Sexism Doesn’t Sell: Reject Retailers Who Try to Sell the Bogus Message Girls Shouldn’t Do Math

Last week JCPenney generated controversy with their “Too Pretty for Math” T-Shirt, the full text of which
read, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”


JCPenney eventually pulled the shirt from its website, but apparently Forever 21 didn’t learn from their example. The retailer is currently selling shirts for girls which read, “Allergic to Algebra.”


These shirts are troubling because they are adding yet another voice to the harmful and false perception that girls are somehow less equipped to do math than boys. Girls are constantly being told, in ways both subtle and explicit (like these shirts) that they should focus on how they look over what they can achieve. This is ultimately harmful not just to the girls themselves, but society overall. The US currently ranks 25th out of 34 countries in terms of math scores, and instead of doing everything they can to make sure girls realize their full academic potential, retailers like JCPenney and Forever 21 are continuing to try to profit off of outdated perceptions of female ability. Until these retailers stop selling sexism, supporters of girls should take their business elsewhere.

Vanessa Wright