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Are Your Daughters Too Pretty To Do Their Homework?

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Are Your Daughters Too Pretty To Do Their Homework?

The world’s most offensive t-shirt reads, “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me.” The product description on JCPenney’s website says, “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”


With t-shirts out there spouting off things like “Future Trophy Wife,” “For Sale For 10 Karats,” and I’m Too Pretty For Math,” I have to wonder what has become of us.

I mean, my daughter is gorgeous. I mean totally flippin’ beautiful. So beautiful that modeling agents stop us in airports (and I kindly tell them she’s not for sale.) And my daughter is not just sweet, compassionate, sensitive, loving, and creative, she’s freakin’ awesome at math. At five, she’s already doing multiplication tables. And she loves doing her homework, even when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out.

What’s up with you, clothing retailers? As a parent, I struggle every day to raise my daughter with the message that her value lies within and has nothing to do with her stunning blue eyes, her California bronze skin, her slim body, and her long blonde hair. She gets enough messaging from strangers who come up to her in the grocery store and take photos of her on their iPhones in the lobby of the movie theater.

I am a beautiful woman who went to Duke University, graduated from medical school, and ROCKED calculus. I kicked butt on my SATs, graduated second in my class from med school, was nominated to the very exclusive honor society (beating out all the boys in my class for the most coveted leadership slot), and knocked my boards out of the park.

I’m pretty – and I did ALL my homework myself. So there.

And yet, when I met my former husband in medical school (who had to endure three years of failure before finally getting accepted into medical school – I got into six schools on my first try, thank you very much), his parents patted me on the shoulder when they met me and said, “You’ve landed a doctor now, honey. You can drop out now.”

WTF? I was a year ahead of him in school and top of my class! Not to mention I felt called to be a doctor. I was pursuing a life dream. I certainly didn’t apply to medical school just so I could marry a doctor. Needless to say, I had a rocky relationship with my ex-in-laws.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
1:16PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

Beauty is on the inside. Souls change, Shells do not :)

10:57PM PST on Dec 25, 2011

Beauty won't pay your rent unless you're a prostitute.

11:46PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

I must disagree with Hugh Mcintyre. So many things in our society are passed off as "just as joke," and yes, they may be intended as jokes, but they spawn unconcious stereotypes all the same, which reinforces the cycle of unbalanced privilege. In sociology it's called micro-aggression. And it's really not excusable.

10:09PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

The title of this article is truly misleading. I'm so glad. Physical beauty if far over-rated, and become something of a goal in American society. Inner beauty and integrity is what's necessary to cultivate. And by inner beauty I'm talking about compassion, character, and a humble feeling of self-worth. Physical beauty fades. Inner beauty can be cultivated throughout an entire life.

3:34PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

He he thanks for the article.

5:15AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Thanks for the great article! I totally agree.

Hugh, I know people have different senses of humor and if this was marketed to college students it would be one thing, but it was aimed at young impressionable girls who don't necessarily have a good sense of themselves yet. Personally I wouldn't agree with the message or find it amusing no matter who wore it, but I'm sure there are people who would and, like I said, if it was aimed at someone a litter older that wouldn't be a problem.

Another thing I find particularly horrible about this shirt is the question of who was supposed to buying these? I mean, I certainly didn't go out clothes shopping by myself when I was 9. So in theory parents were supposed to buy these for their daughters. What kind of message does that send to kids? Your mother thinks you're stupid so you'd better put on some makeup so you can marry a rich husband?

6:57PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

it is just a joke, don't get too upset about it...

10:41AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Luckily, this shirt was banned....

9:59AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011


10:42AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Leah C, I don't think the article is necessarily talking about removing the T-shirt, and certainly the only way to make sure that your child isn't influenced by this kind of thing is to make sure that you raise them with those values. However, the message on the T-shirt is wrong, and although we can't ban everything, we can express our dislike for such messages and hope that those who we don't raise can become more aware.

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