JCPenney Gets Blasted For Stupid Tee Shirt Aimed At Young Girls

Severus Snape

Proud Member
Jul 25, 2011
The Dungeons said:
A few months ago, the Internet was up in arms over a white David & Goliath T-Shirt that read, in pink bubble letters, "I'm too pretty to do math." Then there was the one with "Future Trophy Wife" written on it.

But many parents think this one is worse.

The long-sleeve T-shirt that J.C. Penney pulled off its website today amid plenty of parental outrage read: "I'm too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me." And, judging by the description of the shirt on the J.C. Penney website—"Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is"—it seems like the company didn't have a problem with the shirt until customers started to complain.

Thanks, major clothing retailers. We struggle to teach our girls that beauty isn't everything, that they don't have to play dumb in order to be popular, that women can be both smart and pretty. But, even though studies show that girls are as good at math as boys, even with beautiful movie stars earning Ivy League degrees in between blockbuster hits, the stereotypes persist—thanks in large part to messages like the one on that "cute and sassy" T-shirt marketed to girls age 7 to 16.

The controversy started late Tuesday night, when clothing designer Melissa Wardy saw a tweet about the T-shirt and then shared the link on her Facebook page. "I advocate for girls and against this kind of gender stereotyping in the marketplace," she said in an interview with Yahoo! Shine. "My little girl starts kindergarten tomorrow... I don't want her to see a shirt like that on her classmate, something saying that pretty is cute and right and the academics should be left to the boys."

"It incorporates all of the wrong messages for girls," she adds. "Why are we conditioning kids to wear something that degrades their self-worth?"

Tired of girls' clothing that focused on "looks, shopping, or hyper-hyper-girliness," Wardy launched her own line of apparel, called Pigtail Pals, in 2009. She spent Wednesday designing a T-shirt of her own in response to the "I'm too pretty to do homework" message. "Girls deserve better products in the marketplace," Wardy says. Her new shirt, adorned with stars and swirls in a rainbow of colors reads, "Pretty's got nothing to do with it" on the front and "Redefine girly" on the back.

"There's nothing wrong with being girly," Wardy says. "I'm not anti-pink. I'm not anti-princess. I'm anti-limitations."

J.C. Penney removed the T-shirt on Wednesday and issued this statement: "J.C. Penney is committed to being America's destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the 'Too pretty' t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale. Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect."

Anyone remember Teen Talk Barbie, who complained "Math class is tough!" when you pressed a button on her back?

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"I'll always be here to help you!(Unless you need help with math--then your [sic] on your own)." ~sexybanddork, YouTube.

It was a bad idea back in 1994. Why are we still feeding our girls the same message nearly 20 years later?

I'm disgusted at what sorts of messages we've been aiming at children of BOTH genders over the years. The very thought sends chills down my spine. I've always found child-oriented marketing to be uncomfortable to behold at best and creepy beyond belief at worst. I guess what I have to ask, first of all, is...who thinks up this stuff, and <i>why</i> on Earth do they think this is an acceptable message to send to little children? In this case, girls are the main target of these heavily stereotyped merch items, but there are equally potent messages aimed at boys as well.

Is this really the way these people think society ought to function? Are we such heartless beings so as to market caricatured stereotypes to our very impressionable children as models for them to follow? I wonder whether the designer of this shirt was a man or a woman--it really has little to do with things, but I guess it would be much worse if the person in question were female. Either way, it's a disgusting message to send to young girls. I have to say the creepiest one is that "Future Trophy Wife" shirt, though... I guess the most spine-chilling question of all is...what kind of parents are buying this shirt (or similar shirts) for their children? Regardless of the backlash these more obviously deficient messages are getting, the more "watered down" ones are indeed incredibly popular, and no better than the ones getting public disdain at present (they are, however, less obvious about their message).

I'm so happy I've never found an iota of appeal in any of these things, either as a child, or at present, no matter how hard my mother attempted to push them at me. I was one of the few lucky ones, I guess.