Thursday, January 11, 2007

My days are numbered...

Since classes ended in December, Bigfella has remained going to daycare when he's been healthy. The healthy days have been sparse this month, but on the days he goes to daycare, I have had hours stretching luxuriously in front of me.

But don't worry--I haven't let my brain completely rot. I have spent that time doing research. Important research like watching "The View" each morning. Yesterday, (and I can't even believe I am saying this) Elisabeth Hasselbeck said something important. Yes, Elisabeth Hasselbeck the formula spokeswoman, social conservative, Bush-supporting talk show host said something important about gender roles. I tried to find the video clip to post, but I couldn't locate it on line.

Basically, she was watching her daughter Grace play at the park, and realized that she was not climbing and running as much as she did at home. So, she looked at Grace's jeans, and compared them to a pair of boys' jeans in the same size. The boys' jeans were looser, stretchier, and had a higher rise. So, and this is why I have some respect for the woman, she bought Gracie boy's jeans. As she said, she didn't want her daughter's activities constricted or dictated by her clothing.

So, while we are not currently raising a daughter, this little example of the subtle shaping of girlhood by commerce sticks with me. While we have always looked for clothing for Bigfella that is not actively encoding gender roles into him, we have only looked to avoid sports symbols, tools and construction equipment. We had always assumed that our theoretical daughter would be similarly dressed: no overload of pink, no frills, no toddler belly shirts, no rhinestones. It had never dawned on me that the cut of the clothing would be different.

It really made me stop and think about how pervasive gender coding is, and how subtle some of it actually is...


At 7:28 AM, Blogger party b said...

WOW! I never even thought about the rise of toddler pants.

It's a struggle to dress a girl in appropriate clothing. She has some R*beez with an excavator on them (a gift as the other mommy works with them!)... but lots and lots of pink... and stupid ruffles on the butt...

and football and baseball outfits too (team stuff but also "generic")... she had a onesie that said "future slugger" and i got, uhm, not nice reaction to it when I said she is a girl!

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous nessa said...

Boy jeans? That's brilliant. We just avoid jeans because a cloth-diapered rear does NOT fit into widely-marketed toddler (or baby) jeans.

Elisabeth Hasslebeck, huh? At least she didn't go off on a rant about it. (Or did she? LOL)

Also, I gave up on the fighting of the pink. I don't buy it, but I do allow it on her. If this one is a boy, we are SCREWED on clothing though.

This just reaffirms how difficult it is to find truly gender neutral clothing.


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