Stop Putting Words on Girls Clothing

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Lately, clothing stores haven't had enough sense to discern the line between popular slogan and inappropriate saying, so we're suggesting they call the whole thing off. Today's victim: K-Mart. The big box retailer pulled a pair of girls underwear that had "I <3 RICH BOYS" front and center after an angry Twitter mob called the store out for obvious reasons. This is the third time this has happened in the last three months. That means, at least once a month a clothing chain is getting called out for its offensive girls apparel. We imagine there are probably other tasteless items going unnoticed by the Twittering masses as well as future items in the works, so we have a suggestion to make it all stop. 

All girls clothing-gates follow a similar trajectory: Someone on the Internet notices an obviously gross piece of clothing; the Internet freaks out via Twitter and the blogs; the store, bashful, removes that item from its stock. Rinse and repeat. It happened earlier this summer with a J.C Penney shirt that read "Too Pretty To Do Homework." The Internet and tweeters freaked out; an hour later the store announced it would pull the shirt. And the same thing went down with another long-sleeve with a "girls are dumb" message at Forever 21 in September. After Reddit posted a photo of an "Allergic to Algebra" tee, the fashion mistake was discontinued a day later. Today the very same thing happened with K-Mart's undies. 

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Of course, not all of the clothing is demeaning for the same reasons. They find so many ways to insult girls with words. Both the Forever 21 and J.C. Penney shirts drew criticism for convincing girls that looks trump smarts. And these "rich boys" undies suggest women, or well, in this case, young girls should trade sex for money. That's sleazy even for a grown adult woman. It's not really an excuse for the behavior, but with so many ways to be offensive with words on clothing, this will happen again. Another retailer will inevitably come along and slap another degrading saying on another item of clothing for another, different despicable for another reason. To avoid this whole mess, just stop with the words.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.