What is with children's toy and clothing branding today? I was ranting on Facebook how one outfit that my son has is not only blue, but the manufacturers had to go and print "BOY" on the front of it. WTF? Were they worried that some parent might go and - God forbid - buy that blue outfit for a female baby? Were they worried that despite a parent going with the 'boys in blue' code that some person might mistakenly say, "Oh what a cute girl"? Because geez, that would be traumatic. I live in fear of someone referring to my 7-pound baby as a girl. He might grow up scarred for life!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Seriously, I just don't get it. TM wears pink all the time. He is clearly male. Also, who cares what gender a baby is called? They have no clue about what gender they are so why should adults get all upset about it.
It also bothers me that the labelling of baby clothes is part of the ongoing denigration of the female. I wear blue all the time and if a parent put a little girl in a 'male outfit' [I'll leave that to you to decide what that might embody], most people nowadays wouldn't be very fussed. But put a male baby in a little frilly dress and people would think you were weird or trying to make a point. Such conditioning. Even I was going to buy Finn a pink dress but felt that it wouldn't be quite right. I think in some ways that I should do that just to try and fight against stereotypes.
I have a number of friends who said things to me like, "I offered my son both dolls and trucks and he just chose to play with the trucks. Boys and girls really are different." Please. Gender stereotyping is entrenched long, long before the doll/truck issue comes up. I only have to talk to my sister to realize this as well. Now fair enough, in her case she was transgendered and wanting to be a woman is different than just wearing pink. However, she clearly saw how streamlined boys and girls are into categories of what they should/shouldn't do.
There is some progress though. I told all the nurses in the hospital that my son was gay [usually when we were all joking about what babies in the nursery could start dating and they would talk about a little girl and I would ask them to instead select the cutest boy as my son's partner]. Now, I really do hope that my son is gay although obviously I'll accept him if he's straight, but the nurses were also fine with that idea too. Probably twenty years ago they would have seen me as an unfit mother.
One final note as this post is all over the place - high-end baby clothes are not as gender-identified. I have some clothes from the French store Jacadi and although the clothes are still largely blue/pink, they don't have overkill (like 'boy' or 'little engineer' vs. 'little princess' written on them) and could go for the most part on either sex. And that's just it, even though gender lines are more blurred than ever, baby clothes are not. Boys' clothes used to be have those cute little bloomer outfits but now they seem to be hyper masculine right from birth.