Wednesday, August 31, 2011

JC Penney prepares your daughters to be sugar babies

In a product failure reminiscent of the "Math class is tough!" talking Barbie fiasco of almost 20 years ago, JC Penney has discontinued this shirt from its back-to-school girls' line:

In the early '90s, however, outrage spread much more slowly.

Care2 reports that, in this case, consumer reaction was swift and effective:

Tuesday night, Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, shared the link to the shirt on her facebook page. Since then, the shirt has been shared across Facebook and Twitter by parents expressing shock at that the department store would be selling a shirt like this. While some people think the shirt is meant to be funny and not taken seriously, others like parenting blogger and advertising industry professional Liz Gumbinner (known as Mom 101), don’t see the humor. On Twitter, Gumbinner wrote: “How is it funny to promote to young girls that what we value in them is their looks, not their brains?”

Sure, it was probably designed by someone with innocent intentions of being cutesy with the whole "princess" tween culture. But the gaffe is still a shot against gender equality.

If such statements were simply foolishness, I guess it would be easy to let this one go. But attractive people (of both genders) really do have an easier time achieving success. It's just human nature. But it hardly needs to be hammered home to girls 7-16, who have already learned that their society values their cuteness and/or sexiness above academic achievement and independent thought.

The other scary thing about this is that there are women, just a few years older than this shirt's target market, who are putting its worldview into practice. Sugar Daddy "dating" sites and apps encourage attractive young women 18+ (especially cash-strapped students) to accept payment and gifts from older men in exchange for "company".

I guess they won't have to do their homework either.

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