Gender prejudiced T Shirts of 2011 and 2012

Gender prejudiced T Shirts of 2011 and 2012

In 2011, Zazzle were banned from selling “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” T-shirts to girls as young as ten. We showcase some of the ‘best’ gender prejudiced T shirts from 2011 and 2012.

2011 was the year of the gender prejudiced T-shirt. Women were encouraged to think thin and pretty, not smart. Men were encouraged to hand women their washing. Just a few T-shirts, a few stupid words, but it all adds up. 2011 was also the year of groundroots activism – brands and stockists like Topman, Zazzle and JCPenney pulled their gender prejudiced T-shirts after Twitter tsunamis, online campaigns, media coverage… and even humble post-it notes stuck to offending items.

It was good, because this thing is now very much in the public eye, and people are increasingly aware that if they see a foul message slapped on a T-shirt they can do something about it. But there’s always that one clothing label that mistakes overt gender prejudice as a nice bitta irony, innit.

2012 is already seeing fatuously gender prejudiced clothing being found, campaigned against and pulled. So it does pay to keep your eyes open, and maybe gender prejudiced T-shirts being stocked in mainstream stores for not only adults but kids as young as 7 will, finally, become a thing of the past.

1. Gender prejudiced washing label in Madhouse chinos

In March 2012, beige chinos were found in Madhouse’s London flagship store with label of washing instructions with the addendum “or give it to your woman, that’s her job”. WTF, guys? WTF. Even though it’s not the 1950s, there is still a deep-rooted gender divide over cleaning and housework, with many women feeling it is their responsibility to do the cleaning or it won’t get done. Give it a few decades and maybe then it’ll be harmless irony. Not yet, though.

2. Pro-ana slogan found on Zazzle T-shirts for 10 year old girls

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels…

The infamous statement by Kate Moss has been used as a pro-anorexia call to arms, and in summer 2011 the Zazzle website were banned from selling these £14 T-shirts created by US-based label Teen Modelling for girls as young as ten. Zazzle responded to complaints by removing the offending slogans.

3. Jay Jays Little Losers range for tweens

Aussie company Jay Jays came under fire when they came up with their Little Losers range of T-shirts aimed at tweens and up. Actually, this may have happened in 2008. Ever since Doctor Who invited us into his TARDIS for a couple of episodes, time’s been a little fuzzy round the edges.

4. “I’m too pretty to do homework” T-shirts for 7 year old girls pulled by JCPenny

In summer 2011 JCPenney pulled their “I’m too pretty to do homework so I get my brother to do it” range of T-shirts after complaints. The T-shirts, with a size range of girls between 7 and 16, were accompanied by the following online ad copy: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is”.

A massive fail, obviously. In 2012 JCPenney are sticking to slogans like “Glamour Girl”, “I Love Nerds” and “Daddy’s Girl”, so we’d like to say they’ve upped their game, but… shakes head.

5. Reddit editor spots “Allergic to Algebra” T-shirt by Forever 21.


In 2011, the slogan “Allergic To Algebra” was brought to us by Forever 21. A reddit editor initially found the T-shirt and snapped it, and someone had already stuck on a little post-it note saying “Smart girls are cool. Do not buy this top”. This kind of ground-roots activism is awesome. It’s not defacing the gender prejudiced T-shirt in question, so no legal hoo-ha for the activist, but it’s definitely getting the message across. If you see a similar T-shirt, you can’t beat an online campaign and talking to the stockist in question, either.

Incidentally, if you are genuinely allergic to alegbra, probably in a manner related to the brackets found in quadratic equations, you will no doubt genuinely appreciate this top.

6. Waving goodbye to gender prejudiced Topman T-Shirts

In September 2011 these gender prejudiced Topman T-shirts were stocked and promptly pulled following a massive collective online gasp of horror.

Gender prejudiced clothing may seem easy to ignore and file under “wishes it was funny, but isn’t. Ah, well.” However, gender divides and overt sexualisation do creep into our culture from a very young age. Abercrombie and Fitch constantly bring out unsuitable clothing for children, including their thongs with “wink wink” and “eye candy” slogans, their push-up bras (yes, really) and their T-shirts saying “who needs brains when you’ve got these”?. Let’s not forget that Target sold Bratz-themed padded bras to toddlers.

When it comes to commercial ventures pushing gender prejudiced messages onto kids from an early age, toys can be as breathtakingly off-key as the clothing slogans. In 2011, feminist blogger Laura Nelson did fantastic work in getting Hamleys to address their all-pink signs for the girls’ toys sections. In many ways, the Monster High doll collection by Mattel is pretty cool, but it’s a shame that Clawdeen Wolf – a doll aimed at 7 and up – lists her hobbies as “plucking, waxing and shaving”. Yes, we get she’s a werewolf, but still.

The Catholic order of the Jesuits are attributed to say “give me a child before he is seven and I will make him mine for life”. If gender prejudice had a voice it would say the same thing.

Sex sells, but words count and clothing matters. You’d never put gender prejudiced sillies on your T-shirt. Let’s hope 2012 is a better year for this sort of nonsense than 2011…

Miss Tease T-shirt for tweens from the Little Losers range