Yesterday, I made a very rare trip to the mall to pick up some back to school clothes for my children. My oldest daughter, PinkyPinkyPie, will be twelve years old this year, and like almost all pre-teen girls, she has an intense interest in her clothing and how she presents herself.
Pinky has never been one to care much about clothes. As long as they are comfortable, she’s happy. And while comfort is still a big factor for her, she has now added a sense of “fashion” to her sartorial requirements. And I have to say, I adore Pinky’s sense of fashion. Last year, for indoor shoes, she had a pair of sapphire blue sequined combat boots, which I absolutely loved! This year, she picked a pair of black sequined combat boots with silver stars and bright purple laces.
How awesome are those boots? Totally girly, but not over the top Princess girly. Pinky is having a love affair with skulls, camouflage and animal prints, too, and she glams them up with sparkles and small touches of pink or purple. Here is her beloved camo ballet skirt outfit, and I’ve lifted up the edge of the skirt to show that not only is it lined, there are built in shorts so she can do pretty much anything she likes without exposing herself.
It’s really not that hard to find girl clothes that are not painfully frilly or cutesy pie or inappropriately mature for the age group. To be certain, if you go looking for hooker clothes for 12 year olds, you will find them, but you can just as easily find clever, cute, empowering clothing, too.
The store we love is called Justice, and while you will occasionally see the “Girls can do anything rah rah rah” bullshit, for the most part, the clothes celebrate girls without implicitly claiming victimhood or denigrating boys.
I mean, really, the whole “girls can do anything, girls can be anything” sloganeering strongly implies “if no one holds us back”, doesn’t it? It teaches girls to think of themselves as defying some sort of force that keeps them down. To think of themselves, in other words, as victims.
My daughter is not a victim. The only thing holding her down or back is herself. I will not allow her to pass the responsibility for her own life and her own choices off onto some nebulous creation that somehow “victimizes” her before she even begins.
My dad is my BFF! How sweet is that? Pinky’s Dad is not her BFF, and he’s happy to demonstrate that when she crosses boundaries, but the sentiment is incredibly lovely, and it’s not something you see very often, is it? The celebration of love between fathers and daughters.
Sadly, some chick named Sharon Choski has never heard of Justice clothing, and is apparently unfamiliar with the fact that girls don’t actually get arrested or sentenced to hard time for preferring t-shirts hanging in the boy’s department. The last time I was at Wal-mart, no one checked to make sure I was buying those Star Wars and Lego graphic tees for my son.
Sharon was so dismayed by the lack of alternatives to girly frilly shit, and so stumped by the alternative of shopping in the boy’s department, that she created a clothing line that consists of t-shirts just for girls.
What makes these t-shirts just for girls? Well, they are sized to avoid that boxy boy look. You know, a little more form-fitting. To draw attention to the girl’s bodies as feminine. Hey, way to subvert those gender expectations and get girls to think their bodies are the most important thing about them!
I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with girls being aware of the power their bodies have, but it’s rather rich to claim some feminist, gender defiance impulse inspired your clothing line, and then design clothes to emphasize a girl’s body.
We hope this shirt is just the beginning of our story. Because we believe there is a need for all kinds of clothes that follow the Girls Will Be style – colors beyond pink, no girly embellishments, imagery that breaks gender stereotypes, and styles that let girls be kids.
Our style is quite simple, yet incredibly hard to find. We tweaked a traditional unisex t-shirt to give it a slimmer fit, ever-so-slight shape to the body, less boxy sleeves with a “just right” length, and lighter weight fabric.
And what do the shirts look like?
Pretty boring, if you ask me.
Nothing you can’t find at any Wal-mart or Target. And what’s up with this one?
Popsicles? Things you lick and suck? Oh, okay. Nothing to read into that.
Here are the ones that really interest me:
Be daring. Bold, fearless, adventurous. Oh really? Bold, like SlaneGirl bold, or bold like Captain Kirk? Why not just get her a Captain Kirk t-shirt?
A message like that without any context can easily be misconstrued into “do whatever the fuck you want and damn the consequences”. Just the message young girls need. Consequences do not apply to you.
I am me. Good for you, sweetheart, but YOU are not the only person in the world who matters. Stop thinking about YOU for a second and try considering everyone around you for a change. Yeah, narcissism is exactly what young girls need to add to their trove of virtues.
What about meeeeeeeeeeee?
Be awesome. Sure. Go ahead. How are we defining awesome again? Make robots? Swim with sharks? Be an astronaut? Fly 747s?
Hate to break it to you, cupcake, but it’s mostly boys who will grow up to do and be those things.
Women make up about 5% of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at major and regional carriers in the United States and Canada.
Most engineers building robots and every other useful thing are men.
More than twice as many men than women attend graduate school for computer science fields, and more than four times as many men are enrolled in engineering,
When women like Sharon tell young girls that girly shirts celebrating femininity and all the attendant attributes are unacceptable, what they are essentially telling girls is YOU SUCK. And feminists applaud message because they just love women so much, right?
Being a girl is shameful. Having feminine interests and inclinations is wrong. Preferring colors and accessories that appeal to women is bad. Everything about being a girl is disgraceful and distasteful.
Unless they act like boys. Pretend you love sharks and robots and baseball and always, always go ahead and just be your awesome self!
Do you see the disconnect? I certainly do, and it pisses me off. Girls, be yourself, as long as by “yourself”, you mean just like a boy. Boys are way better anyways, aren’t they?
Hey, I love boys. I grew up surrounded by them and I have one of my own, and he is totally adorable and very much a boy. I also love my girls and I am perfectly comfortable with my girls liking girly things.
Because I don’t hate girls. Or the feminine. And I don’t believe that just because women aren’t engineers or airline pilots, we are worth less than men. We’re different. What the fuck is wrong with different?
Some girls hate frills. They really do love sharks and robots and baseball. And that is awesome. Just because some girls are tomboys doesn’t mean we need to shame and hate little girls who are feminine and like to look that way. And we sure as hell don’t need to set little girls up to think that only male interests and occupations are worth pursuing and that failure is the result of some imaginary forcefield holding all the girls down.
Poor little sparkly victims in their sequined shoes and pink tutus.
It’s bullshit. And there is no need to create clothing lines that aren’t feminine. Those clothes already exist.
They’re in the boy’s department.
If your girl loves monster trucks and pro-wrestling, then head on over to boy’s wear.
And leave the rest of us alone. We like our frills and rainbows and tutus and sparkles.
And we love girls.
Lots of love,