Wet Seal "Too Pretty For Homework" T Shirt Is Igniting A Sexism Debate Across The Internet

When will fast fashion retail giants learn that t-shirts emblazoned with racist, sexist, or just generally bigoted statements are simply never going to make the cut? We've seen our fair share of these chauvinistic tops over the past few years, but the latest to hit the racks is Wet Seal's "Too Pretty To Do Homework" t-shirt. If that tagline and the outrage it insights sounds a little too familiar, that's because JCPenny was thoroughly criticized back in 2011 for an identical top that went even farther by suggesting, "my brother has to do it for me."

JCPenny, however, later apologized by saying, "We agree that the 'Too pretty' t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale."

While the shirt might seem harmless to many, it's exactly this type of ingrained, seemingly innocuous sexism that women need to be fighting against. Associate professor of sociology at Occidental College, Lisa Wade, seconded that opinion when she spoke to HuffPost in December, saying:

[Children] learn their gender identities are very relevant and they learn that there’s a lot of very complicated rules about how to be a girl or a boy, and they’re at that stage of life where they’re trying to learn the rules. Young girls do learn that what they look like is very, very important and that does have impact in what they value and what kind of decisions they make and who they think they are.

When we allow young girls to wear t-shirts such as this one, even if they're ostensibly lighthearted and joking, we reaffirm the messages of society's shallow valuation of women. We teach young girls that they should only aspire towards vanity because that's all they'll ever be rewarded for. Fighting against tops like these may only make a small difference to a handful of people, but the less of this type of rhetoric we see in the world, the better a place it will be.

Bustle has reached out to Wet Seal for a response, but has yet to hear back from them at the time of publication.

Image: Wet Seal