I should have realized sooner, I suppose, that sexism begins on day one. But I’m not going in the direction you might think. No, today I’m on a rampage about boys’ clothes.
I have never had to buy very many clothes for my kids; we’ve been the grateful recipients of several tons of children’s clothing over the years, so shopping for baby clothes is sort of a novelty! I went to Target on Saturday (yes, one week before Christmas, having forgotten the stroller, which meant I had to carry Michael in my arms all over that madhouse of a mall…didn’t think that one through very clearly) in search of a Christmas outfit for a newborn boy. Target had nothing dressy-Christmasy, but I did find some of those cute fleecy outfits: one cream with red reindeer and brown pants, one light blue with a polar bear.
“Those are cute,” Christian said when I got home, “but they’re really not dressy.”
I sighed and shrugged. “Well, I have to go to Barnes & Noble for Mom on Monday,” I said. “I’ll go over to Penney’s. They’ll have that kind of stuff.”
So yesterday I trekked back to the Mall (this time with stroller!) and excavated the baby department in search of dressy Christmas clothes for a baby boy. Would you like to know what I found?
There were a dozen and a half different styles of super-frilly, satiny, shiny, sparkly dresses for newborn GIRLS–all on the clearance rack, I might add; apparently as of December 19th, Valentine’s Day is the pre-eminent holiday…I could go on ad nauseam about that, but it would be another post…but the only clothes for boys on that rack were onesies that said obnoxious, offensive things like, “WHATEVER SANTA DOESN’T BRING ME, GRANDMA WILL!”
I’ve always loathed what I call “attitude” clothes, but I’ve never seen them for boys before. It’s always girls’ clothes with words plastered across the derriere or the breasts, proclaiming “SPOILED! I’m perfect! Worship me! Princess in training! AVAILABLE!” Things that set girls up to be insufferable or objectified (or both).
The exporting of “attitude” wear to boys’ clothes is not attractive.
But even more irritating is the dichotomy between girls, who are dolled up within an inch of their life beginning in the newborn stage, and boys, who apparently are never expected to dress up at all. What’s wrong with this picture?
If I complain to J C Penney headquarters, I’m sure I’ll get some bland, polite note back saying “We offer what people buy; there is no market for dressy boys’ clothes for Christmas.” But I don’t buy this argument. After all, it’s not like anybody’s offered us the opportunity to buy dressy boys’ clothes for Christmas, is it? I took a quick look online just now and the dressy outfits seem to start at 12 Months.
Well, on some level I can understand; it’s hard enough to get those tiny arms and legs into a sleeper, much less a shirt and vest and pants. But then, we seem to think it’s an acceptable sacrifice to make for girls, so why not for boys?