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New Batman and Superman T-shirts are super-sexist, critics cry

The creators "should be ashamed of this sexist Batman shirt," says PopSugar.com.

"I have never wanted to set a piece of clothing on fire so much in my entire life," said one writer commenting on Jezebel.com

Meanwhile, on the Wal-Mart website, it's out of stock.

The item in question is a gray polyester knit T-shirt in Wal-Mart's Juniors department. Its $9.88 price tag may seem reasonable, but to many, its sentiment (in pink lettering, no less) does not: It reads, "Training to be Batman's wife."

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What some find especially galling is that the shirt is licensed by the Dark Knight's publisher, DC Comics. "So ladies, the takeaway from this is that we can't be superheroes but we can marry them ... if we train ourselves to be good enough. Thanks, DC!" wrote blogger Eldritch on Jezebel. 

"For the low price of $9.98, teen girls can be stripped of any personal ambition and reduced to their eventual title of 'wife,'" agreed the Huffington Post's Jessica Samakow

If that wasn't a big enough headache for DC's publicity department, there's this shirt, spotted on such sites as Superhero Den, which prices it at $19.99:

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"That 'score' that Superman is doing 'it again' is, of course, Wonder Woman. Who is not in any way being boiled down to the (non-feminist of course) girlfriend of Superman. Nope. Not at all," commented the feminist comics blog DC Women Kicking Ass on Tumblr.

Other fans, however, are objecting to the objections.

"A playful shirt for a girl saying she's in training to be an awesome wife to an awesome man is not what's holding our girls back, but the attitude that being a wife is somehow detrimental to girl power might be," Jenny Erikson wrote of the "Batman's wife" shirt on The Stir. A reviewer on walmart.com gave the Batman shirt five stars, saying, "I find it funny and my daughter loves it. Being Batman's wife is nothing to sneer at, it's a very hard job."

DC Comics has responded to the T-shirt tempest.

"All our fans are incredibly important to us, and we understand that the messages on certain T-shirts are offensive. We agree," the company said in a statement to Comic Book Resources. "Our company is committed to empowering boys and girls, men and women, through our characters and stories. Accordingly, we are taking a look at our licensing and product design process to ensure that all our consumer products reflect our core values and philosophy."

Follow Rick Schindler on Twitter.

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