Monday, August 5, 2013

Girls: Who needs math when you can shop?

Consumerist shared this Facebook photo of a shirt sold at The Children's Place. In the 21st Century.

A customer named Erin Shipp wrote on the company's FB wall:
I dropped by one of your stores over the weekend and was really disgusted by the sexist approach to girls' clothing. It's bad enough that so much of it is pink and purple, but the "best subjects" t-shirt is pretty terrible so is the "this princess is no drama queen" one. What, boys get to have aspirations to do things and girls are supposed to be materialistic wannabe princesses angling to catch a man before third grade? I have a son and haven't paid much attention to your girl clothes before this, but I was hoping to purchase a gift. Not only did I leave empty-handed, but I won't be returning.

Jezebel's Laura Beck adds some context:
By contrast, their boys t-shirts are all about surfing and playing drums and being a superhero. They're by no means perfect, but they paint the picture of a pro-active kid putting himself out there and making things happen. If the company doesn't want to mix all the shirts together —boys and girls basically have the same bodies at those ages, why can't they choose for themselves?
Sexist t-shirt controversy seems to pop up with regularity these days. But the ones furthering anti-academic female stereotypes are among the worst.

In their 2000 paper “Gender Differences in Academic Attitudes among Gifted Elementary School Students”, researchers at the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students, suggested to parents:
"...expose both boys and girls to activities involving all kinds of skills. They can guard against assuming that boys will like math/science and girls will prefer verbal activities. They can try to ensure that their children’s teachers don’t make these assumptions or treat children differently based on gender.” 
That was 13 years ago. More recently, it has been observed that girls are outpacing boys in later academic achievement, as well as representing more than half of post-secondary enrolment. So these shirts are not just sexist, they're out-of-touch.

I have a young son, and I have shopped at The Children's Place. (It's a little expensive, but they turn over and liquidate stock quickly.) I'll be watching when, or if, the company responds.

1 comment:

  1. The Facebook comments on their page in "support" of that shirt make me cringe. Gross.