By Lori Fitzmaurice (Contact)
To be delivered to: Major Clothing Retailers
On behalf of girls everywhere, enough is enough. This week, a young woman in New York named Lauren Todd started a petition on Change.org urging JC Penney to stop selling a girl’s shirt with the statement: "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me." This is just one shirt in a series that display slogans that characterize a girl's worth by her looks and makes being smart somehow not "pretty". Seemingly harmless? Just a joke? Not funny. Girls get messages from all aspects of media that show a woman's value in relation to her looks – well, we say enough – time to tell retailers, "we're not buying it!"
The shirt, which was marketed to girls ages 7-16, imparts the message that boys are smart while girls are only meant to be pretty. Valuing looks over knowledge and hard work, and stereotyping female images is a dangerous message to send to young girls, one that females are already bombarded with in today’s media.
We at Girls For A Change believe that girl empowerment is essential in helping girls to realize their full potential and helps them speak up and out about issues they care about – that they are more than looks, lyrics, and objects. Girls need to know that they are valued for who they are, and not the style of their hair or the way they look. Clothing that blatantly diminishes the value of girls is harmful to a girl's perception of her worth. We know everyone wants girls to reach beyond their potential and let them know they're valued for who they are. Let's start by removing messages that put any girl (or boy!) down.
JC Penney rightfully discontinued the sale of the shirt in response to the massive support of Lauren’s petition, but the presence of sexist messages on children’s clothing is an ongoing problem that must be addressed. Tell major clothing retailers to stop designing clothes with sexist and damaging slogans that perpetuate gender stereotypes and devalue the role of young girls in society. Let them know your money will not support their company unless they take a stand against sexist, destructive slogans and imagery. Tell them, "you're not buying it!"
Note: MoveOn Civic Action does not necessarily endorse the contents of petitions posted on this site. MoveOn Petitions is an open tool that anyone can use to post a petition advocating any point of view, so long as the petition does not violate our terms of service.