No to Inappropriate and Anti-School Messages on Plain T-shirts

Retailers and some online clothing stores never learn.

Just a few weeks ago, in time for back-to-school shopping, JC Penney was forced to yank a sweater that read their “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother does it for me”. There was an online outcry and concerned parents, furious moms and disgusted customers made use of petition website to produce thousands of signatures from people and forced them to take it off their shelves.

Cited as not giving kids today appropriate messages but rather sexist messages, these retailers should have learned especially since kids, tweens and teens are their clientele. But no, some have to do it again and force parents and customers to file a petition against them.

The recent perpetrator of these inappropriate messages on their cheap t-shirts is Forever 21, a California-based chain of stores that sells inexpensive clothing to teens. The cheap tee shirts retail for $12.80 and really look good with jeans to give teens a relaxed girl-next door look.

Unfortunately the message on it is not only sexist but in fact stupid and inane. The shirt reads “Allergic to Algebra” again sending our kids the wrong message. It seems to say that girls are bad at Math and that’s okay. There has always been a perception that guys are better at math than girls but that is so long ago and so not true. While some say that these messages are an intrinsic part of today’s in-your-face fashion especially since there really are people who never did like Algebra. But then you don’t see cheap t-shirts with these messages in the men’s section.

One doesn’t see muscle shirts that read Allergic to Algebra. It is only the girls who are targeted with these dumb messages that seem to reinforce the perception that girls can’t do math, that it’s okay not to be smart or being smart isn’t attractive or cool. And worse the perception that learning to put makeup deftly is more important than being good in school. Some says the messages is actually anti-education as it seems to say education is not important especially when Forever 21 other shirts read “Skool sucks” and “I love school” on the front and “not” on the back.

These cheap tee shirts have definitely ticked off women, even those who never liked Algebra. And some have even made their comment made known. A commenter Lenish shared:  “It’s one thing to be bad at math, it’s quite another to brag about it and think it’s cool. It’s not possible to be a master of everything, but if you want to brag, brag about what you are good at, not what you suck at.”

And PrincessJingles posted: “The last thing the young women of our world need is another reason to think being dumb is cool. … Shame on you.”

One shopper posted a photo on, a social news website, of a mannequin clad in the offending shirt with a green Post-It note attached: “SMART girls are cool. Don’t buy this top.”

Again, parents have a lot to say about what their children wear. Yes, tweens and teens would like to wear what is on trend and its easy enough to do when there are so many online clothing stores out there to choose from. But then we certainly pray that we gave them enough guidance not to choose these crappy messages on their cheap t-shirts.

Image Source: Google Images

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