T-shirts in Jay Jays’ ‘little loser’ range are branded with tasteful messages like ‘Miss Bitch,’ ‘Mr Well Hung,’ ‘Ms Wasted’ and ‘Mr Pimp’, with pictures that mimic a children’s book series.
Predictably, people have raised concerns about the tees.
In fact, New Zealand lobby group Family First has already won a battle with Jay Jays to have the ‘Miss Bitch’ and ‘Mr Well Hung’ t-shirts removed from window displays in the New Zealand and Australian stores. That said, they look unlikely to win the war — the ‘little loser’ range is still on sale and still features heavily on the Jay Jays website .
What hasn’t yet been reported is the self-evident clash in values between Jay Jays’ ‘little losers’ and the organisation it sponsors, Reach Out! , which provides a help line and website to help kids and young teens dealing with issues such as mental health and body image issues, s-x, drugs, alcohol and abuse.
Alongside the online catalogue displaying the ‘little loser’ clothes and accessories, the Jay Jays website has a special section dedicated to Reach Out!, noting that “Jay Jays has joined forces with Reach Out! to bring you info and tips on feeling good about life and staying positive.” Just how a t-shirt called ‘Miss Floozy’ promotes this message is something only a spinner could tell us. Though even they would have their work cut out for them with slogans like “If I’m not wasted, the day is” and “Party ‘til you puke”. It’s almost as if Jay Jays have taken every one of Reach Out!’s values and twisted them.
When Crikey contacted Reach Out! about the ‘little loser’ range, spokesman Bruce Walmsley said that although the organisation “does not endorse the messages on the ‘little losers’ branded range of tee-shirts … we’ve been very happy with the response from Jay Jays to our concerns.” When asked to define what this “response” was, Reach Out! declined to answer.
Jason Murray, managing director of the Just Group, which owns Jay Jays, defended the line to The Sydney Morning Herald on January 17, saying that it was not targeted at children. But the petite sizes and ‘back to school’ range of ‘little loser’ merchandise, including pencil cases, book satchels, mouse pads, and badges, indicate otherwise.
It’s a week later and stores are still stocking the ‘little loser’ Range. In fact Melbourne’s Swanston Street store told Crikey that the ‘Mr Well Hung’ and ‘Miss Bitch’ tees are selling like hotcakes.