Why You Should Buy (and Wear) The Children's Place's T-Shirt

Were you horrified at The Children's Place's anti-math girls' t-shirt? Maybe you should be, but not for the reason you think! http://mathfour.com/?p=10288Did you see The Children’s Place’s “Best Subjects” t-shirt?

Were you horrified?

If you were, you might have been horrified at the wrong thing.

We should be horrified – but at math classes!

Math classes are traditionally boring, frustrating, embarrassing and all around damaging to the soul. Precisely one of the reasons Paul Lockhart wrote his “A Mathematician’s Lament” (get the free pdf here).

The Children’s Place isn’t insulting women or girls – it’s (rightfully) insulting math classes!

I even hate math classes!

I’m teach classes that are jam packed full of algorithms and have a required-to-pass departmental final exam at the end.

My heart breaks everytime I force this stuff down students’ throats.

I do what I can (and am learning lots about how to manage it), but generally even my math classes are miserable.

I, also, would prefer classes in music and dance!

But math is promoted on the t-shirt!


Did you know there’s math in dance? The patterns, counting, transformations – those are all math things.

And music – again, patterns and counting – and lots of math songs!

And who can resist all the money math in shopping? You just can’t shop without doing math.

So if your best subjects are Shopping, Music and┬áDancing – then you’re pretty darn good at math!

Get the shirt – or make the shirt.

If you can’t get it (they’ve pulled it from the shelves), make a shirt that says, “I hate math class!” Wear it. Wear it to math class. Wear it as a teacher in math class!

It’s time to tell the world that math class should be beautiful, enjoyable and wonderful.

Just like music, dancing and shopping.

Thoughts? Share them in the comments

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11 Responses to Why You Should Buy (and Wear) The Children's Place's T-Shirt

  1. The shirt does not claim math class is boring it says the girl is not “best” at math. It also says she is best at shopping Shopping might be fun but it is not a thing to brag about being best at.

    This shirt will sell because of the notion that cool girls hate learning and hate math and are more about looks, fashion, and fun like listening to music and dancing. The is one cog in the wheel that seeks to raise girls who look down on learning and things like math as being non-important in life.

    Pathetic shirt.

    • The shirt says nothing about learning. In fact dancing and music are part of learning. And so is shopping.

      Kids learn all the time. Especially doing the things they love and feel they are best at.

      If math was engaging and caught their attention like music, dance and shopping (which it totally could), there would not be the original sentiment that sparks the creation of this shirt to begin with!

  2. Leapin’ Lizards, I love your perspective on things! I truly would not have seen the ironic ‘good’ in the message from my own narrow view. Btw, I hate shopping – the activity.

    • Yeah – I’m not much of a shopper, either, T. But I’m good when I’m with a real shopper. I follow along and do what they do… which is kinda like taking a shopping class!

    • I don’t care how much PR it gets, if the classes are still taught in a miserable fashion, kids still won’t like it!

      And I just can’t blame them.

  3. I’m not fully on the same page as you (I do think the shirt is damaging), but I love your perspective and how you bring about the idea of transforming it into a plug for math and math being interesting. Love your positivity! And the fact that you’re really thinking about this, not just being reactionary. ­čÖé

  4. I appreciate your alternative perspective. I also found the shirt offensive. I feel it perpetuates girls beliefs that they are not destined to be good at or enjoy math. A better shirt would say, “I work hard at dancing, music, and math” (check all that apply). And there are PLENTY of subjects out there that are “boring” for some: writing, language arts, for some it’s history… I am all for education reform and re-thinking how kids are taught. But to be good at dancing, singing, and music: you must practice (which can be boring, demanding and difficult). So why not practice math too?

  5. I couldn’t buy this t-shirt unless I got out a big tshirt paint tube and put a big-ass check next to math.
    My girlie LOVES math…thankfully, she got her great grandfather’s head for math (he taught it at NYU and wrote a textbook) and doesn’t even realize she is good at it as she loves drawing and dance too.

    Now if they made this for boys, and it said “soccer”, “music”, “minecraft” and “teasing my sister”, I could get it, because mine has to work at this new Singapore math they are teaching and there is much whining involved.]

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