Sexism in the Girls’ Department

There’s a lot that pisses me off: racism, xenophobia, sexism, religious intolerance …

Add gender stereotyping and demeaning messages on kids’ clothes to the list.

I’m mad at companies that won’t put a “Built Tough” onesie in the girls’ section because girls, apparently, aren’t tough. (I grew a child, then had her cut from my body. I was up and walking around with her within hours. If that ain’t tough, I don’t know what is.)

My gripe is with companies that would have my daughter criticizing her thighs in infancy. (It might be meant as a joke, but it isn’t funny.)

I’m pissed at the people who force me to shop in the boys’ section if I want my baby’s clothes to say she’s anything other than a fairy or a love bug.

I’m not anti-girly, and I’m not anti-beauty. My closet is full of heels, purses, and perfumes, and I tell my daughter she’s beautiful all day.

I’ve got nothing against princesses. Baby Bird’s name means princess, for goodness sake.

I like a frilly shirt as much as the next girl, but can Baby Bird rock a robot once in a while? A dinosaur? Hell, can she be an M.V.P. without the “P” standing for princess?

Companies are peddling sexist crap to our girls from cradle right through puberty. It starts with these:

and it runs straight through to this:

shirtcollage4

In the grand scheme of things, is this a big deal? Does this really matter, considering we have to raise our children to navigate through crappy education systems, cultural insensitivity, and all the random dangers of the world?

Yes, it’s a huge deal.

It’s a matter of messaging — the messages we’re sending to our kids.

Baby Bird doesn’t know what she’s wearing now, but I don’t want a 5-year-old daughter who refuses to wear blue shoes because that color is only for boys. I don’t want your child teasing mine because your kid has the same wrong thought.

I don’t want my 10-year-old thinking girls shouldn’t dream about being scientists or mathematicians. I don’t want her thinking it’s cooler to be pretty than to be smart.

I don’t want her planning to marry a man who’ll change the world instead of planning to change it herself.

I’ll give clothing companies credit: They’re doing better than they were a few years ago.

Most of the shirts above are years old. But the M.V.Princess one? It’s in my daughter’s drawer (I wish I knew who bought it for her). Carter’s sells “Smart Like My Mommy” onesies, but they’re outnumbered by ones that say stuff like, “I’m cute. Mom’s cute. Dad’s lucky.”

This issue has had me rattled for a long time, but I didn’t post about it online until this week. I tagged Carter’s in an Instagram pic questioning why my options were so limited.

Capture

Not surprisingly, They didn’t respond. That just pissed me off more.

Yes, I could avoid the issue by dressing Baby Bird in solid-colored tops and shorts, but I shouldn’t have to. It’s 2017. It’s time for companies to do better — for girls and boys. (I know you boymoms are tired of trucks, mustaches, and ladies man gear.)

Companies need to do better. We need to demand better.

We need to make them earn our money.

Combating Gender Stereotypes in Kids' Clothes

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