Have a daughter?

Then you’ll no doubt have an opinion about the webkerfuffle that arrived yesterday in which people took great exception to a T-shirt for young girls, from JC Penney, emblazoned: “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.”

I was in the disgusted camp, personally. Nothing like teaching girls that being considered pretty exempts you from intellectual work and/or means you’re not too bright. They get that kind of message too much as it is, starting with the onslaught of princess everything from age 0 on up. A very interesting posting about such matters came from Mom 101, and is well worth a read.

The thorny issues at stake are so wide-ranging I’ll leave others to pick through the details and the larger implications, but it certainly brings up lots of questions about gender roles. An interesting sort of counterpoint can be found in this posting, about a man’s embracing of his lack of traditionally manly habits and proclivities. The lack of even one of the stereotypes can occasion funny looks–my own utter disinterest in professional sports, for instance. I can usually catch a break because I played football in high school, but sports fans usually just go on nattering about some team or other, sure that I’ll eventually break, and admit to a thorough knowledge of whatever overpaid schlub they’re talking about. I’m never sure why this is. It’s the ultimate in social boredom.

Anyway–regardless of your views, it’s interesting to note the rapid response power of the Internet: from Facebook postings noting the JC Penney shirt to blog posts about it (including from Bill Childs, host of the River’s “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child”) to JC Penney apologizing and removing the shirt took remarkably little time.

James Heflin

Author: James Heflin

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