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It starts early….

August 31, 2011

Why are sites like Women in Planetary Science and women-only scholarships still necessary?  Because society’s messages STILL tell girls that it’s not necessary to do well in school, that they’re not smart enough to do science, and that they’re “too pretty to do homework.”  Seriously — that’s exactly what the t-shirt below, on sale yesterday at J.C. Penney, says:

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

What does that tell our elementary-aged girls and middle schoolers, say, girls’ size 7-16?

Is that a message of equal opportunity?  Of encouraging girls just as much as boys?  Of saying that it’s cool to be smart and study?

Or does it instead tell them, just one time of many possible times over childhood and adolescence, that science is just for the boys and, ahem, not-as-pretty girls?

The message on that t-shirt is disgusting– and wrong.

Girls, you can be pretty AND smart.  You can.  And when you get your Ph.D. and go to work studying the solar system and wonders beyond, email me.  I’ll add you to our Pinterest board featuring over 350 women in planetary science.

"I'm too pretty to do homework"

Image from J.C. Penny’s website.  Read how the t-shirt was pulled from the store at

10 Comments leave one →
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  5. Raven permalink
    January 18, 2012 6:43 pm

    This is just another great example proving that we are far from the stigmas & biased thinking of many people who still believe that girls/woman are not as successful in subjects like science & math. But what is more insulting about the above T-shirt that many people are not realizing is that it insinuates that not only do “pretty girls” not do homework hence are not smart BUT they are clearly insinuating that girls that ARE SMART ARE NOT PRETTY! So they are insinuating and sending several messages at once and not one of them is a good one! I know several girls & woman that are not only highly educated, extremely intelligent but also are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!

  6. Michael Skurka permalink
    September 23, 2011 7:44 pm

    And some of us guys really do dig smart women! 🙂

  7. September 5, 2011 10:43 am

    Wow!!! The makers of that shirt should be ashamed. If they were paying any attention to schools, they would find that the girls are far better suited for homework and studying than boys in a traditional school setting.

    Girls keep learning and studying and remember that your beauty comes from the inside and not the outside.

  8. September 1, 2011 4:21 pm

    Glad to see the uproar about this shirt led them to remove it from their website. It’s definitely not a message we need to be sending to young girls! There’s also this terrible shirt that someone linked to in the comments section of the article (granted, it’s not being carried by a major retailer, but it’s still sad to see):

  9. Mamasmelodrama permalink
    August 31, 2011 7:45 pm

    This is why my alma mater staggered GEMS. Girls in Engineering Math and Science. At u of Illinois nerd chicks are hot.

    • August 31, 2011 11:19 pm


      At Georgia Tech, too, we all knew that studying came first – we wouldn’t have dreamt of this kind of thing! I know it’s just marketing and cutesy, but it’s time that we stood up and said THIS IS NOT CUTE.

      It isn’t. It’s our future.

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