Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Things to Ponder

1. JC Penney pulled a young girl's shirt from their online store today . It says, in bubbly multi-colored letters "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me." You can see it here.

2.This product drew comparisons to another shirt, this one sold online (in junior's sizes) by David and Goliath.

3. A recently released study of two groups of people from rural India suggests that the math "gender gap"  is not biological, but nearly completely attributable to cultural differences. In the strictly patriarchal group, where women cannot own land, men completed block puzzles (linked to science and math abilities) 36% faster than women. But in the more gender equal group, "the difference between men and women was so small that it was not statistically significant."

4. This 2007 study suggests that women undergo physiological stress when faced with the gender imbalance of math, science, and engineering fields, fields in which men outnumber women 3 to 1.
Ponder away.


  1. As a female engineer, this hits close to home. I hadn't heard of those shirts, and just in time for back to school shopping. Sigh.
    In regards to identity queues mentioned in the 2007 study - many of the buildings that I had my math and science courses in only had one women's restroom in relation to the 4-5 men's restrooms. It was usually hidden way down a hallway too. In talking to one of my professors it was because they didn't build women's restrooms in the building (I think these are 1920's built buildings). Thinking that women would never be in there. I know it was a sign of the times, but it still left an imprint on me.

  2. I like math. I honestly wonder why somebody would buy their child of either gender a shirt implying that only non-pretty people should do math. Perhaps as a waitress people who can't add their total and their tip together are just trying to tell me that they are pretty?

  3. Ha! Maybe you can offer to do the math for them, as you wouldn't want to infringe on their beauty.

  4. I am so happy to see someone else post something about this shirt! I was outraged enough by this to feature it in a Smackdown on my blog:

    What disturbed me about this shirt - aside from the debilitating message - was the fact that women had a hand in approving it. I would have thought they would be the gatekeepers against such damaging high-context messaging to impressionable young girls...