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. Penneypulled 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?” – a Yahoo parenting article.
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.”
I think Wardy’s statement is worth noting – “”It incorporates all of the wrong messages for girls,” she adds. “Why are we conditioning kids to wear something that degrades their self-worth?” That statement is so true. I wish more of our society would pick up on the same message. Imagine what our society would be like if more females began to wear appropriate clothing? They would be respecting themselves, because are bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. And what we wear and how we conduct ourselves should represent our Creator. They would also be coveting men’s eyes from the mystery, beauty and femininity of a woman’s body, which is exceedingly important in our society. If only more women would recognize the import role they play in our society – I’m convinced our world would be a different place.