From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/08/31/308806/jc-penney-girls-too-pretty-to-do-homework/
By Rebecca Lefton,
August 31, 2011
August 31, 2011
JCPenney is advertising a girl’s t-shirtthat says, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” The merchandise description reads: “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.”
That’s right, girls starting at the age of 7 are being told that their looks, not brains, are all that matter. And that boys are smarter than girls.
JCPenney should immediately stop selling such sexist products and donate any sales revenue to a girl’s empowerment organization. And for a moment, let’s take a deeper look into the seemingly harmless attention that is given to girls’ appearance. Sexism is still pervasive and limiting women’s achievement.
The stats don’t lie: a recent Commerce Department report on the gender breakdown and compensation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields found that women still only represent 25 percent of jobs in these fields — the same number as over a decade ago — and are paid less than their male counterparts, earning only 83 cents to a man’s dollar. Sadly, that’s better than the overall wage gap of 77 cents (and the gap for women of color is even larger). Why are we telling girls that their academic and professional achievements don’t matter as much?
Every two minutes, a woman is sexually assaulted in the US (note: 60% of sexual assaults are not reported). Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, notes that “the pressure has grown much more intense to define themselves and gain all their self-worth from the way that they look, and the way that they look is supposed to be, increasingly and increasingly younger, sexy. And femininity becomes defined for them by sexiness (you know, at the age of four), narcissism, and consumerism—all three of which are problematic for me.” Is this really the message JC Penney wants to send young girls?