The Children's Place pulls sexist T-shirts for girls
Parental outrage over messages that foster stereotypes forces an about-face. Why do companies keep trying this strategy?
The Children's Place's (PLCE) latest T-shirt line put the clothing retailer in an uncomfortable place: in the crossfire of parental outrage.
The retailer sparked anger for girls' T-shirts like one that says "Born to wear diamonds" and another depicting a checklist under the phrase "My best subjects." While subjects such as "shopping" and "dancing" are checked off, "math" is left unchecked, with the added explanation "Well, nobody's perfect."
That made some parents hopping mad, and some filled The Children's Place's Facebook page with angry messages. Some vowed to stop shopping at the retailer.
"As an environmental scientist, I just can't justify endorsing your business," one woman wrote. "The 'right thing' to teach our children is to ignore degrading propaganda, and present yourself in a positive way."
The retailer reacted to the furor Monday night by posting a message that it was pulling the T-shirts and assuring patrons that it takes "feedback from our customers very seriously." It added: "There are countless women in all walks of life who excel in math, including our very own CEO."
While The Children's Place moved quickly, it's just the latest retailer caught up in charges of promoting sexism in children's clothing.
Remember J.C. Penney's (JCP) "I'm too pretty to do homework" T-shirt? That piece of clothing advertised the wearer's inability to complete schoolwork while celebrating the fact that "my brother has to do it for me." The T-shirt, aimed at girls ages 7 to 16, was pulled in 2011 after outrage from parents.
Then there was Gymboree's line of onesies advertising girls as "Pretty like Mommy." Boys were "Smart like Daddy."
The continual roll-out of sexist clothing raises the question of whether these items are popular enough that the stores will keep trying to sell them. One researcher told The Daily Beast that while sexist representations in clothing declined in the 1990s, gender bias returned to fashion in the 2000s. Some critics have pointed to nostalgia for bygone eras like the 1960s, as commemorated in AMC's "Mad Men."
Regardless of the reasons behind the sexist clothing, women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to enrolling in engineering and science degrees, even though most college students are female, according to Girls Inc. On top of that, women are also less likely to be portrayed as executives or doctors on TV.
After The Children's Place said it would stop selling the T-shirts, customers applauded the decision. As one wrote on Facebook: "Thank you for pulling that shirt. Time to move into the year 2013."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
The proper response from The Children's Place should have been as follows:
If you don't like the shirts, then don't buy them. Given the inappropriate crap being marketed that makes 10 year old girls look like hookers, we feel that our shirts are pretty low on the list of things you should be concerned about. We are free to market what we choose and you are free to not buy what you find offensive. Thank you, have a nice day and God bless America.
Oh, for heaven's sakes, chill out, these shirts are harmless. Someone always has to start a stink over nothing !!!
These "outraged" mommies need to get a hobby! If YOU don't like what the shirt says then here's a thought DON'T BUY IT! Geez with all the REAL problems that our country is in THIS is the NONSENSE these parents focus on??!!! How about being outraged over things that will AFFECT your children's future???
Thank GOD they pulled those shirts from their stores. Somebody had a gun to my head and I almost had to purchase one.
Now that the offensive devil-spawn shirts are no longer available, all our worries are over. That was a close one!
THAT IS ONE DUMB ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST! The 'Intelligent' do NOT ignore anything. Anyone see a correlation between "IGNORE" and "IGNORANCE"?
We, as a society, are becoming so hung up with "Politically Correct" we can't see the forest for the trees. People fail to see their own short comings and think if they IGNORE them, they will just go away.
FORGET THE SEARCH FOR EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE . . . LET'S SEE IF WE CAN FIND ANY ON PLANET EARTH!
I just cant stand how easy people get butt hurt today.
This country is getting to be a joke.
Do you know if you work for the county gov in Seattle you cant say you are brown bagging your lunch due to someone getting butt hurt over it? People like this make me sick.
Have a ****ed up PC day :)
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