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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6 comments

  1. YESSSSSSSSSSSS. I have the same issue as you! It’s so frustrating. My daughter is girly, but also loves trucks, dinosaurs, outer space, etc. I have found more options in the girls section recently in Target and Old Navy (just got her a tank that says Smart & Strong that is adorable) but its seriously annoying how clothing is still gender separated when it shouldn’t be.

    • Target has gotten better over the years, I think because of the Cat & Jack line. Carter’s has some stuff, but I just can’t believe this is even still an issue in 2017!

  2. Amen! That shirt about the girl’s brother doing her homework made me want to barf. We’ve bought many clothes in the boy’s department for Baby Girl. The kid loves her superheroes, and there is a limited selection for girls (if anything at some stores). I think it’s better overall compared to what I saw when Little Man was tiny, but there is lots of room for improvement for sure.

    • SO much room for improvement. Someone bought my daughter a “Girl Gone Wild” onesie, which I can’t help but to associate with the Girls Gone Wild DVDs. The clothing company had to know that’s where minds would go, but they made it anyway. I know it’s meant to be cheeky, but it’s just not funny! And they’d never make that shirt for a boy! *Sigh* Now I’m all ruled up again. 😂

  3. Couldn’t agree more! I have no problem with girly stuff of boy stuff, but I’d like to give my child the choice and not have her forced into being a fairy or a princess. It really bugs me when I try to find her clothing with her favourite show – Paw Patrol. All the girls clothing are pink with the female characters and the boys blue with male characters. It’s pathetic. Plus it’s usually hard to find an form of video game character clothing in the girls section. Really does do my head in! There’s no need for ‘gender’ sections.
    I think Baby Bird’s name may be my daughter’s middle name 😉
    Great post, again! 🙂

    • And it’s the same in the toy section. If I had a son who loved to cook, his toy kitchen set would have to be pink, because that’s all I ever see. If Baby Bird wants a tool set, it’ll have to be from the boys’ section because there’s nothing along those lines in the girl’s area. It’s ridiculous that companies try to shove our kids into these boxes!

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