Okay, honey, now that you’re 3, it’s time you start considering your future as a sex object.

by Janelle Hanchett


Okay, I tried. I did. I grasped my tongue. I held it tight.

No really. I did. I can do that. I’ve done it twice.

In my life.

When I was ten.

But I can’t any longer. My fingers are getting tired.

Can we just talk for a minute about some of the clothing made for young girls? Can we? Please? Thanks.

Let me just start this off with some obligatory save-my-ass caveats: 1.) We all have different taste in clothes; 2.) My taste, in general, sucks; 3.) I do not have anything against bows; 4.) I don’t judge you for how you dress your kid.

That last one was a lie.

If you dress your kid in any of the following garments, I will judge you. I will tell myself to stop judging you, but I won’t be able to help it. I will wonder what is wrong with you. (But I will keep it inside, then write about it on my blog.)

Just keepin’ it real.

Your daughter belongs in Hollywood? Really? She “belongs” in a narcissistic, drug-laden, cut-throat cauldron of materialism, sex and exploitation? AND, have you even asked her that question? Have you asked her, “Honey, would you like to be in Hollywood when you grow up?” What if she wants to be a neurosurgeon? What if? What if she wants to join the army and shoot people? Before you go dictating where your daughter “belongs” in the world, you might want to wait until she has at least a say in it. Just a thought.

Better said: “I’m cute. Mommy’s a self-appreciating ball of idiot using her child as a walking ego-boost. Daddy’s fucking his secretary because his wife’s a moron.”

Yes. Exactly. One of the profound universal truths of life: The Bigger the Bow, the Better the Mommy. It’s all about bows. You can be a crack-smoking prostitute AND AN EXCELLENT MOTHER if you put a big enough bow on your kid’s head. Or your own head. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of ambiguity there. Are they referring to the mother’s bow or the daughter’s bow? And if a mother is wearing a giant bow, won’t people wonder if she has some sort of disorder making her think she’s seven years old? And, if this is true, I really wish I would have known it sooner. Really would have saved me a lot of guilt, effort and worry. I mean if all I have to do to “be a better mommy” is use “a bigger bow…” shiiiit.

(have you ever heard anything so stupid? Freaking bows.) P.S. It’s not the bows I have a problem with, it’s the idea that motherhood can be defined by the SIZE OF ONE’S BOW.

How in the hell do you look at your sweet, innocent baby girl and say to yourself…”What I see in you, little one, with your chubby legs and innocent eyes…what I see is a “DIVA.” I see a future pop music star. I see somebody up on stage gallivanting in sparse clothing, rocking coliseums and making men drool. Maybe back in the day the word “diva” just meant “a successful female opera singer,” but today that word is all wrapped up in sex. Interwoven with sex. Inextricably connected to sex and the objectification of it, in the form of the female voice and body. How are you going to slap that label on your little girl? HOW?

Aren’t we all? Isn’t that pretty much why we’re all born? Just to “wear diamonds?” Is there anything more important in life? No. No there isn’t. And how do you get those diamonds? By becoming a DIVA, obviously. (Or marrying somebody for their money because though you “belong in Hollywood” you never quite made it and therefore must acquire The Meaning of Life (diamonds!) by selling your life (and your soul) to some man who can provide). Aim high, I always say.

I think this one is my favorite. “Step Aside, Barbie.” BARBIE. The most controversial “girl” toy in the world. A FUCKING PLASTIC DOLL. A plastic doll with perfect features, an endless wardrobe, large houses, fancy cars, hot men, a permanent grin and high heels… AND NO BRAIN. No brain! Just boobs (and a supernaturally tiny waist). Yes, isn’t that our greatest dream for our little girls? That they become PLASTIC? That they become BRAINLESS? That they become mere shells of individuals, perfect in every physical way, perfect in their sexiness, and perfect in their mindlessness?

My dream for you, honey, is that you will take the place of BARBIE when you grow up.

Step aside, Barbie.

My daughter’s a-comin’.

And she doesn’t get to chose what she wants for herself. She doesn’t get to wear clothes she can play in. She doesn’t get to THINK about what she wants to be.

Because I’ve already decided all that for her. She is a diva. She belongs in Hollywood. She was born to wear diamonds. She will be the next Barbie.

And when you’re 7 I’ll start dressing you in mini-skirts and heels. When you’re 9 we’ll start on make-up. At 12, oh boy! At 12 we can do fake nails, bikinis and halter tops! Won’t that be fun! And when you’re 17, my dear, I’ll get you your first boob job so you really can someday take Barbie’s place.

Now come here, honey, put on this bow, so everybody can see how much I love you.

It’s bullshit, I tell ya, the crap they make for little girls. And they are forced to wear it.

Before they can even object.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    I am so glad I had a boy.

    Girls Clothes just bother me… Classless and Tasteless ….

    • Marisa

      There are really great girl clothes, but lots more crappy ones. I dress my girl in the really great ones. 😉

  • Kristi

    Well said! I think as a rule of thumb, clothing with print on it for children is to be avoided. It all seems either ridiculous or redundant. Like “Daddy’s Little Helper” or “Mommy Loves Me” (just to clear that up for everyone in case they were wondering).
    I can’t imagine where you found those pieces of clothing though! Haven’t seen anything like THAT before (thank god)!

    • renegademama

      I found them on Zulily. They were all from the same “designer.” Fuckers.

      Rocket has a tie-dye shirt that has Calvin hugging Hobbes and it says “My love is real, not fade away.”

      Those are some good words.

  • Amy Grace

    I’m right there with Kateri, I’m so glad I had two boys. And am actually seriously contemplating the desire for a third child for fear I’d end up with a girl, who would want to dress like she lives in “Skankville” as a tween… I will never again complain about sports shorts and holey t’s!!

    • renegademama

      Don’t worry – you can find the okay girls stuff – it’s there, but sometimes it’s hidden… 🙂

      Go for the third!

      (right. because that’s my business.)


  • Ann

    I really enjoy girls and all the clothing options, but I go with no words if possible.
    I am your newest follower, please stop by my page if you have a chance!

  • Mary

    When I was a kid all I wanted to wear was a flannel shirt and my big brothers hand-me-down Levis. Great attire for running around countryside and riding our horses.

  • Jennifer

    Misogyny at its finest.

    • renegademama

      Dude. Totally. It really is.

  • Rebekah C

    *hearty round of applause* Yea and amen.

  • Lindsey

    I also love the “does this diaper make my butt look big?” onesie. Not only are you projecting your body image issues onto your daughter before she can even control her bowels, you’re using the world’s oldest, lamest joke to do it. “Bahaha women hate themselves!” Hilarious.

    • renegademama

      This is awesome. Oddly, I never really thought about that onesie. I just thought it was stupid but you guys are SO RIGHT. I’m an asshole for never thinking about it much. It really is bad!

      I love you people.

  • Brandon

    I feel so bad for the girls that get put into these types of outfits by their overbearing mothers. Sure they’ve limited our options as parents of daughters by making these horrible outfits more readily available and cheaper than more demure options, but that’s an excuse and not the actual reason why daughters are wearing these clothes.

    Someone still needs to be willing to buy them (see: stage moms or women who traded on their looks their entire life instead of developing skills or talent that extend beyond their face and body and are now passing on the tradition to their daughters). I just can’t see myself or my wife letting our daughters leave the house in outfits like that. Of course we’ll also teach them that they have self-worth and offer so much more to the world than a pretty face.

    • renegademama

      I agree, Brandon. Though most of the girl clothes are HIDEOUS, there are other options…we just have to look harder, and maybe pay a little more money.

      Your girls are very, very lucky to have you and Erin.

  • Sean Marie

    Well I’m glad I had a girl so I can teach her to be a respectable human being and not dress her in this shit.

  • Marisa

    Can we talk about hideous PJ’s for girls too?! Most of my daughter’s PJ’s are “boys” PJ’s because I can’t stand to put her in the princess PJ’s or ones with cupcakes on them. Can’t we just have some good old PJ’s with animals on them? Well yes we can, you just need to look in the boy’s section.

    • renegademama

      Yes, I spend a lot of time sifting through things that I find are over-the-top pink/cupcake/heart overload. I naturally tend to prefer simpler clothes in general, but it’s tough with the girl stuff, most of it is just so excessive.

  • Kimmie

    Hey there! Just made the trek over from Bloggy Moms–thanks for reaching out! You are hilarious 🙂 Also, let me say for the record that the clothing you “featured” made me SO HAPPY I’ve got two boys–but then again, it will be my job to teach them NOT to go after the girlies wearing this crap! 🙂

    • renegademama

      Totally! I love your blog too. New follower. Welcome!

  • Becoming SuperMommy

    I’m with you 100% of the way.

    My husband and I have a bit of a disagreement on a similar topic, though. *I* wanted to make our daughters squid onesies with detachable tentacles when they were babies. Because I would find them more entertaining as sleeping, pooping, crying boob lampries if they were also squids.

    But he says that until they can say for themselves that they WANT to be squids, I’m exploiting them for my own entertainment.

    So… no Divas over here, but if I had my way we would have squids.

    • renegademama

      I wish I could find the words to express my love for this comment.

  • Shan


    I was going to ask where you found these pictures, but I don’t need to know. We’re not going there.

    PS I started this comment early yesterday evening…

    • renegademama

      Dude. They were on ZULILY. It was a whole line of them, obviously by the same designer. I immediately saved the images to my desktop for later blog use…though unfortunately I forgot the name of the designer, which sucks, because now I can’t buy Mad one for her birthday.

      My bad.

  • Sarah

    Was excited to read this post when I saw the title. Though, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. There are so many issues with girls clothes out there.
    The fact that if you buy a 12 mo. old a pair of jeans in the girl section that they are going to be more form fitting than if you buy a pair of 12 mo. old jeans for boys. That’s disturbing.

    The fact that even for babies clothes, girls clothes out number boys in stores 4 to 1. That’s disturbing.

    The fact that if you don’t dress your one year old in pink, she’s a boy. It bothers me, because I do it too. If I see a baby that isn’t in pink bows, my first reaction is to think it’s a boy. It bothers me that it is ingrained in all of us at a very young age.

    It is not your job to address any of these issues. You write what you want and what you feel (which is why I generally love reading you so much), but this post felt like a personal attack on moms that like bows. And I admit, it did feel personal. A very dear friend of mine has a daughter who has had enormous pink bows and diva shirts since she came out of the womb. I love her to death and she is one of the greatest moms. Yes, she chooses clothes for her daughter that I would. My daughter who be described more as a hippie than diva, but still, it felt kind of biting to read. We all make decisions as parents that could be attacked. Can’t we give each other a break once and a while? Can’t we talk about the real cultural issues. Going into a grocery store and seeing which celebrity is too fat, too skinny, too this, too that. Why girls and women in kids movies are always rail thin and in need of a man for happiness. And even if you try your hardest to limit your child’s exposure, they still end up exposed to other kids who want to play princess or think that a girl must play with this and a boy must play with this. And I hear it in super educated, smart women. I don’t think people even realize it. “Well, blocks really are more of a boys toy.” Ugh…Sorry. Anyway. I digress….

    • renegademama

      Sorry to disappoint. As you can understand, it is somewhat impossible for me to meet the expectations of all my readers, all the time. Though admittedly that wouldn’t suck.

      Funny that it came across as an attack on women who use bows, considering I explicitly stated twice that I don’t have anything against bows and that it’s the idea of a mommy being “better” because of the size of her daughter’s bow that bothers me. I too have friends who dress their kids in giant bows and very frilly clothes and I see no harm in that. That is a matter of taste.

      These particular clothes, however, in my opinion, defy mere “taste” and enter the realm of offensive by slapping sexually objectifying, materialistic labels on young children.

      And though it was not perhaps in the way you had hoped, I was explicitly addressing a “real cultural issue.” (Your ideas regarding skinny women, the media’s depiction of women, etc., are all interesting, but they weren’t this blog post. I may write about those things someday, but I made a rhetorical choice in this post to stick to just these clothes as SYMBOLIC of the greater “real cultural issue.” In fact that’s what the whole post was about. The “real cultural issue” is that some people think this crap is appropriate for girls. The “real cultural issue” is that people will dismiss the obvious sexualization of young girls in effort to be…well I don’t know. I don’t know what drives people to dress their kid in stuff like this. The underlying cultural mentality of sex, materialism and money, I imagine.

      Do I think it’s inappropriate to dress a toddler in a shirt that says “Diva”?


      But that’s just my opinion. I do all kinds of shit that others would view as WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE and yet, I do it anyway and I come across blogs that “attack” women like me and I say “oh look, there’s a woman with another opinion.”

      Oh, and my daughter was the one who “wanted to play princess.”

      Anyway, thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. Truly.

    • Adeline Burtt

      The whole pink vs blue thing is crap. Blue was a feminine color, and pink masculine, until modern advertising got ahold of it. Back in the day all babies and toddlers were dressed alike, in homogeneous, loose fitting dresses. Modern child fashion is horrifying and creepy…. talk about sexualized girlhood! Anyway, I have a daughter and she’s turning out wonderfully because she’s a great person, not in spite of being a girl, so while I agree with most comments here the “so glad I have boys” ones are really insulting and add to the problem.

  • Robin

    OMG – this shit makes me SOOOO thankful that I have 3 boys!! Seriously!

    • renegademama

      Yeah, at least you don’ t have to face it. Although it is possible to find okay girls clothes — it just takes more MONEY (the classier clothes are totally more expensive) and time. Worth it though, obviously! 🙂 I spend a lot of times in thrift stores. 🙂

  • Lisa

    THANK YOU for putting this out there. . . . So, I am glad I have a little girl. Ecstatic, actually, for all that she is and has brought to our lives (not just her gender). And I’ll admit, I was a little excited that I would get to dress her in pretty clothes and dresses, and yes maybe a hair bow or two when she was an infant (although she blew that idea away when at 7mo old she learned how to quickly remove any headband or hairbow and refuse to have it put back on again. Oh well!). I weirdly like pink now, when I never did before, but that is just me. But even before she came along, I have been thoroughly disgusted. . . no, horrified. . . at some of the clothes and accessories that are made “for” little girls. As you said, there are cute clothes, even a FEW “cutesy” ones (like her little shirt that says “Silly Monkey” and shows a monkey hanging upside down in a tree smiling) that I can go for. But this trash (pardon me anyone who disagrees with how I feel about it). . . this trash you have pictured here is just way out of line. I HAVE seen clothes this bad in stores (well mostly in secondhand shops, because possibly the parents bought them, and put them on their child, and THEN realized what it might do to them? I don’t know). I see 9 year olds down at the mall already wearing micro minis with glittery tops, and they have just come back from some shop that does “glamour” hair and face painting, so they have coifs (or multi-braids with shiny strands woven in everywhere)and heavy glitter eyeshadow, and they are yelling at their Mom/Dad/Grandparent that they absolutely HAVE to have the newest video game/Ipod/CD/whatever. . . . I see the crass objectification and focus on sexiness and materialism and I think. . . . what about valuing life? People? What about valuing all that you are and can be, as you learn to live in this world? I mean, we don’t all have to run around in loose clothes with no makeup on for our entire lives, but. . . a little balance please. As you said. . . can we let them decide what their “label” is (if they want one) for themselves when they get a little older? And I’m TOTALLY on the fence about the whole Disney princess thing (yes obviously they border on falling in the same category of overt focus on sexuality, helplessness, and narrow labels that will not boost their self-image). By “on the fence” I mean I know she is going to be faced with them some day, she will realize they exist, they are everywhere in our culture, she will be exposed to their subtle messages one way or another. Just trying to figure out if I should tell her up front that they are the creations of a seriously effed up segment of our society and their main purpose is to make her feel that she has to “live up to” that standard (ugh, can’t even write that without shuddering), or wait until she decides on her own how to feel about them?? (Not looking for an answer here just thinking out loud). Oh and Becoming Supermommy – that was just awesome. Truly awesome.

    • renegademama

      THIS was an awesome comment. I think you said it all better than I did. I also like pink and girly stuff. I don’t really dig the tutus and over-the-top ruffles and lace, but I love old fashioned smocking and flower prints and patent leather Mary Janes. I agree with you, there’s some “cutesy” stuff that is just that – cutesy.

      As you say, this trash is a whole new level.

  • ang

    ohh this is soo on the mark you rock for saying what i wanted to say thank you thank you ohh so very much truly you rock!!
    i never understood why certain moms think its ok for little girls to dress this way i mean come on we all know its the moms that buy the stuff for one umm yeah the kid cant work yet. you see thats my fav well she picked it out she wanted it umm yeah your the mom you paid for it so until they can pay themselves its your fault for buying it

    • renegademama

      Thanks! And yes, that’s really my point with this whole thing, that it’s inane for mothers (or fathers for that matter) to determine the identities of their girls to that extent, especially when it’s so wrapped up in sex and materialism. Yuck.

      Glad you commented!

  • Sandra

    I love your blog and I always smile when I read it. While I definitely agree the clothes you were commenting on were not in good taste, and we would never let our son or daughter wear them, pinning all the blame on the parents who dress their kids this way lets the true culprits get away with it! There is an empire of slick business men and women who come up with ways to manipulate the minds of adults and children, and the clothing industry is big on the “diva” and “princess” ideas. The book, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” gives a nice description of how. While it is true, our job as parents is to protect them from this very sort of marketing, we are human, and we are vulnerable. Less educated or less “aware” parents may not truly understand how they are being used, or how these types of choices may affect their daughters futures. Maybe the best way we can combat this is to stop judging, so that the young girls dressed in those clothes can be treated as the intelligent and strong individuals they are, not outcast because of their parents’ ignorance. In the end, we want our children to look at others and ignore what they are wearing, right? We want them to look at the person within and appreciate all the goodness that is there.

    • renegademama

      Thanks for your comment and I’m so glad you like the blog. I’m totally checking out that book. Excellent suggestion.

      Yes, the people making this crap are the ultimate culprits, and I see your point about education and awareness, but it’s fun to rant. Also, I don’t think it’s so much a matter of education (or maybe even awareness) — in my opinion, it’s a matter of thinking for oneself, which everybody is, theoretically, capable of accomplishing.

      I appreciate your call to “stop judging,” but I gotta say: don’t you think Everybody judges, period. In my opinion, people who say they don’t judge are generally the most judgmental. Perhaps some people don’t judge OPENLY, but to me that’s the worst kind. So much better to own it. Our judgments are ingrained through years of cultural and familial conditioning, experience, etc. It’s just silly to say “I don’t judge.”

      Many of the judgments I once had have naturally disintegrated through life experience (often finding myself doing the thing I was once judging). Some remain, and I wear them right on my sleeve so they can be analyzed and critiqued. It’s not that I’m proud of them, but I’ve never successfully convinced myself to “stop judging” – so I figure I might as well look at them squarely and see if they have any merit, while staying open-minded to their removal.

      Also, I don’t think anybody was judging the kids, nor would I outcast a mother for dressing her kid like this. The other day I was hanging out with a mother whose 3-year-old was wearing heels at the park. We talked for like 2 hours – super nice woman. But yes, I judged.

      Thanks for your comment! Appreciate your perspective.

      • Gigi B

        New to the blog and loving it. Nearly 6 months pregnant with my first and a girlfriend sent me a link to the “Thank you for sharing that horrifying birth story!” Said no pregnant woman ever. Brilliant!

        On a similar note to Sandra’s book recommendation (which I am planning on checking out too!) Another friend told me about an article she read with the theme ‘recreating Disney’ where a real life mom doesn’t stop at ‘she married her prince and they lived happily ever after…’ Rather, she adds her own spin to the story for Cinderella or Bella or Sleeping Beauty (pick your princess) who went on to get her degree, travel the world, start an awesome blog, become a neurosurgeon… in addition to finding her prince and working very hard to create her own happily ever after. Its something I plan to do when reading fairy tales to all my nieces and my own daughter if that is what nature has planned : )

        Thanks for the great posts and for all the laughs.

  • NoDrama4Mama

    I can completely relate. My daughter loves her pink and purple and her favorite color is glitter, but I buy her lots of lands end dresses and leggings, and buy all her skirts a little big so they cover stuff.

    Bows? Nope, can’t do them. My daughter will never be in a pageant. Not because I think they are bad or wrong or exploit girls, but because doing recital hair is enough to make me want a whole bottle of wine.

  • sflynn

    You can hardly blame lower income Mothers when Wal-Mart, Sears, Kmart and Target only offer the crap displayed above for sale in their stores. You will not see this stuff at Old Navy, Macy’s or Nordstrom’s. Just another way the progressive liberals use to keep future generations locked in poverty. Some of these outfits should say, ‘Future Dropout’, or ‘Belongs in a Planned Parenthood Clinic’. Maybe then the poor might get the message that Democrats are the ones keeping them down.

  • StormLady

    see i don’t find it hard not to buy those things…heck half the time my eyes just slide over them in the shops so that i don’t notice them at all. Selective viewing, that’s not what i am looking for so i don’t really see it.
    While I don’t feel as strongly about it as to claim misogyny or that it’s destroying kids lives i’m with you, now text on clothes in this house.

  • Alecia

    I don’t see any harm in wearing these outfits. Just because my daughters shirt says “The bigger the bow, the better the mommy” doesn’t mean I am bragging about being a better mother than anyone else. It’s a joke, it’s cute. Have a since of humor. They are children and are not going to sit at the playground in diapers comparing the size of their asses and be self-conscious, but more than likely, will compare asses going into their teens, regardless of what their outfit said when they were 1 years old. And that comes from all over whether it’s parents, peers, Hollywood…it’s just something females do! Everyone has, no matter how much of a “tomboy” you are.

  • carlisle

    I’m expecting a little girl in October, and I am very adamant in telling everyone no princess/diva/too-cute-for-math shit, and that I would very much enjoy blues and greens and browns and trucks and dinosaurs. my mother-in-law seemed to think that meant no pink or anything girly, but I am all over the pink and the fucking cupcakes and the goddamn bows and ruffle things. and my father-in-law got very upset and told me that little girls LOVE to play princesses and dress up, and every woman deserves to be treated like a princess.

    I have NO problem with my baby girl wanting to be a princess. But I see my five year old niece with the full blown ‘diva-princess-ew, that’s for BOYS ONLY’ attitude, because that’s the only thing she’s been taught, and it horrifies me.

    I just want my little girl to know that she doesn’t HAVE to be a princess. She can be a soldier, an astronaut, the motherfucking Terminator, god-forbid-a-fucking-shitkicker, whatever she wants. But if she wants to be a princess-diva, I will completely, one hundred percent support her…on the outside. I might crack a little on the inside.

  • A

    It’s interesting to watch a girl grow up who was taught at a young age that it’s much easier to run around, jump, and crawl around on the floor if you wear long skirts, or shorts/leggings under your skirt (and demonstrate by doing the same thing). She now, as a tween, chooses to wear leggings, etc, under short skirts and even tanks under more revealing tops.

    She has a great sense of fashion, but knows how to cover up! She does like to where the big name brands, but she has also been introduced to thrift stores. She now asks if we can go to Goodwill! She gets more stuff than she would at the mall. I clearly remember telling her one day that she could have one shirt from Justice or several outfits from the thrift store. She made the connection and still goes for it. Especially since we live in an area where the thrift stores are full of the same name brands that all the rich kids are wearing! 😉

  • Karissa

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact ordered me breakfast because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your web page.

  • Emily

    God, Zulily is bad about this kind of crap, isn’t it? I mean, they have a bunch of great stuff, and a couple of designers who do this, and it’s just a matter of not going to those sales, but still. The thing that bothers me about the “Diva” stuff is that it’s basically saying, “Here, girl baby, I want to make sure you know that I expect your behavior to be demanding, irrational, and poorly socialized because, as a woman, your two options are sweet wallflower and materialistic harridan. This is the one I have chosen for you. I will judge you for it later when I use it as an excuse to disregard you and everything you stand for.”

    I think the proliferation of this kind of stuff is one reason that people disagree so strongly on things like two-piece swimsuits for babies and toddlers. I understand why people think it’s horrible, because of the earlier and earlier sexualization of clothes for girls. I fall into the other camp of, “It’s literally for a baby, and it has ladybugs on it. How could that possibly be sexualized?” But the sexualization is bad enough that any girl showing skin, at any age, can seem uncomfortable.

    Oh, and I think a big part of the argument that sometimes gets overlooked is exactly what you mentioned, which is that your kid is going to have an opinion on things if you give them a chance, but if you start putting them in clothes that is absolutely going to change the way people interact with them so early, they’re going to absorb the message that they have expectations to live up to, even if that’s not your intent. I have bought some frilly stuff for my daughter and it’s fun to put it on her for pictures and things, but since most days she wears play-friendly clothes (a t-shirt and either jeans or leggings), she already has a strong opinion on what she wears. I don’t worry too much trying to get her to wear a pretty dress once in a while, because she will shut that shit DOWN if she’s not into it that day, and I don’t force it. Sometimes she humors me. (She’s 2.5.) The kind of stuff I see, though, is like this: I have a friend on Facebook who has a little girl, and when she was about 9 months old, she learned how to clap and thought it was great. Friend proceeds to post a video and say, “My [baby’s name] loves to clap now! She’s going to be a cheerleader like her cousins in no time!” In her family, cheerleading for girls is probably seen enough as a cultural norm that it’s not weird to be projecting that image onto a baby. For me, though, it felt very uncomfortable to read, and I couldn’t help but think, “What if she wants to play football [or, honestly, do anything else]? Even if you say, ‘okay’, she’ll notice that moment of disappointment that flashes in your eyes. Our kids know us too well to miss that.”

  • Jennifer

    When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I broadcasted that I will not put anything decorative on my baby’s girls bottom for the world to see. Wow, did I get some forlorn looks. I never understood the point of putting decorations and or words on a girls (baby, child,teenager, adult) across their buttocks. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to my infant daughters buttocks. Creepy.

  • Amy

    This! This is why I’m starting to sew my 3 year old her own clothes. Toddler girl shorts are so short. The things written on clothes are ridiculous. Thankfully, I can kinda sew and create clothes that are not like this.

  • dani

    I agree completely. But I must say, it’s not great shopping for boys, either. Does every article of clothing have to be in navy blue, army green, camouflage, or with skulls and crossbones, dinosaurs, cars, pirates, or rocket ships?! Can I please get a plain T-shirt in… Yellow? Orange? Red? Or purple! My two year old boy loves purple. But when I find a purple shirt, it’s usually in the girls’ section, and it has ruffly sleeves or sequins on it.

    I just want some plain fucking clothes for kids. Unisex. When did everything get so goddamned gendered?! My five year old son does not need macho, violent, super-hero, or sports-related clothing. He loves to read and draw maps and create marble runs.

    And when you do find great plain clothes, they are super expensive, made by high-end designers. I need a plain old shirt for my kids that doesn’t cost $45. Is that too much to ask?