Plus one for those who enjoy gender stereotyping.
I can't even post a picture of this tee on my blog because it makes me so mad... Wildfox Couture has made a "Math sucks!" tee: http://instagram.com/p/N679hPuJC4/
If you post a comment about disliking their tee on instagram, chances are high that they'll delete it, so mostly positive comments are left on that instagram. Make of that what you will.
Wildfox Couture used to be one of my favorite brands. I was over the moon when they cast America's Next Top Model winner Nicole Fox in one of their campaigns. I have bought many of their clothes over the years, including several of my favorite pieces of clothing. However, after this debacle, I will no longer buy from this brand because I now associate Wildfox Couture as a brand that demeans learning. In fact, since their clothes are bought and worn predominantly by women (a fact I will stand by until their product statistics show otherwise), I will go as far to say the message on this sweater demeans women.
I understand that people have subjects they like and hate. Personally, I don't like history. However, I would never wear a "history sucks!" tee, because I have the utmost respect and even envy for those who love history, like the fabulous Kate Beaton. Inevitably, those who like history would be offended by a "history sucks!" tee. Besides, it DOESN'T suck just because I don't like it! Sorry, just because you personally don't like something doesn't mean it sucks. It might be sad, but it definitely is true. Here is the message Wildfox is sending: "it's OK if you suck at ____ because it SUCKS! It's not that YOU, personally, are bad at it! No way! It's that ____ SUCKS!" This message is completely wrong. Ultimately, people need to take responsibility for themselves. If you are horrible at learning languages, it's because you are horrible at learning languages. It's not because language sucks.
In general, I wouldn't wear a message that insults the basis of entire vocations. Would you ever wear a "Teaching sucks!" tee? What about a "Dancing sucks!" message? Perhaps a "Museums suck!" or "Art sucks!" tee? You probably wouldn't wear any of these because you aren't an asshole.
Besides, math DOESN'T suck! Without math, we wouldn't have computers. We wouldn't have the internet. There would be no fancy smart phones. There wouldn't even be apps - try programming without using any math at all. It's damn near impossible. We wouldn't have better airplanes - did you know that complex analysis is used to model air flow around airplane wings? Honestly, as a scientist and a user of technology, I feel like "Math sucks!" tee is bullying me. I mean, geez, why don't they just tell me I suck?
To everyone who is considering buying this sweater: understand that you are promoting girls to not try at the subjects they like, and instead blow it off and say that subject "sucks". Understand that you are promoting the stereotype that girls are bad at math, science, and engineering by wearing "Math sucks!" on your chest. Understand that, without math, you wouldn't have technology, so you really think that "technology sucks!"
You might be thinking, "What's the big deal over a 'Math sucks!' sweater? It's harmless!" The point I am trying to make is ... it's not harmless. It's well-known and has been the subject of many studies: the stereotype threat keeps girls/women out of math and science. Marketing clothes for ladies (because, honestly, this Wildfox sweater is womenswear, not menswear) that say "math sucks!" implies that, if you're a girl, it's OK if you suck at math! Talk about perpetrating gender stereotypes.
For those who are wondering "What can I do?"
There are several things you can do! Here is a short list:
1) Contact Wildfox and let them know how you feel about "Math sucks!" Twitter: @WildfoxCouture
2) Contact retailers that sell Wildfox and let them know that it's important to you that they not stock "Math sucks!" Personally, I will be contacting Karmaloop, Revolve Clothing, Boutique to You, and Akira Chicago and asking them to please not stock products that encourage gender stereotyping and are socially irresponsible. At the current Olympics, Saudi Arabia sent two women for the first time in history. Why should we take a step back in terms of breaking gender stereotypes?
3) Write about it and tell your favorite fashion bloggers to write about it. Some might say that "All press is good press," but, unfortunately, companies won't realize that people won't put up with this shit if everyone stays silent.
*Warning* Following is a low blow:
I can't wait until the next installment of Wildfox clothing.
What will it say?
I'm betting on: "Using my brain hurts!"
Or, perhaps, "Learning is for losers!"
Maybe "My boyfriend does my homework!"
In all seriousness though, I hope they learn from their mistake.