Jul 29, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Parents Talk: Too 'Pretty' For Homework? Please

J.C. Penney got a mouthful from parents after featuring a shirt on its website that declared "I'm too pretty for homework, so my brother has to do it for me."

Parents Talk: Too 'Pretty' For Homework? Please

Just when I thought girls clothes couldn’t get any worse, J.C. Penney unveiled this ditty in the past week.

A long-sleeved white shirt, sold in sizes 7-16, that declared in bold, multi-colored letters “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.”

The irony? It was grouped online with shirts by the brand Self Esteem.

Yes, really. The shirt was on sale for $9.99 (down from the original $16.99) so I’m hoping maybe parents were smart enough not to buy into this demeaning message that associates being intelligent with being a boy and being pretty with being a girl.

Complaints began flooding in this past week, many parents decrying what they believed was an unhealthy message for young girls.

“I have three bright, funny nieces who are 7, 5 and 5 and I never want them to believe the message on this shirt is true,” Jessica Wakeman wrote on TheFrisky.com

There was an online petition against it circulating, too. Currently, it has 1,627 signatures.

J.C. Penney reacted within hours of the first complaints, removing the shirt from its website and releasing the following 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.”

“One of the reasons we’re so outraged is that this is not what we stand for,” J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Coultas told The Village Voice blog. “We’ve facilitated over $100 million (in donations) over the past 10 years to support after-school programs in local communities. That’s a key important message for us.”

I find it humorous (and a bit pathetic) how “outraged” J.C. Penney was only after so many had complained and only after the bad publicity.

I mean, whose idea was it to buy the shirt originally? Why didn’t someone in the company say something at that point?

Coultas told the Village Voice they're still trying to figure that out, and don't know if there will be consequences for any person in particular. 

While I certainly think some change should come out of this, I don’t think punishing one person in particular is what’s needed.

There needs to be a complete change of mindset when it comes to clothing retailers and the way they view young girls. These aren’t “mini adult women.”

And they certainly aren’t meant to be treated and looked at as objects who automatically prefer lipstick over the library.

It's time for you to add weigh-in with your comments, Maple Grove.

What do you think of the shirt? Would you let your daughter wear it? What do you think of girls clothing options?

Don’t miss updates from Patch!