Would You Let Your Daughter Wear This J.C. Penney Shirt?

September 1st, 2011

It’s not easy to offend most people with a t-shirt these days. We’ve seen it all. Some companies even specialize in creating “offensive” shirts. You won’t find them in your local retail store, but anyone can buy them online and wear them in public.

So why did a shirt sold by J.C. Penney cause so much controversy? It didn’t contain any “4-letter words” or “adult” themes. But it did carry a message that shocked just about everyone who saw it.

A Sexist Message

The shirt in question was intended for young girls aged 7 – 16. It featured bright colors, hearts and cute little doodles. And it boldly proclaimed a message you wouldn’t expect to see from family-friendly J.C. Penney.

“I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

For people across the country, this message was loud and clear: who needs brains when you have beauty?

Public Reaction

J.C. Penney’s “too pretty tee” was only available online. It reportedly came with an equally appalling description: “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.” Apparently the shirt didn’t sell too well. The price quickly dropped from $16.99 to $9.99.

People who saw it were outraged. You just don’t expect that kind of sexism these days, at least not from a family-oriented retailer. Irate consumers quickly made their voices heard. They used social media as an outlet to express their disappointment and anger at J.C. Penney.

J.C. Penney Reacts

Not long after the complaints began, J.C. Penney pulled the shirt from their website. People are happy that it’s gone, but still wondering why it was ever available. In the hopes of smoothing things out, a company representative released the following statement of apology:

“J.C. Penney 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.”

What Do You Think?

How do you feel about this shirt? Was J.C. Penney far over the line, or is this just a harmless tee?

Some people publicly announced that they were incensed by this shirt and would never shop at J.C. Penney again. Only time will tell if the company’s apology will help prevent current customers from becoming former customers. Share your thoughts about this story in the comments section below, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders people search blog.

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