Just a few hours ago, skeptics, feminists and human beings won a battle against JCPenney carrying a disgusting, ugly, and sexist shirt declaring that its wearer is “too pretty to do homework”.
It was a pretty sweet victory. I posted the article as I took my first sips of coffee this morning. Before I finished my second cup, JCPenney had already issued an apology and pulled the shirt from their online store.
As the day went on, people started messaging me that they were troubled over this shirt which is still in the store.
They seem to think we lost the battle since this ridiculously ugly shirt is still being sold at an offensively overpriced markdown to $4.99. And I debated whether it was worth continuing the fight… and came to the conclusion that it’s not.
Sure, “boys” is a pretty terrible “best subject.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the outrage was maybe misplaced… and maybe a bit elitist. Amy pointed out that music and dance are actual subjects. Legitimate subjects. Things people get degrees in. Try telling the bad asses over at Mad Art Lab that arts aren’t for smart people. Tell MAL blogger Ashley Hamer that she’s an embarrassment to women because she got her Masters in something lame like “music”.
I asked myself if the shirt was offensive if the list was
Even a “mindless” subject like “gym” wouldn’t be so bad. It would be a fun shirt, highlighting the complexities of girldom. Not an ideal image, maybe, but certainly not WTFJCPTAKEITDOWNNOW levels of offensiveness.
It’s upsetting because “music” is a “girl subject” (and a “fun” subject.) And dancing isn’t academic enough. And shopping and boys aren’t real subjects! But see, shopping and boys are the jokes… because a shirt that says “My best subjects are math, science, English lit and AP French” is a shitty shirt. No one is buying that shirt. And if they are, they are wearing at risk of looking like a hopeless bore at best.
Yes, shopping and boys are tired stereotypes, but is it really a department store’s job to dissuade young girls from shopping? And is it bad for girls to admit they like boys? Even to admit they reeeeeeally like boys? There’s more to life than school. There’s more to life than things that are not school. It’s pretty acceptable to have a school/fun balance. And the subject that is circled is a real subject. One taught in school. One that was my own actual real life major in college.
Am I thrilled with the shirt? No. Would I buy it for my daughter? No. Is it stupid? A little. Is it ugly? Very much so.
So no, I’m not demanding more from JCPenney. Let’s celebrate our win… maybe by dancing… to music… with boys…. and some girls.
And tomorrow, we’ll take our skeptical hulk smash powers to another cause that needs smashing.
Thanks for kicking ass today, peeps! You have no idea how proud I am to be a part of this community. We accomplish amazing things when we’re working together. SKEPTIC POWER!