What does the JC Penney t-shirt debacle say about us?

I must admit that in the 80s, I thought the world was a pretty shallow place… at least the world I lived in.  But, this JC Penney “I’m too pretty to do my homework…” t-shirt is something else.  Loads of posts on Facebook, tweets, comments on blogs, etc. reflect the outrage and/or disappointment many feel in the retailer’s judgement to even sell such an article of clothing.

But, the folks at JC Penney didn’t intend to offend, nor were they ignorant of what the t-shirt said.  They were stocking their inventory with something they thought would sell.  And, what does it say about JC Penney’s opinion of today’s parents and daughters that they went to the trouble of putting this t-shirt in their line?  The prognosis — nothing good.

Obviously, stocking such a t-shirt was poor judgement.  I’m sure there are entire departments of individuals currently having a very bad day at JC Penney.  But, what made them hedge in the first place on the side of including this in their fall line?  I’m sure these decisions are not made lightly, and I can’t imagine that this didn’t catch the attention of at least someone of authority at JC Penney before this PR nightmare hit.

Fortunately, we have some outspoken consumers to set this retailer — and perhaps others — straight on this issue.  As much as some young girls like fashion and frills, they (nor their parents) are ready to give up the possibility that they might become neurosurgeons someday.  At least that’s the case for everyone who didn’t buy this t-shirt.  And I wonder how many did.

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3 thoughts on “What does the JC Penney t-shirt debacle say about us?

  1. I don’t think this shirt is any different than the Princess type shirts that have been going around for a while. I think it does go back to what happens in your home, what conversations are happening between parent and child. It is definitely a shirt that would be good for generating a conversation.

  2. I really do wonder how many of these they sold. It’s good that they didn’t talk about that in their response… better to let that be whether it was a strong seller or not. But, at some point, someone thought this shirt was ok.

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