Old Navy Tells Girls Not To Be Artists On Ill-Conceived Shirt

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Old Navy designs t-shirts for kids that remind them not to be artists

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be artists… That’s how the song goes, right? Old Navy advertised a t-shirt for kids that reminded them aspiring to be an artist was stupid and out-of-reach. They should try to be an astronaut or president instead. That’s great career advice, Old Navy.

Artists of the world are not happy.

Twitter brings up a fair point: who designs your clothes, Old Navy? Who designs your vast collection of graphic tees?

Twitter outrage works its magic quickly. The shirt has already been discontinued. Here’s an email to ArtNet News from a spokesperson for Old Navy:

At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks and dinosaurs and include phrases like, “Free Spirit.” They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores.

ArtNet points out it’s not the first time the company has been in the hot seat:”The company was slapped with a 2014 lawsuit alleging sexism and size discrimination for charging more for plus-size women’s jeans while charging the same price for men’s jeans of all sizes. Earlier this year,psychologists said that the company’s ‘boyfriend’ style jeans for young children and babies inappropriately sexualized young women.”

Yes, the internet outrage machine goes overboard sometimes, but Old Navy made a bad choice. The arts are a totally viable career avenue and the shirt is silly. Seems like they were going for an empowering message for girls — You can be the president! You can be an astronaut! — but they totally missed the mark with this one.

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