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Monday, September 12, 2011

Girls Can Do Math, Too!

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

It just doesn't add up
  • It just doesn't add up

It's been documented that more employed women have college degrees than men, so perhaps it is fair to assume that girls don't think math is that complicated.

Which is also why some people are getting fired up over Forever 21's latest line of girl's T-shirts. The adolescent clothing shop released its "Allergic to Algebra" shirts just in time to be part of the back-to-school wardrobe.

But this message is perpetuating a stereotype -- that girls are dumb, and the girls who aren't dumb should play dumb.

Some 270 people have already signed a petition asking the company to remove the T-shirts from the stores.

According to the petition:

This is similar to Mattel's "Math Is Hard" Barbie, or JCPenney's recent "I'm Too Pretty For Math, So My Brother Has To Do It For Me" tee. Would these retailers ever consider selling "I Can't Do Long Division!" shirts for boys or men? Or "Proud to be Illiterate!" shirts for either gender? Simply put, "Allergic to Algebra" pushes an ignorant, sexist, and debunked trope about women and math that will not die so long as shirts like these are sold by major retailers such as Forever 21.
The t-shirt has created a great deal of Internet chatter after a Reddit user posted the following picture of the t-shirt with a handwritten message aimed to deter "smart" girls from buying the shirt.

click to enlarge So cool! - VIA REDDIT USE GRILLMEACHEESE

Petitioners are asking people to boycott Forever 21 (we never shop there anyway) until those sexist T-shirts are pulled from the shelves. Forever 21 has not said anything about whether it will remove the shirts.

If people start boycotting the store, who knows how that would hurt sales -- but we're sure the company has  plenty of competent women figuring out that math.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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