Actually, the slogan on the JC Penney T-shirt, marketed to girls age 7 to 16, reads, “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.”
That’s right, you read those words correctly. The description for the shirt on their site?
“Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Beiber album out? She’ll love this T that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”
After parents went ballistic, JC Penney pulled the T from their website. But they aren’t the only offenders. Recent clothing items marketed to girls a have had slogans emblazoned on them like, “Future Trophy Wife,” and “I’m too pretty to do math.”
What bothers me most:
1. Aren’t we supposed to be empowering girls instead of telling them to rely on their looks?
2. What’s the correlation between being “pretty” and not doing homework? As if the two can’t be compatible somehow, or that if you’re pretty, you shouldn’t have goals or ambitions in life, other than to see Justin Beiber in concert.
3. Girls’ math and science scores are on par with boys’ scores these days — and more girls currently go to college than boys do. Why should a girl’s brother have to do her homework for her? It’s as if the people who market to girls want us all to take a giant step backward.
What do you think? Are items like these all in good fun, or does it go deeper than that? If you have a daughter, what do you tell her about the mixed messages she gets from the media?
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.