A nationally known department store came under fire this week for a T-shirt that shows that young girls are still encouraged to pursue beauty over brains.
The T-shirt being criticized is a long-sleeved tee for young girls that reads: “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” Even the description of the shirt on the company’s Web site gives parents cause for concern. Part of the description says: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out?”
The shirt, which was sold on the national J.C. Penney Web site, has since been pulled from the Web, and the store offered an apology. But unfortunately, the problem of negative messages geared toward young girls reaches much farther than one T-shirt.
Browse the T-shirt offerings for boys and girls that can be found in most large stores, and you will start to notice a theme. First of all, there are an abundance of pink and purple shirts for young girls, which is great if you love those colors, but I wonder if girls are born liking pink or if they are conditioned to like it. The shirts for young ladies encourage them to be super girly, which apparently means loving words like “fashion,” “diva,” “princess,” “LOL” and “BFF.” Most of the boy shirts show either superheroes, sports, or collegiate themes.
If you ask me, these shirts are telling our girls that they should focus on looking pretty and getting spoiled, while the boys are being told to save the day and to achieve things in sports and academics. So basically we are preparing the boys for successful careers so they can take care of their high-maintenance trophy wives who are mostly pretty to look at but lacking in substance.
When will this culture stop subjecting our girls to the lie that outward beauty is of paramount importance? How can we convince our daughters that their inward beauty and intellect matters most when they live in a culture that teaches them otherwise?
Having been the type of girl who was more interested in reading and studying than shopping for clothes and playing “Girl Talk,” I understand just what we ladies are up against. If you go around carrying books instead of magazines about pop stars, you are labeled a “nerd.” If you are not up on the latest fashions and do not care to be, you will be called “ugly” or people will start rumors that you’re a lesbian.
I absolutely believe that girls should feel pretty, but we need to teach them that ignoring homework and worshipping mainstream fashion is not the path to true beauty.
Meghann Evans is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at 719-1952 or firstname.lastname@example.org.