Jimmy Kimmel's Back-to-School Prank Relies on Gender Stereotypes and Homophobia

Jokes about boys wearing girls clothes and "I'm so gay" t-shirts aren't funny.

Having a fresh outfit for the first day of school is a must, but what would you do if your parents suggested you wear something incredibly embarrassing instead? Catching the horrified reactions of kids being presented with terrible outfits on camera was the premise behind a recent prank from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, "Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Got My Kid a Horrible Back-to-School Outfit."

Like most Kimmel pranks asking parents to send in video of their kids' reactions to "terrible, out of style, or embarrassing back to school outfits,"it straddled the line between cruelty and comedy. But the montage of submitted videos, which Kimmel aired on his show Tuesday night, dived deep into the murky waters of gender and homophobic stereotypes.

During the four-minute video, we saw several moms handing their sons outfits our society deems unacceptable for boys to wear. "What boy would have flowers on their shirt?" one youngster asked after seeing what his mom had picked out. "Even the teacher would probably laugh at me."

It’s proof that for every parent who supports their child's desire to wear clothing that doesn't adhere to our rigid gender norms, boys dressing up in girls clothing is still a punch line—one dad even asks if Kimmel’s going to be paying for a psychiatrist for his son. No wonder the boy figures he'll be mocked.

Then at the 1:52 mark an upper elementary-school aged boy is shown wearing a shirt with a rainbow on it that says "I'm So Gay I Shit Rainbows." The confused boy says he thinks it's inappropriate for school and he might get detention. The audience, predictably, erupted into hysterical laughter. But, as the blog Towleroad points out, "is the point here that it would be 'horrible' for the kid because so many are bullied for being gay, or are gays the actual punchline? The point here would seem to be the latter, but maybe watching too many anti-bullying videos has made me lose my sense of humor."

On Kimmel's YouTube channel the video has been set to private and is no longer available but a little digging on YouTube turns up the video submissions. Watching it is pretty cringe worthy:


It's tempting to say it’s all just a joke and folks shouldn't be so sensitive but while these kinds of stereotypes are good for a low brow laugh, the consequences for bullied kids are all too real. Indeed, perhaps viewers sent in a deluge of complaints on Wednesday or someone at the Kimmel show or ABC realized that the prank clips are pretty offensive. We shouldn't laugh at stereotyping that ends up hurting kids. Good for them for taking it down.


October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less

Since normalizing relations with Communist China back in 1979, the U.S. government and its companies that do business with the country have, for the most part, turned a blind-eye to its numerous human rights abuses.

In China's Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, it's believed that over a million members of its Uighur population are being arbitrarily imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps. Female Uighurs in detention are being given forced abortions and subjected to sexual mistreatment.

Keep Reading Show less

The vaping epidemic is like a PSA come to life. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and illnesses has affected people from across 46 states. More than 800 people fell ill, and at least 17 people died from vaping. In Illinois and Wisconsin, 87% of the people who got sick said they used THC, and 71% of people also said they used products that contained nicotine. Symptoms of the illness included coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. We finally might now why.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic believe toxic chemical fumes, not the actual chemicals in the vape liquid, might be the culprit. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents," Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in release.

Keep Reading Show less