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Why Girl's Clothes Need an Update

Why Girl's Clothes Need an Update

When you think of a “girl”, I’m sure a few stereotypical words and ideas automatically pop into your mind, like “gentle,” “cute,” “pretty,” or “pink” (but if not, I applaud you). I previously wrote about the, Reasons Why I’m Not Ready to Raise a Girl, and I discussed a few concerns I have about the responsibility that comes with raising a girl. One of my reasons was because of the “Think Pink” mentality. It’s the constant promotion of what a girl is expected to be and behave like and a mentality that can be harmful and stifling to an individual and their individuality.   Unfortunately, gender roles are made explicitly clear through adult interactions, television, toys and even clothes.

Have you ever been in the kids department looking for a shirt for a little girl and all you were able to find were “princess this” and “cutie that” or graphics with soft cuddly kittens? Or short shorts and fluffy tulle tutus? Now that I’m having a girl, I’ve been paying more attention to the clothes and what style I want my daughter to have while I still have control over it. The more I browse through the different tiers of children’s stores, the more I hate what I have to chose from. I really do think clothing brands need to update girl’s clothes and their overall message for girls. Not only that, the options overall are lacking. Every store was heavy in one, if not all, of the following:

  1. Graphics/verbiage that convey a girls voice in a negative light, like “sassy.”
  2. Graphics/verbiage that promote the importance of a girl’s beauty.
  3. Limited color palates that fall between pink, yellow or purple and a few neon pastels. If you wanted a true blue or green, forget about it.
  4. Ruffles, poofs, gathers, tiers, frills and tulle. A lot of it.
  5. Very short shorts and skirts.

This is what sells in girl clothes, so why change it? Brands make their money and our girls look pretty walking down the street. There’s no problem, right? Sure. There’s no problem if you want to continue on with the values our society has deemed valuable for us. Without the update on girl clothes, these ideas are what will always circulate. To me, this is what the above translates to:

  1. Graphics and verbiage that convey a girls voice in a negative light starts dismissing the power and thought behind the female’s mind. Any passionate contradicting idea a girl may voice won’t be considered intelligent but just her being “sassy” again.
  2. Graphics and verbiage that promote beauty and nothing else gets little girls to think their beauty is their most import asset. It’s only enhanced when there isn’t any recognition of anything else such as sciences, math or the importance of the mind anywhere on the floor.
  3. Limited color palates only perpetuate that pink is a “girl” color. It continues to put a barrier between what’s expected of masculinity and femininity.
  4. Ruffles, poofs, gathers, tiers, frills and tulle. A lot of it and none of which is seen in the boy’s section. Again, something to further separate the idea of what’s masculine and feminine.
  5. Very short shorts and skirts. Before I paid attention to this, I read a post from a mom who pointed out Target's clothing variation between boys and girls.   She noticed that the same size shorts for boys and girls at the same age are two different lengths; the boy’s shorts are significantly longer than the girls. There is absolutely no benefit to this whatsoever. It’s another separation between genders but it also gets the little girl used to wearing short items that expose more of their bodies.

Now, I’m not going to be a stick in the mud and say that everything looked awful because there were a number of pieces that I wanted to buy on the spot but there was also a lot that left me feeling we need to do better. As the feminist movement moves forward, I think now is as good a time as any to update girls clothes.

What are your thoughts? Am I thinking too much? Or do you agree that there needs to be an update in girl’s clothes that offers more of variety? Let me know in the comments below.

Update

After having Ava, there's no surprise that I find myself shopping in both the boys and girls sections of stores. 

There has been a gradual change in the graphics of girls clothing that I've seen.  Animals and science are more visible but they're still in pink and glitter.  Baby steps, I guess.

Anyways, when picking out clothes, besides thinking of the items functionality, I think how it'll benefits Ava's mind and thoughts if the shirt (or item) were memorialized in a picture.

Yes, a shirt can be cute and cool but it can also be educational on so many levels.

Do you have the same thoughts when it comes to girls clothes and how you purchase them?

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