Forever 21’s ‘Allergic to Algebra’ Shirt Joins Pantheon Of Sexist Discount Clothing [Update]


There’s a new sexist T-shirt for young girls in town, this one courtesy of fast-fashion mega-chain Forever 21. The store is offering a shirt that will accomplish two things: wear out within two weeks and also send a message to your daughter that because she’s female, she’s not very smart.

Unlike J.C. Penney’s entry in this field, Forever 21’s shirt is still for sale, though the website says it’s out of stock.

That means either someone at Forever 21 corporate wised up to how much of a shitstorm this will be, or people are buying the thing like mad. We’d like to think it’s the former, but suspect it might actually be the latter; if so, excuse us, we’re moving to a mud hut in the middle of the rain forest with an undiscovered Brazilian tribe. We’ve put in a call to a Forever 21 rep and will update if we hear back.

It’s not that it’s terrible for the shirt to refer to algebra! Algebra is a fact of life for middle-schoolers and remedial high-schoolers all over the place, male and female. But, it’s possible to include algebra in a slogan on a girls’ shirt without being a terrible misogynist. Suggestions:

  • Addicted to Algebra
  • Annoyed by Algebra, But That’s OK, Doing It Anyway
  • Improving at Algebra
  • Prefer Geometry to Algebra: Either Way, I Like Math
  • Doing My Algebra Homework For My Brother

Etc. Look, we’re not marketing wizards, we’re just trying to point out that there are ways that girls can be taught they’re not inherently bad at academics. Crazy, but true!

Update 8:55 a.m. 9/13/2011: Forever 21 sent us the following statement:

“Our merchandise is intended to appeal to all audiences, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers as our intent was not to discredit education, and we are taking the proper actions necessary.”

Whether they’re removing the shirt from stores wasn’t clear.

[] [@_rosiegray]

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