Thursday, September 01, 2011

Gotta Love The Internet

Yesterday Jezebel ran with a story about girl's t-shirt. Normally t-shirts aren't all that newsworthy, certainly not on a feminist leaning website like Jezebel.  But this t-shirt was speical. It was being sold by JC Penny for girls between the ages of 7 and 16. As you can see below the t-shirt reads: "I'm too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me."

I'm not going to go into all the problems with this message. If you can't see them for yourself I strongly suggest you get back in your time machine and head back home to 1952 where the world will make sense to you again.

No, this blog is about what happened next. See, I didn't find out about this from Jezebel directly. I found out about it through Twitter. It was the first post I read yesterday morning...actually several people I follow had Tweeted about it including Avon Books who Tweeted the link along with the note: "The #AvonEditor just screamed a little." Of course I retweeted the article and then I headed over to Facebook and posted about the t-shirt there (yes, it pissed me off THAT much).  Soon others had reposted the link to the article.

By the end of the afternoon JC Penny issued a statement saying that they were no longer going to sell the t-shirt and that they agreed it "dose not deliver an appropriate message."

Now if JC Penny really had a problem with the message they wouldn't have developed and sold the product to begin with. It's their private label after all and they certainly can't claim that it slide in under the radar; not when they had a whole webpage ad for the tee with the pithy little logline: "Who has time for homework when the new Justin Bieber album is out?"

No, what they had a problem with was the immense negative publicity that was being generated and it was being generated at the speed of light...or at least the speed of a high speed internet connection.

It reminded me of what the internet has done for us. Yes, it has made porn more accessible, it has sucked up our time, and it has made it WAY too easy for us to check up on our exes. But it has also made it incredibly easy for individuals, regardless of their income level or power status within the corporate or political world, to effect change at a rapid rate. This was all about a silly t-shirt, but if it wasn't for Twitter, Facebook and the each person's ability to comment on JC Penny's site, that t-shirt would still be being sold and a handful of girls would have gotten the message that being smart is for ugly people and our world would be just a little bit worse. That didn't happen because enough people cared enough to speak up quickly and thanks to technology JC Penny heard us and responded just as rapidly.

So yes, some bad stuff is generated through the internet but on a whole it really has helped to make our world a little prettier...and a lot smarter.

Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis


Terri Osburn said...

I saw this light up twitter yesterday but was a little too busy to catch all the details. I did know they agreed to pull it by the end of the day. This is a benefit of social media. It's not always used for good, but it makes me happy when it is.

I'd love to know the thinking behind these shirts. WHO would come up with this and think it wouldn't be a problem???

Leslie Langtry said...

Clearly, an idiot came up with these shirts. I can't stand seeing sixth graders in playboy bunny gear.

kyradavis said...

The Playboy Bunny gear foe kids is simply NOT OK. As for this tee...well my first thought was that JC Penny must not have ANY female executives in product development because I just can't see a woman, let Alina CAREER woman green lighting this

catslady said...

This even made CNN news today. Let's hope they learned a good lesson!!