Lately it seems like there’s a controversial new shirt for children being produced every week, particularly shirts for girls.
The boom of inappropriate shirts has bothered me but I am also pleased by the immediate response of outrage by parents everywhere. It means we’re concerned and critically thinking about the messages being sent to our children.
However, unlike the ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels‘ shirt or the ‘I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother does it for me‘ shirt, the new ‘Allergic to algebra’ shirt being sold by Forever 21 isn’t really bothering me.
Sexism and eating disorders are one thing, but not liking math? Please. Maybe it’s because most people hate math. That’s no real secret. The shirt is just mildly funny to me, not controversial and harmful.
As Jezebel.com reports, “Forever 21 is giving you another chance to tell your daughter that you think she’s bad at math.” I don’t see it that way at all. I don’t think it signifies she’s bad at math at all. If the shirt said “Girls are allergic to algebra” that would be different. It doesn’t. It’s something someone who doesn’t dig math can choose to buy to express their opinion. At the very most it shows she doesn’t like math. Big deal. I HATE math. I hate math with the fire of a thousand suns and knew that I hated it from the moment I began memorizing the multiplication table in third grade.
First, I wouldn’t buy the shirt to give to my daughter. If we were at Forever 21, she saw the shirt, thought it funny and asked if she could get it I would probably buy it for her. Would I worry that wearing this shirt would intensify Violet’s hatred of math? Nah, I would make sure she recognizes the humor but also realizes that math is a crucial part of education. Basic math, that is. I’m still not sure why I learned -28×2 + 36x + 104 = 120. Honestly? Get the hell outta here with that crap! Seriously. Unless you want to be a physicist or whatever career will utilize quadratic equations. I firmly believe a class on financing, debt, credit cards and mortgages is WAY more practical for 90% of students.
What about you? Would you let your daughter wear this shirt? Do you think it’s inappropriate and harmful?
Are you transferring your fear of math over to your kids?