“Boy” clothes, “girl” clothes

As a parent who frequently finds herself having to shop the boys’ section to find sweaters that aren’t drowning in ruffles and glitter, I really appreciated this Washington Post piece about the (somehow relentlessly ever-deepening) gender divide in clothes and toys. How is it that in 2015 there are still stores that specify “girl” toys and “boy” toys — and people who flip out when a retailer makes it a point not to use those distinctions (seriously, read the comments on this Target post — or maybe don’t)?

From WaPo:

The push for clothes like those at Princess Awesome seems good to Brown. “Not all girls like the same type of clothing,” she said. Her daughter, a kindergartner, likes superheroes. Brown finds herself most often in the boys’ section because it has more selection for her daughter.

“But a lot of people don’t want to go to the boys’ section,” she said.

And not all boys like to wear shirts with just trucks or sports on them. As one commenter noted on the now-viral Pottery Barn Facebook post, her son likes trucks and the color blue, but also butterflies, baby dolls and cooking.

“Anything that just lets your kid be how they are is only a positive for the kid,” Brown said.

Amen.

Right now I have near-total control over R’s wardrobe. I like to dress her in things that are comfortable and age-appropriate — and yes, that I think are stylish and cute (because getting dressed should be fun, too). Just having turned 2, she still doesn’t have a lot of strong preferences (although she loves necklaces, hats and boots, and if she could figure out how to wear all her necklaces, hats and boots at the same time, she’d pull it off). As she gets older, she’ll get to make more of her own choices. If she chooses ruffles and rhinestones, that’s up to her, but I hope it’ll be because that’s what she wants and not because that’s what she thinks she’s supposed to want. And if I had a little boy, I hope I would be open-minded enough to let him do the same if ruffles and rhinestones are what he wants, too.

Worth noting: My brother used to wear barrettes in his hair, take his Cabbage Patch Kid everywhere and gravitate toward hot pink like a fly to a flame. He grew up to be a straight man who does some kind of finance job that involves modeling investment projections. Just saying.

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