Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Just Say No

I have this thing about little girl clothes.
I can’t stand most of them.
This past weekend I went to mecca – Babies R Us – for the first time ever to buy a monitor. I did my tour around the store and saw some cute shirts for little boys with "Surfer" on them. But on the little girl side of the store, the pepto-pink -- God everything there was so pink -- shirts read simply, "Surf Club." The message was subtle but clearly there: as a girl, you are not a surfer. You are just part of the club. On the sidelines.
We’ve all seen Blue Crush, right? We know that girls surf. I have no doubt that my daughter will surf one day.
Apparently the product line managers, graphics designers, merchandisers and buyers who source the little girl stuff are from the backwaters, where girls still sit on the beach and don’t surf. I am ashamed that most of these people in charge now are of my generation (X) and were lucky enough to grow up with Title 9 and everything else that girls can do now.
Same thing goes with the appliqued onesies that read, "Daddy’s Princess," or "American Sweetheart," or "Beauty Queen" (I swear I just saw a shirt like this today in size 0-3 months at Target – sick I tell you!).
You don’t find little boys’ t-shirts that say, "I give out hugs and kisses." In my view, by putting these slogans on a little girl, we are enforcing the stereotype that a female is only valued if she is affectionate. Only if she uses her little body does she gain favor with others.
Using cheesy onesie logic to explain it: if Missy is a princess, that makes me the queen. And the queen says no apparel that subjugates females will be worn in her household.
As such, I have two (!) bags full of onesies, dresses, etc., thoughtfully given to us by well-meaning neighbors and relatives that I simply won’t ever put on my child. They are headed for Goodwill. Tags still on them.
Shame on Babies R Us and Targets of the world for sourcing these stereotypes of little girls. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the consignment stores and boutiques to look for more appropriate clothing for my daughter.
I know I probably shouldn't even be bitching about this. That I should consider myself lucky to have the privilege to buy such clothes. But is this seriously the kind of world we want for our daughters?


E said...

i am SO with you on this! i hate those stupid clothes. why is the text even necessary?? i just got back from baby gaap and there is a buttload of supercute/non-offensive stuff on sale there!

Waiting Amy said...

Yes, yes, yes. I hate that!

Okay Ms Planner, aren't you the one with sales/merchandising background or some such? When are you starting the business with those inspiring onesies? Please save the rest of us!

Newt said...

Amen, sister. I was just telling my Mom that if Yoshimi really is a girl, I won't have any of this junk scrawled across her little belly.

Somebody really should start a business with better girl clothes! I would shop that in a heartbeat!

christina(apronstrings) said...

SING IT SISTER! it kills me. and SOME of them even have sexually suggestive sayings.
and WAIT until halloween.
and you know-it hasn'r always been like this. in most of my baby pictures i am not wearing pink. WHAT happened?

Caro said...

I hate that the shops are totally separated into blue and pink. If T had been a girl I totally would have bought some dye to change the colour of any pink stuff we were given.

Carrie said...

I like girls in pink! Really, I do. Not exclusively but I do like it. Sorry!
I absolutely agree about the slogans and some of the designs. I think it is the saddest thing when tiny little girls have outfits that are cheap and tarty. Just so very sad.

robin said...

Say it like it is!

I have a little boy, but I too resent the early gender conditioning. I'm up to my eyeballs in blue.

I think it's up to us new mamas to help expand the dichotomy, eh? Kudos to you.

Wordgirl said...

OH Ms Planner - terrific post.

I often wonder, lapsed feminist that I am, how I would negotiate this world -- and I was shocked in parenting W how easily I got sucked into the gender indentification vortex -- X often says that she's annoyed when people always say to her daughter "oooh you're going to be a beauty" or "oh she's so cute" -- it's all very tricky territory isn't it?

Have you seen Boden's baby clothes? It's still got the flowers and the primary colors vs. the pinks...but less offensive maybe...a little...



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Malloryn said...

Those slogans and designs are terrible. Too many times on trips through the mall, I see really young girls (maybe 7 or 8) with prominent writing on their backsides. Thankfully there is decent stuff out there, but some parents need to think more about what kind of messages these outfits send.

Sticky Bun said...

SO well said! I don't understand why everything is SO gendered. For me, it's funny though. Before Monkey Girl was born, I swore I'd never put her in anything pink. Now, she's already such a corker--I can tell she's going to be so strong and already has a fiery and independent personality--that I don't mind the pink so much. I kind of like the irony--it's like me wearing pink. (I'm SO not a girly-girl! Never have been. Ever.)

But, the sayings?!? Oh how they just piss me off. I can't handle all of the princess crap. When did we all decide that sitting around waiting for prince charming was all we wanted our daughters to aspire to?