where arguing about such things is a thing we can spend time doing. It's a luxury not afforded to some people who are too busy trying not to die from various things around the world to care about a t-shirt.

    0 points
  • CTodd LombardoCTodd Lombardo, almost 8 years ago

    Thanks for this, Andrew

    0 points
  • A Paul, almost 8 years ago

    Was the original post deleted? I posted in that thread but can't find my post anymore. Real shady.

    0 points