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Why are mens tank tops called wife beaters?

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Men's top tanks are called wife beaters because of a TV show known as "COPS." This is because most of the time they showed a suspect being accused of wife beating they were shown wearing these sleeveless undershirts. It was stereotypical to the tendency of spousal abuse and the attire.

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They were called that LONG LONG before COPS came out.
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The term 'wife beaters' was used for such shirrs way before the COPS TV show. I think i came about because so many men in movies and TV from the 1960's on up are depicted wearing them, often criminals or abusive husbands.
FROM web site: Use of the term wifebeater to describe an article of clothing (as opposed to its literal use) is relatively new, perhaps originating as early as the 1970s.

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In Prison ppl who Physically abused there wives wore White Tanktops now known as Wife Beaters

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