When it comes to shopping for back-to-school clothes, there are bound to be a few battles over the length of a skirt or the tightness of a top. But what happens when the battle is not with your child, but with a clothing retailer? American company JCPenney came under fire recently when angry parents let the company know exactly what they thought about a t-shirt on the company’s website with the slogan “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”
Suggesting that “girls are pretty” while “boys are smart” is unfortunately not a new concept, though it’s one that we’re definitely tired of seeing. We can’t help but feel frustrated by the fact that these kinds of messages continue to be presented to young girls—that it’s more important to be pretty than smart, or that the two are somehow mutually exclusive. JCPenney has taken the shirt off of its website (and issued an apology), but removing the offending shirt doesn’t exactly solve the bigger problem, does it?
Meanwhile, a similar shirt is still available for sale on the company’s website—this one with the slogan “My Best Subjects” and a checklist that includes boys, shopping, music and dancing. Nothing academic, of course—because hey, girls are too pretty for that stuff. We can’t help but wonder: when’s the last time you saw a t-shirt for boys with the same kind of message?
We can’t remember, either.
What do you think—are these t-shirts harmless, or do they send the wrong message to young girls? Do you find them offensive? Would you buy one for your daughter?
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