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Words Matter: Get This Disgusting Shirt Off the Shelves Now!

Photograph by Twenty20

Justice, the popular clothing chain found in malls around the country, has been a favorite among pre-teen girls for years. But now, a controversial t-shirt is causing an uproar among parents—and rightly so.

The "Positive Glitter Tee" is emblazoned with—you guessed it—glitter, and the not-so-positive phrase, "Happy girls are the prettiest."

Happy. Girls. Are. The. Prettiest.

Really, Justice? Really?!

This is gross. Just plain gross.

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The laughable description of the shirt reads, "Start the day off right with this tee boasting an empowering & positive message." "Empowering" is just about the last thing this shirt does.

Is it empowering to tell our daughters to base their self-worth on being pretty? Or to send the message that you have to be—and look—happy all the time for other people to value you?

This shirt also reminds me of a similar and equally offensive phrase, "You'd be prettier if you smiled more." Even a milder version such as, "Smile!" is total crap. Telling someone to rearrange their face to be more pleasing or attractive is not only harassment, it's sexist. Do we want to push those ideas on our kids?

These concepts are certainly not new to modern parents, and should be common sense by now for anyone who's in charge of designing anything. Clothing stores that cater to young children should be taking great pains to avoid messages like this. However, this issue continues to crop up despite blowback from basically everybody.

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People spend entirely too much time thinking about how women and girls present themselves. Whether it's talking, facial expressions, authoritativeness, how they look, dress, apply makeup... the list goes on. Even presidential candidates aren't immune. Hillary Clinton was chastised after one debate for not smiling enough, and subsequently called out in another debate for smiling too much.

So, Justice, cut the shit. While this is just one shirt out of thousands, you need to discontinue this item immediately and put out a better message for impressionable young people to pick up.

Because words do matter.

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