Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being Smart and Pretty

I'm reaching back into my picture archive (back and way back) for this post. I'm also going to nominate this picture for Megan and Keely's Remix Week Fashion Challenge, even though it's dreadfully late. I think it works pretty well for the day in which the challenge was to remix a summer dress for fall.

Summer Fall
dress — no label (Fair Trade store)
sweater — Amanda Smith (thrifted)
sandals — Born (DSW)
belt — (thrifted)

This dress is actually pretty easy to transition from the summer to the fall — just add a sweater, and it's pretty much good to go for those summery days that we still get in September. If I was to wear this later on in September or into October, I'd probably scrap the bare legs and wear colored tights and some type of closed shoe, styling it similar to the look that I wore here. I'm really excited that this blue — this cobalt blue — is one of the big colors for this fall, because I have a lot of it in my closet.

And for all you doubters out there who don't believe that I hang onto my clothes forever and ever and ever ... Here is proof positive. Here's a picture of me wearing the same dress for my daughter's graduation. (In fact, I bought it for that occasion.) Those of you who have been reading my blog may remember that my kids all graduated this year (you can read about it here), so you're probably thinking, "That's not that old!" BUT! I wore this when my oldest daughter's graduated from high school back in May 2005, which makes this dress over 6 years old.

I have another, more important reason, for dredging up this picture from the archives. Most people who know me probably consider me pretty outspoken and passionate when it comes to my beliefs — not just about politics, but really about everything. I struggle sometimes when I get into a heated argument, because it's pretty easy to push my buttons and I can end up saying things that I regret.

For the most part, I have tried to keep those tensions out of this blog. I needed some place where I could relax and be easygoing. I can't be serious ALL the time. But still I feel kind of strange sometimes because I wonder who is this person who is paying SO much attention to her clothes. But how do I bring up these more serious issues that really matter to me without losing the lighthearted and fun aspects of this blog.

Today, however, something came in my inbox that I felt that I had to take a stand on and address here. I was asked to sign a petition that was directed at the CEOs of JC Penney and Forever 21 telling them that I will hold them accountable for the clothing sold in their stores and and that they need to make a public commitment to keep sexist clothing for girls from making it to their shelves in the future. I signed that petition so fast it would make your head spin.

What was so bad that I wanted to take the chance of getting all heated up? 
These two T-shirts.

I was appalled and horrified to see them.

My daughter, a scant six years after earning her high school diploma, is now my doctor daughter — she graduated from pharmacy school this past May with a doctor of pharmacy degree. She is now doing a pharmacy residency, having turned down a very lucrative job offer to do so, and earning a teaching certificate at the same time. She is only 24 years old (she's not even old enough to rent a car yet), and she has the world at her fingertips.

She got where she is by doing her homework, and she will be the first to tell you that she did not have an easy time in high school. She worked her patootie off, and received very little recognition — in terms of grades or awards — for all her hard work. Until she went to pharmacy school, that is. And then her hard work paid off, and it paid off in spades.

I know these T-shirts were meant to be funny or cute. I know that. But they're not funny or cute, and I believe that they are even dangerous. In a world where women still earn less than most of their male counterparts, these T-shirts subtly (maybe not so subtly) encourage the mind set that girls shouldn't be smart, and they definitely shouldn't be smart in math or science. And these shirts are targeted to girls at an age where many drop out of those fields.

To be fair, the shirts have been pulled off the shelves, but how did they even get on the shelves in the first place?! In this day and age? Forever 21, I can almost understand. But JC Penney? C'mon. I dunno ... just when I think we're starting to get more enlightened, we go back to the dark ages.

You can read more about the controversy here and here.

To sign the petition holding the CEOs accountable, go here.


  1. I think the blue looks great on you! I'd keep wearing it till it was threadbare. I understand about the wondering, 'who is this person paying so much attention to the clothes.' I do it too. Great post about holding companies accountable. Good luck today!

  2. You are right -- those tees were very offensive. At least one of them was pulled by JC Penney, I heard -- partly because they were vilified by fashion bloggers! Power to the people!

    Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I think we ARE twins, because I wear favorite items for years and years, too. If I love it, it's staying in my closet for a long, long time. And that dress is a keeper! So versatile.

  3. First of all...I love this dress on you and the color is great!! Second...I have such outrage about girls trying to sound dumb...I have taught one or two very intelligent high school girls who thought they had to sound dumb in order to attract boys!! Drives me nuts!! I hope JC Penney's will be more responsible next time.

  4. You go, Kari! Petition signed, and sent on to my sisters who are moms of young girls. That kind of sexist nonsense is appalling. Pam - you go too! You're showing those young women that smart is cool.

    BTW, I love your blues : >

  5. Those t-shirts are really irritating. Your daughter sounds like an impressive lady!

  6. Wow! Love that blue hue. Thanks for the throwback. It's always great to dig through the old challenges, they're definitely still applicable.

    Go, Kari! I would have signed the petition. I'm all for the freedom of speech and will happily purchase nerd-shirts with bad nerd-jokes, but I would never want kids (or even adults) to walk into a store and feel degraded by the clothing they're expected to buy.

    I'm not math major - but I feel a personal satisfaction when I do work out a problem. I only wish I had been taught in grade school the way I have been in college. I probably would have ended up in medicine or in physics or something.

  7. Yeah for hanging on to the blue dress. How did the interview go today.

    I totally agree with you about the merchandise & sexism issue...though enrollment in many colleges shows that the majority of the degrees are going to women these days. smart girls are too smart to wear shirts like these.

  8. First - I love the dress on you! And it must be timeless because it doesn't look "out of style".

    And good for you for taking stance! I, too, got the same email and promptly signed the petition. It is a tragedy that these t-shirts would have gotten by ANYONE at those companies... and I'll bet at least one of the approvers was a female. A travesty of the social and ethical deterioration of our society. (WOW - I guess I really got on a roll there....but I believe it. We are losing sight of what is important!) Keep on speaking up, sister! I am right beside you.

  9. I also hope the shirts would not have sold...Terri is right! I think most girls are too smart for these--no escuse tho for the store.
    Love this blue on you--hang onto that!

  10. I totally agree with you about the T-shirt - completely inappropriate!

    Goodwill Huntingg

  11. wow congrats to your daughter! Great accomplishment. The dress still looks great 6 years later, love the color!


Thanks for reading. Honest opinions and constructive criticism are always welcome.

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