I’m too pretty to put up with this nonsense

Jen from epbot (and Cake Wrecks fame) has a post up about this t-shirt

I'm too pretty to do math (t-shirt)

I'm too pretty to do math (t-shirt)

As a woman with a math degree, I know a whole lot more about math than the company making the shirt, and I can tell you right now that if prettiness has any correlation with math ability, it’s probably not the stereotype you’re expecting. (The research I linked there is a whole other kettle of fish, but it was too funny not to use in context! Edit: see comments for why you shouldn’t take that research seriously.)

The company is already known for copyright infringement, which makes me wonder if they ripped this design off from someone else who wants to reinforce ignorant stereotypes. I weep for the world, although there’s some consolation that at least this rag is on clearance so maybe no one was willing to buy it ever.

Jen has some suggestions of better mathy shirts on Epbot: Too Pretty To Do Math?!. So in the spirit of sharing neat mathematical designs, here’s the necklace I’ve been coveting… a beautiful honeycomb design that doubles as a hex wrench from Blend Creations, a company run by fellow geek woman Vivian Cheng who I got to meet at a Girl Geek Dinner once. How cool is that?

Honeycomb Necklace from Blend Creations

Honeycomb Necklace from Blend Creations

Infinitely better than that ignorant t-shirt. Share your own math-positive stuff in the comments!

18 thoughts on “I’m too pretty to put up with this nonsense

  1. Dorothea

    Holy wow that necklace is brilliant!

    Could the designer be talked into making bike-multitool jewelry? Bike multitools are ugly. I bet she could improve on them. A lot.

    1. Liza

      That was my first thought, too–especially an allen wrench the right size for adjusting my bike seat’s height. :)

    1. Terri

      I figured when it was clearly not intended in seriousness, there wasn’t much harm in linking to research I assumed was entirely dubious — but I hadn’t made the connection as to who the author was (I’d seen that story some time before his latest fiasco at Psychology Today). I’ll leave the link, but edit in a note telling people to see here about why they shouldn’t put any stock in the research.

  2. Vivian

    Hi Terri! Thanks for the mention of the necklace :)
    (I was checking our analytics and say the link!)

    @Dorothea — You’ll be happy to know that we’re in the ideation phase for a bike multi-tool. Fingers crossed, we’ll come up with something that’s both pretty and functional.

    1. Angel H.

      Remember those nasty “Who needs credit cards when you have Santa?” panties Wal-Mart advertized for girls? :cringe:

    2. Jon Niehof

      If they made ’em in my size, I’d be tempted. I suspect a 6’4″, 215 pound man wearing one (even better, to work) would undercut their message. Of course, that would involve giving them money

      1. Jon Niehof

        (As PZ points out, “I can afford to use it ironically”–or have the privilege to.)

    3. laughingpanda

      Women who self identify as non feminist and feel entitled to special treatment from people who “are too ugly to do math”. I actually saw a college girl wearing one of these on my buss to work this morning, actually shes sitting 3 seats in front of me as I write this using the buss wifi.

      Personally I LOVE when people wear stuff like this to party’s, it advertises who I should AVOID talking too and generally I have a more pleasurable socializing experience by ignoring them ;)

    4. John

      I naively assumed, at first sight, that it was for female maths professors to wear ironically while lecturing; but IRL that’s probably currently a smaller market than these companies would try to serve.

      The nearest male equivalent that I could find looks like a good one to wear ironically, but perhaps that’s easier for men right now. (Might make a good double irony for female philosophy professors, perhaps?)

  3. mixdev

    I thought the wordings meant that

    1) She is very pretty
    2) So she doesn’t need to know math to impress others.
    3) She isn’t those weirdo geek types.

    So it is a mix of self esteem and sarcasm which make some people look approachable to certain other set of people. In this world publicity is everything – to get laid or to sell a T.

    Having said that, it is of course an insult to people who know math. It is more of an self respect issue than a feminist issue IMHO. As a man, I would have thought bad about a T that says “I am too handsome to know JavaScript” =D.

    1. Kim Curry

      Actually, I do consider it a feminist issue. Body image is a big deal for women. Reference the videos on “Killing us Softly,” this blog post:


      and, for that matter, the posts here about photography at events.

      Many women are socialized to a false dichotomy, that they can be either smart or beautiful, but not both. Maybe someday I’ll feel up to writing a post about choosing to be smart.

      I know there are women, even women here, who choose to dress smart & stylish. Maybe I’ll figure out how to do that. But being heavy & frumpy can be protection against some of the negative attention out there, can encourage people to be interested in what I care about: my mind.

  4. Angel H.

    This reminds me of those “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Were Smart Like Me?” tees that came out when that Pussycats song was popular. I can’t find them anymore, though. :-(

  5. Aaron F.

    Paging through the David & Goliath web site, I didn’t see the shirt in question—maybe they’ve pulled it? But I’ve definitely seen a different version of the shirt sold by someone else, and it’s not clear who ripped off whom.

    (The other version I saw, by the way, was absolutely hideous. Too pretty to do math? Not while wearing that, you ain’t…)

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