Monday, 23 April 2012

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls

During the pregnancy I was adamant Bug wasn't going to be wearing pink. I often said things like  'none of that shite in our house.' I didn't want her to conform to what society expects at such an early age -- there will be pressure enough when she's older.

It's only over the past century that boys have donned blue and girls pink. Before that we all wore dresses. Someone decided (I'm looking at you Freud) that if children wore the wrong thing they'd grow up perverted, and as we all know a small boy in a white frock will grow up a donkey knobber.

With full knowledge of how passionately I felt, Bear dressed Bug in a pink baby grow two days after she was born. I turned to my girlfriend and took a stand on an issue hugely important to me by screeching 'oh my god she looks fucking adorable!'

From that day on, pink was in. Not all the way, of course, but a girly foot in the door.

I had my morals though -- even if I was prepared to discard them at the first sign of cuteness -- so I started looking for gender neutral clothes and quickly discovered that shops don't stock them. If it's pink, yellow or flowery it's in the girl section. If it's any other animal, vegetable or mineral then it's for boys.

Here's an example. This is a hoody we bought Bug using money sent from her Great Granny: 

It's a (non-mating) panda. Bug points to it, smiles, and says 'bear.' She knows what it is and she's a girl. Yet it's only available in the boys section. When did pandas become boy specific? Is this why they have problems breeding?

A quick glance online shows these items on clothing for boys: Star Wars, Mr.Men, an octopus, Snoopy, a robot, a dinosaur, and finally: letters and numerals.

I am a child of Star Wars. It was the first film I ever saw at the cinema. I watched one of the three films almost daily as a child. It is my one true love and it broke my heart. Throughout all of this, I never had Star Wars down as a film for boys. I'm pretty certain George Lucas didn't either, if only for the extra revenue stream. Try telling this little girl that Star Wars is only available in boy sizes:

Perhaps it's easier to feel like this about clothing when you have a daughter. I like to think I'd be the same if I had a son. But would I? If I asked my hypothetical son what he'd like to wear for the day and he pointed to a dress, would I say 'not fucking likely' or would I ask him what he'd like to coordinate it with?

The best thing about rhetorical questions is that I don't have to answer.

A quick search for girls clothes shows flowers if you're dignified, slogans such as 'don't you wish your daughter was hot like me?' (ages 1-7) if you're not. I should be happy: the letters on the boys clothes are a random assortment where as the letters on the girls clothing quite clearly make a complex sentence. Go girls. The happiness is somewhat diminished by the horrific hyper-sexualisation of children not out of nappies.

As Jimmy Carr says: what's the biggest cause of paedophilia in this country? Sexy kids. 

Bye for now. 



This particular blog is far from finished. I've been a bit off colour the past couple of days, though when I started blogging I set myself a target of a blog a week and I'm going to stick with it.


  1. One of my favourite pictures from my childhood is of me dressed in red doc martens, yellow trousers, and a batman tshirt, complete with oversized sunglasses. I hated wearing dresses, until I reached the age of about 19, and realised they were more flattering and comfortable than jeans. It's disappointing that boys clothes are more exciting than girls clothes nowadays - sexualisation of children aside - it makes me wish that the kids clothes from the 80s were still 'cool' and 'retro' like the adults ones are...
    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  2. I'm sending my brother a link to your blog because he has the same problem finding fun non-pink clothes for Tegan.