JCPenney has pulled a controversial shirt from its website that consumers declared “sexist.” The girls’ shirt reads: “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”
“We’ve immediately discontinued sales of that T-shirt. It was only online,” Ann Marie Bishop, a spokeswoman for JCPenney, told ABCNews.com. ”We agreed that the shirt does not deliver an appropriate message.”
The shirt was being marketed to girls between the ages of 7 and 16, for the price of $9.99. A caption next to photos of the shirt read: “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.”
Soon after the shirt went online, outraged customers began making noise, and the online petition website Change.org put up a notice with the message: “Stop selling clothing with sexist messages for girls.”
As of midday, more than 1,600 people had signed a petition addressed to JCPenney Chairman and CEO Mike Ulman III: “Under the guise of being ‘cute,’ J.C. Penney is promoting merchandise that encourages girls to value looks over brains; to leave academics to the boys, and to aspire to nothing more than fawning after Justin Bieber,” it read.
Those who signed the petition renounced the “too pretty to do homework” message and pledged not to shop at JCPenney anymore. One woman going by the handle Aunti Kincade wrote: “Why would I buy something so stupid as this T-shirt for my smart, brilliant granddaughters? It is ignorant — and so is the buyer who thought it was cute! Wake up JCP. It’s 2011, not 1911!”
Ironically, given the message on the hackle-raising shirt, it was grouped with shirts by the brand Self Esteem on JC Penney’s website. Self Esteem specializes in “sassy” T-shirts targeted at young girls. A shirt similar to the “I’m too pretty” shirt reads: “I love my best friends, girls rock, girls have more fun” with a JCPenney caption that says: ”Boys drool, and girls rule! Let her show off her mantra and sassy style with this cute tee.”
A JCPenney spokeswoman told ABCNews.com that Self Esteem did not manufacture the “I’m too pretty” shirt but said she “didn’t know” who made it.
JCPenney said it did not know many of the “too pretty to do homework” shirts had been sold.
“We want to apologize to our customers,” Bishop said. “We’re reaching out to our customers who are unhappy to apologize and to let them know that the T-shirt is no longer available.”