Let’s talk about pro-mom propaganda in baby clothes.
You know what I mean. Almost every morning before I go to work, I dress my little guy in a parent-neutral outfit—a onesie featuring a really happy crab, or t-shirt and shorts set with a shark and the words “Chomp Chomp” emblazoned on it.
But more often than not, when I get home, he’s wearing a different outfit, often one that reads “Mommy’s Little Rookie” or “Mommy’s Little Cutie.” Usually there’s some sort of an excuse: Oh, his diaper leaked, or Oh, he spit up on himself.
Likely story. We all know that babies never do such things. I know the real reason: my wife is secretly brainwashing our child.
Now you’re probably thinking, Brett, even if this alleged pro-mom discrepancy is real—and that’s spurious—babies can’t read, so they never get the message. Oh, you rube: that’s exactly what moms want you to think.
First of all, you don’t know that your little one can’t read. Sure, it’s not particularly likely, especially since he just gained the ability to track an object with his eyes, but you can’t prove he can’t read.
Similarly, you don’t know for sure that leprechauns aren’t real or that new mothers don’t secretly love it when you moo at them when they are pumping breast milk. In other words, you can’t prove a negative. Now you might consider that a total non sequitur, but it’s my right as a paranoid person to pretend that such non-evidence is meaningful!
Besides, people believe all sorts of crazy things that can’t be disproved—some believe in the Loch Ness monster, a modern-day dinosaur, while others believe that humans lived alongside dinosaurs, contrary to, you know, evidence.
So I believe that my child knows he’s wearing Momaganda and that it skews his views of me. (And I am not alone: My father has alerted me to a similar problem in grandfather-related outfits.)
Even it doesn’t affect him now, it may affect him later. You see, this isn’t just a question of infant clothing. No, it’s far worse than that. A nonscientific examination of retail stores makes it quite clear that there is a mommy bias when it comes to all children’s clothing.
If Dad is mentioned at all, it’s “Daddy’s little tough guy.” More often than not, a token daddy design is included—a dinosaur or a robot, say. (That’s patently absurd: Dinosaurs and robots should be awesome for everyone.) Moreover, there are few shirts with phrases such as “Dashing like Dad” or “My Short, Nerdy Father is Unbelievably Amazing.”
Finally, one last point: Some of you might think that women deserve this preferential treatment. Sure, they carried the child for nine months and went through agonizing pain during the delivery.
But we fathers helped! For instance, I contributed to my son’s conception! And during the delivery, I stood around grimacing on her behalf and saying encouraging things like, “One more push!” and “Keep going!”
We therefore should be represented more fairly. Fathers, there is a children’s clothing gap! Stand with me and help us make children’s apparel more equitable.
photo Debbie Herb / Flickr