jc penney – best subjects t-shirt

This T-shirt was sold by J.C Penney, a mid-range American retailer, on its website in 2011. The text on the shirt reads “My best subjects” with a checklist including boys, shopping, music and dancing. There was some public backlash against the shirt, as critics argued it suggests that girls are more interested in and more successful at frivolous social activities as opposed to traditional academic subjects. However, the shirt it continues to be available for sale. By contrast, another J.C. Penney shirt — “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” — was pulled by the retailer after a negative public response.


Consider the list of ‘subjects’ that were featured on these shirts? Why do you think these subjects were selected? Who was JC Penney marketing to?

What stereotypically masculine subjects might feature on a boy’s version of this shirt? Would you have a problem with a male-oriented version of the shirt? Why or why not?

Our Funders