Forever 21 Shirts Tell Girls They're Too Cool for School (PHOTOS)


allergic to algebraTell me if you've heard this one before. A store catering to our daughters puts out a shirt that treats them like they're morons who can't possibly be interested in an education. The Internet erupts. Oh right, that happened last month and JC Penney pulled the offensive t-shirt. So why is Forever 21 in trouble THIS WEEK for selling yet another line of shirts that make girls out to be brainless nitwits?

They've pulled their "Allergic to Algebra" shirt already it seems (you can find it via search, but click on the link and it's out of stock), but there are still gems like "Homework Hurts Trees" and the puke-worthy "School Is Fun -- When It's Over." Which makes me wonder if the people who make these tees aren't the ones who they best describe. Because one retailer after another issuing a mea culpa should be a red flag for each successive store.

And that goes double for retailers like Forever 21. Catering to young women almost exclusively -- these shirts are part of their Forever 21 Girls line that ranges up into the teen years -- they're dependent on a consumer group that's both powerful and opinionated. Statistics show teenagers are most likely to use their money on clothing, and even though parents are cutting back in the economy, they're still buying. And in homes where the parents are still buying their kids' clothes, teen girls, in particular, have been found to have the most impact on how a family spends.

Forever 21 shirtThat means a lot of clothes purchased for teenage girls. And it means making both the girls and their parents happy. So why sell something that makes a girl feel like crap about herself?

I had a really hard time with the "too pretty for homework" tee at JC Penney last month because it taught little girls that they're not as good as their male counterparts. But these shirts bear an equally troubling message: that older girls (algebra came in middle school in my neck of the woods anyway) are not supposed to be excited about being school, that it's somehow embarrassing to enjoy math, that it's cool to make fun of school.

Teen girls hear often enough that they're air-headed, daffy characters who don't care about anything deeper than the pools of their favorite singer's eyes. They don't need to be told that valuing their education makes them somehow unworthy in the eyes of their favorite store. If these stores want to keep our girls pawing through their racks, they need to drop the dumb act and start treating these kids with what they deserve: respect.

Do you think your daughter would want to wear one of these shirts?


Images via Forever 21



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mommix4 mommix4

I didn't like the to pretty for school(or was it homework) one , but these don't bother me. I wouldn't buy them for my kids but I don't find them offensive

cocob... cocobeannns

I think some people take things a little too seriously. The shirts are meant to be fun, not serious. If you find them offensive, don't buy them. End of story.

nonmember avatar me

yeah I'm really quite tired of these t-shirt stories. who cares?

Kristen Sanderlin

Oh my lord. It's just a shirt people. Since when is it okay for a few parents to decide what everyone elses children wear? Just because you PERSONALLY don't find it funny and take the "message" (if you can call it that) to heart, doesn't mean the rest of can't laugh and brush it off.

Justa... Justamom283

Is the issue because these are on shirts for girls or just the message itself? Because I have seen similar t shirts fir boys and I don't think it's harmful to their esteem. The two mentioned in the post were kinda funny and sounded like the type of humor kids have.

Zamaria Zamaria

They're supposed to be funny. And they aren't making them for girls. My son has one that says something about saving trees and eliminating homework, one about ways to get out of homework, one that says conserve energy, wear a dirty shirt with dirt colored smudges all over it. He's a smart kid who actually likes school. I think you're overreacting to the shirts. It's a joke. Laugh and move on.

Lynette Lynette

I have seen shirts w/ these types things on them at Target and Walmart for boys size 6 & up.  I refuse to buy them, I don't like the message they send.

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

I think they're funny. I thought the ones JCPenney sold were funny as well. Some people have to turn everything into a damned social controversy. They're T-Shirts, they are not intended to teach your daughter to shut up and look pretty until she's old enough to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. They're intended to make people smirk and roll their eyes.
They don't "send" any kind of message. They display a (intended to be) funny statement for others to read and enjoy.
If you don't like them, fine. Don't buy them. I'm sure these companies are really going to be hurting because you can't take a joke.
But don't start going on and on about what "society" is teaching your kids. It's not "society's" job to teach them, it's yours. So buy them or don't, but don't make everything into a "social issue." It's exhausting.

Danielle Iamarino

Wow. Does no one understand that the essential problem here is not that teens hate school and are therefore apt to buy shirts that express that hatred, but that the public school system itself is a colossal, miserable, hate-worthy failure? Hello, self-righteous mothers; has anyone been paying attention to the state of the nation lately, or what? My mom took me out of school in fifth grade, let me design my own homeschooling program for the remainder of my elementary and high school education, and I am now a well-adjusted young lady with 4.0 GPA in college. Seriously, people. Stop forcing your children to subscribe to the dysfunctional public education system. Really want to have a positive effect on your daughter's learning capacity? Research alternative educative methods that will allow her the intellectual stimulation she deserves (the kind that doesn't make her want to throw up every time she opens a book).

Rachel Johnson

I agree with the majority. These are just shirts. I have seen adults wear way worse messages on their tshirts. And if these kids really do think they are too pretty for homework, or saving the environment by not doing homework, let them fail. More than likely, they are just wearing them to be funny.

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