Cute, or offensive?
UPDATE: JC Penney is pulling the shirt from its website and apologizing. See their full statement below.
JC Penney is selling a girls' T-shirt that proudly declares "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me."
Wow. Just... wow.
"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," the marketing copy declares.
Who would buy this shirt? Who could possibly think this is a good message to send to girls? I'm normally pretty laid-back about funny T-shirts for kids -- I love the one that says "Still living with my parents" -- but this one just seems wrong on so many levels. Really, people are still buying into the stereotype that pretty and smart can't go hand-in-hand? How dated, ridiculous and sad. Surely we can do better for our daughters.
To be honest, I didn't believe this T-shirt was real until I followed the link to the JC Penney website, where it is indeed on sale for $9.99. Marked down from $16.99 -- that's 41 percent off (yes, I did my own homework, thank you very much).
You'd think JC Penney would have learned from the mistakes of Mattel, which was excoriated for a talking Barbie doll that chirped phrases like "Math class is tough!" and "I love shopping!" Or they could have paid attention to Abercrombie & Fitch, which has in recent years been forced to pull one line of T-shirts featuring Asian caricatures and another T-shirt for girls with "Who needs brains when you have these?" printed across the chest. Classy.
What do you think? Is the "too pretty to do homework" T-shirt offensive, or cute? Would you buy it for your daughter?
UPDATE: Well, that was quick. JC Penney is apologizing and has pulled the shirt from its website. It was never offered for sale in stores, only online. The retailer issued this statement:
"jcpenney 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."
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Rebecca Dube is the TODAY Moms editor and a senior editor at TODAY.com. She lives in New York with her husband and her toddler son, who accessorizes all his T-shirts with large smears of yogurt and applesauce.