I was walking down the baby’s clothing aisle, minding my own business, when a bright romper caught my attention. The turquoise was bright against the dull colors and I could see the very carefully placed words that demanded my attention. The shirt said something like this: “Pick me up, darlin’… I [heart] older chicks”.
I didn’t quite know whether to chuckle or to raise my eyebrows. I knew that this shirt was supposed to be funny, and in a way, it was. Yet it made me uncomfortable, if not offended. There is such a fine line between funny and offensive and it is often times hard to tell which side to put a given instance on. When I shared my dilemma with a friend, explaining how I am unsure if I am over reacting or if this truly is a problem and a reflection of our human condition, I got a good natured text back “To what extent does kid’s clothing represent the human condition LOL?”
The answer is indeed “To a great extent.” The child who wears this shirt may not have a clue as to what it is saying, but the one who got the shirt for the child does. I am yet to come across a baby girl’s romper that says “Pick me up darling… I love older dudes”. Something tells me that that shirt wouldn’t be quite as popular. This shirt bothered me when I first saw it but I suppressed my annoyance with it, telling myself that it’s just a joke. But it is our acceptance of such jokes that gives the impression to our sons that it is okay to disrespect women. It is this reluctance to “overreact” that tells society that it is okay for our sons to grow up and address women by the word that originally referred to poultry.
Everything around us in some shape or form affects and reflects our thinking. There are so many subtle ways we shame women everywhere, from the “What were you wearing?” to the simple “man up”. Sexism, racism, colorism, and the countless other isms that people among us are subjected to: they are all sneaky. Don’t let them get places like your children’s wardrobes.