Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Baby clothes are now sexually explicit

“Putting something that’s a bit inappropriate on a canvas that’s used by something that’s so pure…it’s like spitting in holy water and I think that’s bold and appealing to some people,” he said.

It certainly seems that people are buying these designs for the surprise and humor factors, and that other adults are the main target of these slogans. In reviews of an Etsy shopshoppers raved about a monkey that says, “My daddy only plays with the box I came out of!”

“Great gift for my baby! My wife was not amused! I received this in a timely manner and am happy with this company!” a customer wrote.

In another review, an aspiring mom laid out her plans for a onesie with the same “nutPickar’s stock catchphrase.

“This is so cute! My love and I are trying to have a baby in a year and when I saw this bodysuit I knew I had found what I was going to surprise him with! …we have a joke between the two of us that this is a perfect fit ♥️ I am so happy with it!” she wrote.

Another salesperson, Janet Smith of LittleLillyBugDesign, also told me that he has seen an increase in sales of irreverent baby clothes in recent months. Her store sells children’s clothing, including a jumpsuit printed with a picture of boobs and the slogan “eat local.”

“There seems to be a trend of doing couples’ baby showers so people like to buy a gift that will also include the new dad,” she said in a direct message on Etsy.

Major retailers like Buy Buy Baby are likely stocking these types of clothing in a similar fashion due to customer demand (a store spokesperson did not respond to inquiries about these items).

I am not a prude and I believe in free will. If you want to dress your baby in a t-shirt that declares that he is a boobs man, more power to you. (My baby will only wear neutrals, like a instagram babe.) But what are we supposed to do with the cognitive dissonance of seeing this kind of hypersexuality singled out for us while culture wars rage under the guise of “protecting children”?

Several states are introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation, and last month the governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis signed into law the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, which ban debate of LGBTQ people and their rights, among other provisions, in public school classrooms from kindergarten through third grade. It is clear that many people have no problem with “sexualizing” children, as long as conservative norms of gender and sexuality are firmly enforced.

Social media is full of rants claiming that affirming LGBTQ identities is somehow exposing children to sexual topics before they are ready to understand them. Yet popular baby stores are awash with clothing that proclaims these same children to be raging balls of heterosexual lust, or warns potential suitors of literal babies.

Ultimately, Paoletti said, these kinds of clothes, and other hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine clothing (trucks for boys, ties for girls), serve to reinforce the gender binary so acutely that it can unconsciously play into gender stereotypes as the child grows up, especially if it’s part of “lots, lots of messages this kid was getting during the first few years of his life.”

“We’ve accelerated the gender of babies long before birth,” he said. “And we’ve been doing that for 40 years. So it’s not surprising that what happens is that when the little boy starts to misbehave and be aggressive and the girl starts to act flirtatious or shy, it’s [like], Oh well, yes, because it’s a girl; that’s because she’s a boy, never imagining that you had anything to do with it.” ●


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