Disturbing T-Shirt Tells Girls They're Too Pretty for Homework

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I'm Too Pretty to do HomeworkWhen it comes to telling my daughter she's beautiful, I'm guilty, guilty, guilty. I want her loaded up on so much self-esteem it's oozing out her ears. But the news that a t-shirt with the words "I'm Too Pretty to Do Homework So My Brother Has to Do It for Me" being sold to little girls my daughter's age has me chewing up the nails covered in her favorite pink Hello Kitty nail polish and spitting them at my computer screen.

Because for every "you're beautiful," my daughter also hears at least two "you're smart"s and a few "you're so talented at X"s thrown in. We are nothing if not well-rounded in our heaping helpings of praise in our household. We're raising a person here, not a face.

The problems with this shirt are many: it tells a girl that her value in the world is her looks. That's bad enough. But it also tells her that she is inferior to a male counterpart who somehow has the brain power to do the homework that she can't. It's paired with marketing copy that's almost as disgusting (the link to the shirt on the JCP website doesn't seem to be working):

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.

Yup, my kid likes Justin Bieber (although she prefers Selena Gomez with her girl power anthem "Who Says" to be honest). But you know when my kid looks really cute? When I find her passed out on her bed with the book she was reading as she drifted off to dreamland still clutched in her hands. Because no one ever told her she couldn't read.

Couldn't.

That's the biggest problem of all with this shirt. It tells girls that they can't do something. And at 7 years old, there isn't anything a kid should be told they can't do (OK, OK, anything positive -- we're not talking about lighting up cigs or taking a gun up to the top of a bell tower here). At 7, the sky is still the limit. There should be no limitations on what she can do -- or what her brother can do either.

I could have seen this t-shirt sold in 1950. But in 2011, I'm wondering not just why it's being sold, but who is actually buying it under the guise of "aww, it's so cute." Words are powerful, Mom and Dad (just ask the bullied teens who don't think their parents have their back). The messages YOU share with your kids are the ones that sink in. If you buy it, you are putting your stamp of approval on it. You're saying, even unwittingly, I agree with this sentiment. I think it's OK if you do too.

If you want your daughter thinking she's too pretty to do homework, that her brother is smarter than her, then by all means, buy this shirt. But I'll be telling my daughter she's beautiful, and smart, and a really talented dancer.

Would you buy this shirt?

UPDATE: Good news! The shirt has been pulled -- at least by seller JC Penney. They shared their reasoning with the Village Voice:

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.

Image via JC Penney

clothes, girls

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Mares... MaressaSB

AMEN, Jeanne!!!!! (P.S. Why are you reading this? :))

acrog... acrogodess

I'd buy it for Olivia who is 8. Olivia has a sense of humor. Olivia is brilliant, an honor roll student and while yes her big brother is smart too she certainly doesn't lack self esteem. She would find it as funny as I do. Just like her Girls rule. Boys drool. T-shirt. She is beautiful. She is artistic and she knows that both her dad and I are very proud of her.

Melis... Melissa042807

No, my daughters will not have t-shirts like that. I don't like the attitude-y message they send.

dirti... dirtiekittie

my kids won't have it because a) they don't have a brother and b) i think it's a busy looking shirt anyway. i don't care for the message, but i also don't read all that "girls are inferior / looks are all that matters" into it either. my youngest had a shirt that said "i'm cute! buy me something!" and we just thought it was funny... but maybe someone would take that the wrong way too...

Elena Duran

I would not buy it because its ugly. I really don't think its meant to mean the person wearing it is not intelligent. It's means they are too pretty to need to do it. Not the best message but not the horrible one you're making it to be. Get a grip.

kehgi... kehgiggles

I may get exciled for saying this, but it's just a shirt. My son has a shirt that says "I'm stuck with 1.Going to school 2. Too much homework and 3.An annoying sister." When they were little, they wore m

madfoot madfoot

GROSS.

Bill Schmalfeldt

You shouldn't create a product designating someone as stupid unless you know for a fact that person is stupid.

Like I did here...

http://tinyurl.com/3trzmvh

Susan Delly

The shirt is funny.  It's just a shirt... if the lessons you teach your children at home are solid, a funny shirt now and then shouldn't be a problem. 


I'd buy the 'too pretty' shirt and the 'be the change' shirt mentioned in a more recent post.


It's all about balance.

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