|JC Penney Ad|
As you can see this discounted shirt reads, "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me." What?!?
The shirt is then marketed with the following copy, "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."
Are you kidding me?! Of course, when I first saw the link to this ad by a friend of mine on Facebook I thought this was a joke. Alas, it was not!
First thing this morning I called JC Penney to do some investigative social activism (that means call to question them until their heads explode) but Diane, the woman I spoke with (who was only a supervisor at the call center in Pittsburg), really didn't have much to say in the way of my specific questions. What she did share with me was that her daughter recently graduated as valedictorian from her high school (sans brother to help her) and she found this shirt offensive too.
What I did learn was that Diane was unaware of who the buyer for such products are and wasn't sure how I could find out. However, what she did note was that much of the clothing comes from overseas (read: sweatshops in China) or the screen print itself (such as the words and images on this shirt) and are then sent to the U.S. for printing. So, two things then came to mind - 1) is this how the global market perceives our American girls? And 2) is there anyway for big corporate giants to be socially responsible? Well, I can't answer the first one without a long and speculative dissertation, but I am glad to report that JC Penney did in fact remove this item from their website. As TODAYMoms reported this morning:
UPDATE: Well, that was quick. JC Penney is apologizing and pulling the shirt from shelves. The retailer issued this statement:
"jcpenney is committed to being America's destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the “Too pretty” t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale. Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect."
Here are some other links to women's organizations, social media outlets and bloggers who too were outraged: The Consumerist, Care2, Jezebel, and The Village Voice. Good work everyone!