WTF? Friday: J.C. Penney and the Terrible Tween Girl Tee Shirt

By September 2, 2011Media, Public Relations

You probably saw this one coming as today’s WTF? Friday topic. J.C. Penney caught the wrath of the Internet this week when they marketed a shirt to tween girls that said, “I’m too pretty to do homework.” The Twitteverse, in particular, was aflame with demands the sexist tee shirt be withdrawn (it was).

I think J.C. Penney handled the mistake (which, granted, should not have happened in the first place, but that’s the definition of a mistake, right? Also, some buyer probably just gotI'm too pretty to do homework JC penney tshirt fired) pretty well and a review of their engagement in the social space reveals some good interaction. They apologize, they fix problems when they arise and they celebrate the good feedback.


‘Spokesperson Ann Marie Bishop told ABC News: “We’ve immediately discontinued sales of that T-shirt. It was only online … We agreed that the shirt does not deliver an appropriate message.” ‘

J.C. Penney is one of a few national retailers that really does a good job online. If you’ve sworn them off forever, reconsider. It was just a dumb tee shirt.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/jcpenney/status/106709373585330177″]


  • AshlynBrewer says:

    I love that J.C. Penney’s pulled the shirt and responded without actively shifting the blame. Users pointed out that the shirt sucks, they agreed, and now it’s gone. Behold the power of social media!

  • KenMueller says:

    @AshlynBrewer I agree, Ashlyn. They made a mistake, but at least have handled it fairly well after the fact.

  • MrBallentine says:

    I agree that they handled the situation well. Mostly, it shows that they’re listening to their customers, which cannot be said for every business or large corporation. It’s a little concerning that it actually became an issue at all. I’m sure the shirt was supposed to be light-hearted in nature, and I find the backlash interesting. It’s to be expected when it comes to fashion, not that it makes it right or acceptable, but that industry seems to thrive off of controversy.

    What do you think of the latest racy, photo-shoot making light of domestic abuse with “Glee” star, Heather Morris?