Girls—T-shirt failure: “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me”

I thought I had seen and heard everything. As I began to read the article I said, Have we gone completely mad?” Have you heard about the shirt that    J.C. Penney has been selling? It is for girls and says “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me.”  My friend Kathy sent me an e-mail this morning  with this link:  Let’s just pretend I am a little backward and I really care only about boys and that girls are not at all important…I would be very offended that boys were being portrayed as lackeys who have their sisters as their superior or their manipulators.  Envision that moms and dads didn’t know or encouraged their daughters to enslave or cajole or threaten their brothers into doing their homework.  That would be insane, right? Now let’s flip that around and look at it from the vantage point of our girls.  How many of us think it is healthy to have our daughters think they are above learning, above doing what they need to to achieve…that their true value lies in their looks, not their brains?  And where does this concept leave the girls who are not so pretty…looking for a peer group, I guess!  Let’s not even go there…to the idea that girls are actually independent thinkers, eager achievers and have great self-esteem if not shoved into stereotypical roles.
So what’s going on here. Are women still a threat, so much of a threat that we need to keep indoctrinating them into thinking they have no assets that are unrelated to their appearance?  Yes, it’s lovely to look lovely, but it has no real value in a girl’s heart, in the building of her character. The beautiful girl can end up not feeling good about herself if too much attention is put on her appearance…on looking cute or feminine or being demure and sweet.  It can be a real burden. Don’t we have enough problems without shoving more down our children’s throats? Do we want boys to encourage a girl to sit there and look pretty? Should that be her primary contribution to her community and the world?
In this article at least people spoke out about it and the garment was removed. My friend Kathy, who has a daughter said, “For God’s sake, I thought we were further along than this. It seems as if they are trying to make girls look brainless and cutesy. Kinda made me sick.”
Do the retailers believe (and rightly so) that we will buy anything and allow our children to say and represent themselves in all kinds of skewed and undesirable ways? Of course they do because we speak with our wallets, not common sense.  Many children in this society are completely spoiled and indulged…Witness all of the moms and dads in public trying to comfort Johnny when something doesn’t go his way ( we even have restaurants that have banned children under the age of six to keep a pleasant environment).  How about talking to Johnny about the rights of the other people who are present? We have to respect our children’s ability to deal with the world; we have to tell the retailers and our children that we have no need for much of what we have, i.e. why does a 6 year old need a cell phone? We are not speaking up for what is right, what is necessary and for the rights of our children to not be forced into puberty at age 5 or 6. We are not protecting them even though we profess to care about our children.
I remember when my daughter (who is 33) was 10 years old. I had a nearly impossible time finding her a bathing suit that was suitable for a 10 year old, one that had a measure of modestly, one that did not show off every nook and cranny…I remember speaking to other moms and they had the same issue…what do we do? The leg was cut so high, it went halfway up her tush.  I purchased a bathing suit for a young friend last summer and didn’t see anything wrong with it-until she wore it in the water and it was completely see- through…it was a Dora bathing should have been okay, right?
What our society offers  is that anything goes. Our TV’s have desensitized our two year olds.  Watching Good Morning America at 8:30AM, the commercial might be about fitting bras. Women are standing there on the TV in their underwear like it is the most natural thing to do, as if it is a good and decent way for a child to spend his/her time. It’s crazy. the child is an innocent, sitting with his mom while she has a cup of coffee, playing with his blocks. And we just put up with this as if it is OK! It’s not, just like the 9000 exposures to girls and women in sexy clothes on  commercials, billboards, magazines and the references to female odors….I could go on and on…
I salute those parents who protested against this most recent assault on our children.  They did the right thing.
Well the truth is…it is really difficult to be a good parent and to know what to do, but if parents won’t do it…who else is there?  Retailers would not sell this stuff if they thought we wouldn’t buy it.  Think about it…
Be sure to look at this link where a shirt has been created in response to the shirt we’ve been talking about.
This shirt says, “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it” on the front and “Redefine girly” on the back.
This is MeddlingMom…have a great holiday weekend…I would love to hear your comments.



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