Being smart and being pretty are mutually exclusive, but being pretty is more important if you’re a girl, at least that what Wet Seal is selling to their female customers. This T-Shirt as seen above on Wet Seal’s website and instores below, was discovered by Misty Russo.
Misty Russo, who wrote Huff Post about the top she’d seen at her local Wet Seal store, said of the shirt:
My initial reaction was that of pure disgust … and disbelief. I immediately thought of a certain young, impressionable 12-year-old girl that I am a role model to, and how I would never allow her or a (future) daughter of mine to wear something like that …This type of message scoffs in the face of all the adversity women have faced not only here but internationally when it comes to seeking an education.
Society’s message that being attractive is better than being smart can be highly detrimental to young girls, according to Rebecca Bigler, professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas at Austin, who has studied the internalized sexualization of girls ages 10-15. She found that girls who believe being sexually attractive is an important part of their identity have less academic success and less motivation to succeed in school.
Speaking to Huffington Post, Bigler cited earlier studies that also found those girls to have lower self-esteem and fewer peer relations.
Boys are picking up cues from these T-shirts too, said Wade. They’re learning that “they should expect women to defer — to defer to theirauthorities, their careers, their aspirations.”
Gendered clothing teaches boys that they’re supposed to be tough, strong and smart like their dads, while girls are reduced to glitter-loving princesses who are pretty like their moms. Compare those two sets of traits, and you can see why boys might conclude that girls are lesser, Orenstein said. That’s why doing something “like a girl” is the classic insult that little boys hurl at each other.
Lets all pay attention next time we walk though the mall, and Target, Wal-Mart, etc.