Words Mean Things III

Over the course of some Memorial Day morning bargain-hunting, I came across this magnet for sale at my local Five Below store:

In the last “Words Mean Things” installment, I wrote about the unintended signals our words sometimes send.  At least this magnet doesn’t have that problem.

I debated saying something to the staff or manager in the store, but I realize that they most likely have zero input into or control over what stock is sold, and it would be a waste of time and energy for everyone involved.

On the other hand, I think a letter to corporate may be in order.  If you’d also like to share your thoughts on this merchandise with the management of Five Below, you can send a message to their corporate office in Philadelphia or contact them through Facebook.


  • Last year, a coworker had some family friends visiting from France, and their teenage boys really wanted to see what high school was like in America, so she brought them in to follow various teachers for a day. On their way back to her house, she asked them about their experiences. For the most part, they enjoyed themselves, but one of the boys had a question for her: “why do American girls act so dumb?” Apparently, he had overheard several girls throughout the day sound perfectly intelligent when they didn’t think anyone was really paying attention, but the moment they had to speak up in class, they changed completely. As a teacher, I’ve seen it many times, and it always baffles me that girls would sell themselves short like that. I just don’t understand why attractiveness is linked to being ditsy but desirable and being smart is seen as a flaw. What a shame that we sell those messages to kids, and worse, that some girls will proudly display magnets like this on their lockers because they think that embracing this message is funny or cool.
    Cathy´s last blog post ..What I See

  • I don’t understand either, but maybe we’re not meant to. I would love to hear from some teenagers as to what makes this so desirable. Is it rebelling against authority? I’m sure in some alternate universe my 16-year-old self is snickering at my 33-year-old self for being such a square, but hey…

    I guess it bothers me even more as the parent of a girl. I am not one to let the TV raise my kids, and will do my best to instill what I think are appropriate values in my kids, but they are blasted by this stuff from all sides. I just hope I do a good enough job and that she’s strong enough to laugh this stuff off and not buy into it when the time comes.

  • The dumb blond archtype appeared in the early to mid 20th century…Coming from from Hollywood producers in the 1930s as part of the propoganda “backlash” against the Nazis who touted blond, blue-eyed Aryans (whites) as the superior race..
    Not sure if Hollywood portrayed only females in this light — maybe so..

  • […] time I wrote one of these posts, girls were too pretty to do math.  I guess a lot has changed in the STEM world in the last two years, because now they get their […]

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