Emilie, school teacher and blogger extraordinaire over at Teaching Ain’t For Heroes, was kind enough to give me some insight on shopping for boy clothing. And I thought I had it rough with girls!
I kind of always knew I was having a boy. It was just a hunch. I just couldn’t imagine having a girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a daughter and would be delighted with a girl, but my surprise pregnancy just had some sort of boy vibe to me. I like being the mother of a boy. I’m not sure what would be different, aside from diaper changes, about having a boy, but this seems like the gig for me. If I could make one complaint about being the mother of a boy, it would be the clothes.
Shopping for clothes when you have a boy can be a frustrating, depressing and futile process. Just walking into the clothing section of Target or any children’s clothing store is depressing. You walk in and you see that approximately three quarters of the floor is dedicated to girl clothing. Not only that, it’s all freaking adorable! The first time I walked into my local Children’s Place, there was a tiny corner for baby boys while the girl baby clothes took up more than a quarter of the store.
Then there’s the variety. Boys don’t have
many looks to choose from. You can do dinosaurs, motor vehicles and sports. A lot of the shirts talk about how boys are “Daddy’s Little Champ” or the kind of annoying “Daddy’s Wingman”. Boys also sport labeled shirts explaining that they are wild, trouble makers or ladies’ men. As boys get older, they move into the camouflage, skulls and rock star clothes.
What really boils me up about shopping for clothes isn’t the lack of variety or the fact that the girls get double the space. No, the problem is that despite the label shirts, there are some nice unisex clothes in the boy clothing section. The girl section? There are what would be nice unisex clothes that have little flowers sewn on the pockets or those darn ruffles on the sleeves. So even if I could venture into the girl section for a little variety, the clothes are still all girl.
I could make some rant about how we over label our children using gender. I know the labeling isn’t unique to boys. Girls are princesses and brats with flowers and pink everywhere. The reality is that they sell. Girls get more space because people like to dress up little girls more than little boys. People buy the sports and dinosaurs, so they make more of it. We could try to figure out what came first, the chicken or the gender labels that distort clothing ideals for small people in America, but there are other options out there for those willing to look.
Despite all of my ranting and thinking about clothes, my son tends to do his own thing. My husband is always the one who drops him off at day care. As I picked him up sporting an orange shirt and blue pajama pants, which my husband informs me, were what he insisted on wearing, I realized that overanalyzing the clothing options for boys is useless when my kid is just going to pick out his own clothes anyway.
Emilie writes Teaching Ain’t For Heroes, a blog giving readers a rare inside look at the school system, the children within it, and the state and federal programs and regulations that are working…or not. She can also be found on Facebook.
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