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The "Dumb Woman" button

August 31, 2011 - Jennifer Brookens
"Someone hit your 'dumb woman' button, didn't they?"

It's a running joke in my family. If Jenn's growling about someone, it's likely they've hit the 'dumb woman' button. It's my ultimate pet peeve: because I was born with an X chromosome, someone automatically wants to deduct me of 50 IQ points. Talk to the mechanic, who asked me if I was sure I knew how to set my cruise control, then said maybe my husband should show me. Or the Wyoming politician who said I shouldn't worry my "pretty little head," about confirming his statements. He even tried to pat my head like I was a dog! And he wondered why his profile I wrote was less than flattering.

It doesn't have to be a direct insult of me to hit my 'dumb woman' button either, as was proven today as I was looking online and thinking of back-to-school clothes. I loved shopping at JC Penney when my daughter was a baby because they had cute little girl clothes. (Yes, I know that shows I'm not a complete raging feminist). But go into the girls' sizes, and they go from cute to trollop. Should girls in second grade really be wearing shorts with words like "cutie" or "flirt" written across the butt?! Then the shirt pictured here (which since has been pulled) confirmed all, with the saying, "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me."

GRRRRR! What kind of bimbo-esque, Paris Hilton worshiping, lights-are-on-but-no-one's-home nitwit thought this was a good idea for a little girl's t-shirt?!! Looking online and seeing comments from others, I was disheartened to see just as many saying, "Oh lighten up, it's tongue in cheek." Sure, a high school girl may "get" the tongue-in-cheek humor, but most little elementary girls don't get that yet. Anyone who spends time with young children knows how seriously they take things. Refer to an old saying like "skin a cat," and see the horrified reaction you get.

So take away the adult sense of humor on a kids' t-shirt and what you get is a dangerous message to girls in that awful stereotype of how it's more important to be pretty than to be smart. "That's right girls, don't think too hard because it causes your face to wrinkle. Just paint yourselves up, smile and nod at the boys, and then one will take care of you and you'll never have to think again." The "dumb Woman" button just got ratcheted up to an eleven on a scale of 1-10. I could go one further thinking of how that "pretty girl" t-shirt was probably sewn together by young girls in a third world country, earning only pennies a day.

I am glad JC Penney had enough sense to pull the shirt, but am disappointed that it made it past the marketing crew in the first place and it took a slew of public complaints to bring it to their attention. It also makes me realize why I do not shop for my children's clothing there anymore. Apparently, my blood pressure can't take it.

 
 

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