Happiness is NEXT to Offensiveness

Happy girls are the prettiest girls– Audrey Hepburn

What comes to mind when you see this quote? To me, I interpret it as a kind way of telling people to dwell more on our inner happiness than our outer attractiveness. I read this as saying that happiness radiates from within and brightens our exterior. I do not see it as a slur to mentally ill people. But apparently some people do.

Clothing retailer NEXT recently found itself in lukewarm water because of its line of shirts that have Ms. Hepburn’s quote printed on them. The offended people claim the shirts could put pressure on those dealing with mental health issues.  A feminist group and mental health charity were tagged.

This is so ridiculous. Why would a shirt with such a simple message put pressure on those with mental issues? Do we now get rid of anything that we cannot relate to? Should we get rid of cartoons, minions, smiley face emojis and anything that could put pressure on people to be happy? Does the fact that there are unhappy people mean that the message is offensive? Is there a message that perfectly captures everyone?

One of the offended said “It suggests to me that for girls being pretty is worth more than being happy.” And it all makes sense now. This is a simple case of misinterpretation. If the shirts had the quote: “Pretty girls are the happiest”, then the outrage would be somewhat justified. But the quote does the opposite, it suggests that for girls, being happy is worth more than being pretty.

I was disappointed to read that NEXT decided to pull the line of shirts. Has no one got a backbone anymore?

Happy people are the most beautiful. I fully agree. I have never seen a person who smiling or laughing heartily that did not look wonderful.

What do you think? Is the message offensive? Was NEXT right to pull the line of shirts?

“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn


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