Since finding out that I was having a daughter, I’ve been particularly irate about the sad state of infant/toddler clothing. It’s not just that I dislike pink and purple (though I do). It’s the fact that if you walk through the baby clothes section of almost any store, this is what you’ll see: Boys–designs about sports, construction and commentary on future careers (explorer, astronaut, quarterback, etc). Girls–exhortations to be sweet, nice and cute. I have not seen any girls clothes that predict a future career, other than being pretty and liking to shop, which most women would be hard-pressed to turn into a career. Girls clothes are all about food (cupcakes, lollipops, etc), about emotions (“I’m sweet!”) or about looks (“So cute!”). If there’s an animal present, it’s usually a ladybug or a butterfly. Certainly not anything scarier or more aggressive than a cat. No lions, tigers or bears for the girls!
Now, I don’t have a problem with butterflies…or cupcakes, for that matter. I don’t have a problem with cute and funky little girls’ dresses. But it really pisses me off that boys clothes emphasize actively doing, while girls clothes emphasize just being. Who says my daughter wouldn’t like to be an astronaut? Or an explorer, or a rock star, or any of the other things that the “boy clothes” tell boys they can be? Who decides that the most valuable quality a girl baby can have is to be cute and sweet? The other day I bought her an orange onesie with “Future Rocket Scientist” written on the front. Yes, I snagged it off of the “boys” rack. But why? Why is an orange onesie a boy item? Is it the color? Orange isn’t feminine enough? Is it the sentiment, since we all presumably know that most rocket scientists are men? Is it the fact that it just addresses a career without any commentary on her looks or demeanor?
Yesterday I walked into Babies R Us and saw this shirt (see photo below). Now, some baby clothes do emphasize the bossy nature of babies, along the lines of “Mom/Dad/Grandma does whatever I want.” But in this case, because of the necktie, I assume that it’s actually referring to being a supervisor in a workplace setting. How charming…grooming the boy children to be bosses from infancy. So where the fuck is the girl’s version? Where’s my daughter’s pink onsie with a power tie and “Get me that report by 5pm or you’re fired”? Where’s her “Future Female CEO” onesie? Hell, I’d settle for a pastel-colored t-shirt that says “I’ve got brains, too!”
I know this photo is sideways, but it’s worth a look. I can’t seem to make it smaller, but if you click on it you should be able to see the shirt in all of its glory.