Lesson 56: Girls Clothing Sucks

It’s ShirtMageddon time again!

Just In case you live under a social-media-free rock somewhere, and didn’t catch this post by Melissa from Pigtail Pals (@PigtailPals) or this post by @phdinparenting or this post at MoxieBird by @kdiddy or this post by Rebecca at Think Progress or this post by @JessicaWakeman at the Frisky. In case you missed allllll those posts, and the talk that started it all on Facebook last night, Let me fill you in:

Isn’t this all you need to know?

In case that picture isn’t enough, here’s some words too. This was posted last night on the Pigtail Pals Facebook page along with the comment “OMGZWTFBBQ!” (I’m SUMMARIZING, PEOPLE.)

And within approximately 4.2 seconds, (I’m ESTIMATING, PEOPLE) everyone in the world had heard about it. Now, I’m not sure how long it actually took, but JcPenney heard about the ruckus and about 12 minutes after I’d first heard about the offending garment, they had pulled it from the website and presumably, the shelves as well. As best I can figure, the product was pulled about 12 hours after the first mention of it, which occurred around 11(CST). last night  It was reported as being removed by JCP at around 10 am today. Assuming they don’t check their google alerts until morning, this is a pretty rapid response to a potentially damaging social media mess.

I’m not sure how much the response helped their image, but the speed with which they reacted was impressive. And much better than some other companies with similar issues have shown. (CoughPizzaHutCough)

Giving them some slack for maybe being asleep until oh, 7 am CST,  the shirt was removed after about three hours. Due to the power of pissed off moms on Twitter started spreading the story like wildfire.

(I’m ugly, so I can do my own math, thanks)

That is some pissed-off  GIRL POWER, people.

Anyway.. yeah. The shirt is stupid. And sexist. And I’m glad its gone, hopefully never to be seen again.

But, unfortunately- this is nothing new. In fact, I actually wrote about a similar issue back in 2009 after trying to find some appropriate clothing for my- then 5 year old- daughter, Kira.

I’m going to repost it here for fun.

(If you recognize where it’s from, shh. I’m anonymous now.)

Why can’t Girls be Superheroes too?

I’m not what you would call a regular customer at the Gap. It isn’t personal, I’m just not a Gap kind of girl. But, I somehow ended up with a giftcard, so decided to browse online. Since all of the stores near me have closed.

Not finding anything for myself, I wandered over to the kids section. You see, the kid, she is into T-shirts. She loves going to school and showing off her new shirts. We just picked out two from Target.

Awesome shirts, by the way. One is green and reminds us that dinosaurs are people too. Another is grey and features the Japanese frog from the “Hello Kitty” line. The one I used to love, instead of Hello Kitty, when I was a kid.

Hoping to find some more graphic kids shirts along these lines, I clicked on the Gap link for their “Junk Food” T-shirts for children. (I have no clue if this is their line or a line they feature, and I don’t care enough to find out.)

Oh! Look! It’s Smurfette! Awesome! I love Smurf… wait? What is Smurfette doing?

Smurfs don't shop!Why is she shopping? I don’t remember a mall in Smurf Village. Hmm. Lets try the next one…

Because, being popular is what's important, kids.So, girls care about being popular and shopping, huh? Good to know.

By this point, I am already annoyed, but when my eyes hit this next one, My head just explodes:

*Pakoosh* (That's the sound of my head fucking exploding)SMURFS. SHOULD. NOT. EVER. HOLLA.

Not all the shirts were as horrific as these, but the contrast between the girls shirts and the boys shirts was very obvious.

The girls shirts were overwhelmingly pink, and while there were two (bright pink) Beatles shirts that didn’t completely offend me, the majority of the shirts for little girls revolved around shopping, love, and candy.  Sometimes,  a combination of all three:

I probably would have accepted this without the "You Drive me" part.“Have romantic relationships at five! Eat junk food! Buy our product!”

Seriously, people wonder why we are raising a bunch of vapid, self obsessed, shopaholics who aspire to be like such “role models” as  Paris Hilton.

Buy me stuff!And we wonder why we have all these over-sexualized tweens running around:

That's right. Learn to manipulate them young!

For the record, The boys shirts were awesome, and I would have bought any one of them for The Kid.  But by the time I got to them, I was pretty well disgusted.

Boys, apparently, get to be superheroes. They get Star Wars, Star Trek, and Batman Shirts.  Their Beatles shirts aren’t fucking pink.

As a mother to three girls, when I see shit like this, I just want to cry. I mean, I know this isn’t the only, or even the worst instance of this. This happens all the time. (Have you seen Bratz dolls? And Bratz babies with thongs? Gah.)

But it’s going to continue unless we, as parent’s, and consumers,  start doing something about it. Refusing to buy shit like this. See it for what it is. We should think about using our considerable power to force retailers into  thinking about the message they’re trying to send our girls, instead of just slapping random cutsey crap onto shirts, dying it barbie-barf-pink, and calling it a day. It’s not innocent and harmless. Especially when it’s everywhere.

So, I propose we say “Fuck the Gap.” And anyone else who wants to keep pushing this crap on us and our girls. And boys for that matter.

I know how hard it is not to give in to this, and let our kids wear this stuff, let them learn this stuff, especially as they get older and start pushing to be like their friends, but it’s ridiculous for us to expect this to change if we don’t do something about it. We need to stop telling ourselves it doesn’t matter, that it’s just a silly little thing. That girls should only love pink and candy and shopping while boys save the world.

It matters. Pass it on.

Yeah. Stupid clothing aimed at little girls is nothing new. But I’m glad the issue has come up again. I actually went out and did some browsing, just to see the kind of things that are going around in the more popular retail stores lately. I was surprised by a few things.

1-The Gap graphic shirts for girls this year are actually pretty awesome. Hurray Gap!Maybe they got my memo.

2-Even Wal-Mart doesn’t sell shit like that. When you can manage to have worse clothing than Wal-Mart, you’re pretty bad indeed.

3-The offensive shirt that started the frenzy? Not the only one available at JCP right now. Observe:

The ad says: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and this screen printed tee makes a strong statement about her love for “bling.”

I just hate the word “Bling,” A lot.

Apparently, girls love cupcakes and puppies. And Shopping. And “BFF’s” How about Math, Science and Superman?

And, you know, they like stuff too. Like Shoes. And hearts. And shopping of course. And cute furry things.

Also, girls can’t spell three letter words without making their brothers do it for them. And the girl who made this shirt didn’t have a brother. Like OMG WTF. 

It’s an ongoing issue, and something we need to constantly be on the lookout for. The messages aimed at our daughters tell them that they must be pretty and pink, and it’s only cool for them to love stuff like “BFF’s” and ZOMGPUPPIES and Flowers and Hearts and cupcakes, of course- lets not forget the over-sugared, obesity encouraging junk food. They are told that they don’t need to have brains, as long as they have looks, and because they are girls, how they look is valued over all else. Our kids are bombarded by these messages every day, and we obviously have the power to do something about it, if today was any example. So let’s keep fighting the good fight.


Shirts like that make my unicorn vomit.


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