This is a comment by Tom B. on the post “Buying Boys’ Underwear For My Daughter”.
Tom writes about the strict dichotomy of how clothing is marketed to young girl and boys and how it contributes to gender stereotypes from an early age.
(And the weird part is it doesn’t stop at that age—it happens even in adult clothing. See our own Joanna Schroeder swap clothing with her husband in their switcheroo photo experiment.)
Tom B. said:
That’s awesome. I’m going to have to get my daughter some Angry Bird underwear. She’d love them.
The big thing that bothers me isn’t the sheer fact that they make “girly” or “super-masculine” clothes for girls and boys. If a kid wants to be dress uber-frilly or dress like a lumberjack, more power to them. Sparkily princess dresses and Lightning McQueen tracksuits both deserve to exist (I guess).
What bothers me is how limited and narrow gender marketing makes clothing options for young kids. Clothing manufacturers seemingly can’t imagine a world where a young girl or boy might want BOTH options available to them. A boy should be able to dress like a ice dancer OR a NASCAR driver if he wants to. But those options simply aren’t made available by a lot of the major chain stores. (Gender neutral kids’ clothes do exist, but they’re sometimes hard to find and/or really expensive.)
Heck, I tried to buy my daughter a winter coat at Old Navy and every single option was either pink, purple, or covered in rhinestones and/or fake fur. Why couldn’t I just buy her a green coat? Or a brown one? There is just a disturbing lack of non-gender marketing clothing options available for kids these days.
And I refuse to accept that the reasons for the limited gender options are purely economic. If there are studies out there, I’d love to see them, but I’ve NEVER seen Avengers or race car clothing made for girls. I doubt that there’s any sales data out there that suggests that Star wars underwear for six year old girls simply won’t sell.
Robert – I say just take your daughter to Target and let her go hogwild in the boys underwear aisle. They fit fine – maybe a tiny bit baggy – they’re comfortable, and my daughter ADORES them. She’s the envy of all the girls in her class who wish they could have their own pair of LEGO Star Wars underwear too.
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Photo credit: Flickr / laverrue