Who is Tough Titty

I am a woman and an artist. I am someone who has always loved and worn printed t-shirts. Quite unintentionally, I have found myself in a position of designing and producing a t-shirt collection which I like to think is filling a void. Rarely have I found graphic t-shirts on the market portraying female badassness. Instead we are constantly fed the all too common hegemonic imagery of women either as sexualized objects or as soft & cutesy personas, neither of which float my boat. In other words, I am basically designing a line of t-shirts for myself and like-minded individuals who get it!

How Tough Titty Started

It all started in 2016 when I was trying to figure out what to wear to the Women’s March, which would be held the day after Trump’s inauguration. As much as I appreciated the brilliant idea of the hand-knitted pink pussy hats which everyone was rallying around, there was absolutely no way I could bring myself to wear pink especially if it was in the form of a hat with little ears. It was winter and I was in Boston, so whatever I came up with had to be weather appropriate. In other words a t-shirt wasn’t going to cut it. Harkening back to my punk-rock teenage years, I designed a large silk screen printed patch which could be easily pinned onto the back of my winter jacket. Within one night, my partner and I quickly created the design for the patch. Combining together an image of a female rebel with a complimentary text, “We are the granddaughters of all the witches you were never able to burn”.

After collecting together a few trash bags of old t-shirts which friends donated to the cause, I took them to the local screen printer. The ask of the printers was to go rogue, and print as many images onto one shirt as possible. My intention was to cut them up into individual patches and distribute them at the fast approaching Women’s March. The printers were booked solid far into the future but said they would keep my load on hand in case there were spare moments when they could run off a few at a time for me. In the end, they printed all of them, not because they had time but because they made time due to feelings of solidarity. When I got home with the finished order, I found a handwritten note from the printer himself inside of one of the boxes. The note thanked me for doing what I was doing, he thanked me on behalf of himself, his wife and his daughter. His note was so out of the ordinary and expressed both his devastation with the newly elected president and his appreciation towards all of us who were standing up against the status quo. Because of this anonymous printer, we had about 200 patches which we were able to send down to the D.C. march and also take into Boston with us.

Since then, I have continued to produce supply for the demand which has only grown. But all along, there have been many voices which have expressed the desire for me to make t-shirts. I have finally given in and decided if I’m going to invest time and money into this it has to be something that has an ongoing purpose with the ability to evolve. So instead of just producing t-shirts with the “Granddaughters” graphic, I am excited to expand on the initial impetus with more designs which will continue to serve the same purpose. The purpose being, as the logo states, “to fight misogyny one t-shirt at a time”. I will release a new design each year which I promise you will live up to the label’s name, Tough Titty.