Monday, October 17, 2016

About That T-Shirt Video

Recently I viewed a video on facebook about gendered t-shirts for kids. Specifically, a young girl was unhappy that "everyone thinks that girls should just be pretty and boys should just be adventurous." She dislikes that children's clothing is separated into "boys" and "girls" at all, but she's really offended that girls are labeled as "pretty," as if there are not other traits that are important in being a female.

If the video were accurate (they viewed only 6 shirts), I might agree. But it isn't. I know this because I see about 125 kids every day where I work. I see the shirts the girls wear, and their messages are much broader than that! So today I randomly asked all the girls I saw who wore t-shirts with words on them, if I could take photos of their shirts. Here's what I found:
 

 "Fear Less Sweat More" is more typical of what these girls wear.
Their parents want tough, independent girls who will not be preyed upon.
 

There's a real push to encourage girls to be themselves,
not to cow to pressure from anyone to deny themselves.
 

 

The one on the right says "Ruling" - as in, girls rule.
This shirt shows that girls can feel LOTS of different ways!
Later, I saw two more shirts but had no chance to photograph them. One said "Girls Rule!" and the other said, "I'm the fabulous one in the family," Fabulous was, for some reason, another term in the video that the little girl didn't like. Why? I don't have a clue!
We should all be aware that some folks in the world make videos and memes and write articles for the sole goal of goading people to feel a certain way. They want to make you feel angry, feel victimized, feel marginalized, feel afraid. They may even prompt you to feel offended for another group other than yourself, as in this case. We're supposed to be affronted for all the girls in the world who are being fed a vapid, dangerous message: You're physically beautiful, and all that matters is your looks!

Except that's not what girls are being told, thankfully. They're being told they're strong, athletic, in charge, capable of anything, emotionally complicated, cool just as they are, and lovers of the world. That's pretty good, I think!

5 comments:

  1. I think some people make videos for the publicity or even for any income that might come their way. Someone as young as 8 must have had a lot of help from an adult to make this video. Maybe she really believes what she is saying. But she is young and still has a lot of t-shirts to see, such as the ones in your blog.

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  2. That annoys me when people just choose a narrow cross-section for their own purpose. Rather like my work colleague who presented pros and cons for turning my music room into an Technology room and then proceeded to not bother with any pros for all the other proposed locations. Her agenda was shocking. I think there is plenty of choice for girls on what to wear. Why does she even need a slogan? She is obviously only lazily looking in one place.

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  3. Isn't it interesting, the t-shirt statement trend? When I was young the only thing on a t-shirt was a school name/mascot. I wish things would go back to plain, don't you?

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  4. I never understood why any of us need to have "words" on our clothes. I didn't put my kids in T-shirts with a message, but I know they wore worded shirts when they were teens. I think sometimes kids wear whatever is "out there" or affordable and whatever is trending at the time more than to express themselves. But I'm not a parent of young kids anymore so maybe I don't know.

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  5. I'm glad you did the research - Just from what I've noticed casually, I agree that the messages are not promoting any kind of sexist delineation.

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