It all started when we realized our son’s favorite color was yellow. (In retrospect, it should have been evident — the first flower name he learned was “daffodil;” his favorite animal was a giraffe — parents can be slow on the uptake.) Off I went to the boys’ section of the local big box store and local thrift stores to find a yellow t-shirt for a year-old boy. Nope.
Navy blue, sure; brown, no problem. Red, perhaps. But no yellow. Undaunted, I figured I’d just bop over to the girls’ section and get one there; after all, a t-shirt’s a t-shirt, right?
But in the girls’ section, the yellow shirts had lace around the collar. And puffed sleeves. And gathers in front. And a bow. Really? No just basic yellow shirt? Why not?
That was 3+ years ago, and I will say that you can find yellow t-shirts in the boys’ section now. However, they are all emblazoned with what I call hyper-masculine images — trucks, sports, and the like — or with licensed characters like superheroes and SpongeBob Squarepants (more about him, later).
Maybe if I weren’t so darn contrary, or maybe if my son weren’t so clear about his self-performance through clothing, it would have just been a “Huh, weird” moment.
But he started asking questions, like, “Why do girls get all the fun clothes?” And I began paying lots of attention to how we white middle class (or posing as middle class) folks dress our girls and boys. And it’s pretty freaky.
Thus this blog: to share stores and pictures of how things are; to share alternatives; to ask questions; to draw lines between preschool clothing and lots of other topics — like domestic violence, bullying, war, misogyny, homophobia, and the current identity crisis for adult men.