Posted at 01:17 PM ET, 09/12/2011

Forever 21 selling ‘Allergic To Algebra’ shirt (Update)


The “Allergic To Algebra” shirt revelation follows an episode in which JCPenney agreed to pull a sweater saying “I’m too pretty to do my homework, so my brother does it for me,” after an online protest. (Forever 21)

Update: Forever 21 has pulled the shirt from its Web site. Read a statement from the company below.

This post has been updated

Cheap clothing purveyor Forever 21 is selling a T-shirt to young ladies that reads, “Allergic To Algebra.” Here we go again.

A Reddit user posted a photograph of the shirt in a retail store, where one disgruntled shopper had tacked a note that said, “Smart girls are cool. Don’t buy this top.” Jezebel, the first news outlet to take note of the shirt, called the tee sexist and a “fail.”

This is the second sexist shirt discovery in recent weeks. JCPenney was forced to pull a sweater boasting, “I’m too pretty to do my homework, so my brother has to do it for me,” after mothers took to the Internet to show their displeasure with the message. New York activist Lauren Todd started a petition on Change.org, which garnered 1,600 signatures and prompted an apology from the company.

Similarly anti-learning messages are being sold in Forever 21’s main and girl’s sections: “School Is Fun ... When It’s Over” and “I [Heart] School ... Not”.

The graphic tees section does include at least one selection that has the opposite message. Young women can purchase a shirt that says “Mega Geek.”

Deciding what clothing items are sexist or not really depends on the limitations one puts on the word. While a shirt that implies that a girl’s looks are a substitute for basic education is clearly offensive, some would file 21’s Diet Coke shirt in the same category.

It is fair to say that there are men and women who dislike math and enjoy a calorie-free beverage. Still, none of the shirts mentioned in this post are being targeted at or sold to men.

But as the JCPenney example proved, it only takes one person voicing their opposition to messages like this to make a change. BlogPost’s Melissa Bell spoke to Todd, the woman who started a petition to protest the “Homework” shirt.

“You can’t tackle an issue like sexism in one blow,” she said. “You have to start pointing out examples … attacking the individual issues.”

It seems that Forever 21 has heard the criticism. The company pulled the shirt from its Web site. Linda Chang, a senior marketing manager, told ABCNews.com in a statement, “Our merchandise is intended to appeal to all audiences, not to offend them.”

“We would like to apologize to our customers as our intent was not to discredit education and we are taking the proper actions necessary,” the statement said.

By  |  01:17 PM ET, 09/12/2011

 
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