Petition Closed
Petitioning JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman and 1 other

Tell JC Penney and Forever 21: Pull Sexist Clothing Off Your Shelves

9,190
Supporters

Just this week, retailer Forever 21 began offering for sale a shirt for girls emblazoned with the slogan "Allergic to Algebra." And a few weeks ago, JC Penney offered similar girls' shirts with the slogan "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me."

Sexist slogans like these play into and perpetuate the incorrect stereotype that women are innately bad at math or being pretty is more important than being smart. By selling these shirts, the stores give their implicit support of these stereotypes to convince girls that, to be stylish and fit in, they must be bad at math or less interested than boys in academic achievement. Slogans like these are also harmful to boys and reinforce with them the stereotype that they are innately better than girls when it comes to math or that a girl's worth comes only from her looks.

After backlash from outraged customers, the both shirts were pulled from the shelves and online stores. But how did the sexist shirts get there in the first place? Clearly, something is totally broken within the corporate culture of these retailers. There is no effective review process for the clothing sold at JC Penney and Forever 21 if offensive clothing like this that demeans young girls makes it to their shelves.

Tell the CEOs of JC Penny and Forever 21 that you will hold them accountable for the clothing that is sold in their stores. Demand they make a public commitment to keep sexist clothing for girls from making it to their shelves in the future.

These retailers are clearly sensitive to public pressure, as evidenced by how quickly they pulled the shirts after a public backlash arose. But that's not good enough. We must pressure JC Penney and Forever 21 to make the changes necessary at corporate headquarters to ensure sexist shirts like these never even come close to making it to the shelves.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people at JC Penney and Forever 21 encountered these shirts before they were made available to the public. Why didn't employees of these retailers at some point say, "Hey, are we really going to sell shirts to young girls that say 'I'm too pretty for math' or 'Allergic to Algebra'"?

It's obvious that these shirts perpetuate offensive and harmful stereotypes about the ability of women to achieve academically relative to men. Of course, many studies have confirmed that these stereotypes are baseless, and that women's minds are just as well suited to performing academically as men's.

But, because popular culture is so powerful, many women and girls will conform to negative stereotypes of what a woman is supposed to achieve if they are continually reinforced. Stores like JC Penney and Forever 21 help shape that culture through the clothing they sell.

It's clear that these stores listen to public pressure, but we must pressure JC Penney and Forever 21 to take concrete steps to ensure that clothing this sexist never even comes close to making it onto shelves again.

Tell the CEOs of JC Penny and Forever 21 that you will hold them accountable for the clothing that is sold in their stores. Demand they make a public commitment to keep sexist clothing for girls from making it to their shelves in the future.

Letter to
JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman
Forever 21 CEO Do Won Chang
Clearly something is broken if your companies are marketing shirts to young girls that read 'Allergic to Algebra' or 'I'm too pretty to do homework.' You pulled those two products from the shelves after outraged customers complained, but you need to go further and make a public commitment to improve your review process and ensure you never again stock clothing for girls featuring sexist and demeaning slogans.