Sex and Sexism For Babies
I’m fully caught up in looking at baby stuff these days. I’ve never enjoyed shopping, but apparently I love baby shopping. I was waiting for a ride in a Toys R Us the other day when I encountered something HORRIBLE.
This is a set of bibs. The words (in case you can’t see the images) are “Flirt”, “Handsome”, “Hunk”, “Li’l Dude”, “Jock”, “Single”, and “Stud”.
You can buy these for actual babies, in a mainstream baby-stuff store, although I have no idea why you would want to.
I am continually bothered and amazed by people’s abilities to casually sexualize their babies. I cringe every time I hear someone refer to their baby as “flirting” or assure me that the kid is going to be a heart breaker someday. Your baby isn’t flirting. Ou is attempting to communicate and relate to other people, and it’s inappropriate to assume that ou is doing so in order to get sex. Also, I don’t really care whether or not people will find your baby sexually appealing 15 years from now. It’s a completely weird topic, and I don’t understand why you bring it up.
Over half of these bibs explicitly sexualize the baby boy in question. There’s “Single” (to make sure I know the baby is available) and “Flirt”. Then there’s “Hunk” to reassure me that the baby has a hot body. Finally, there’s “Stud”, explicitly referring to the baby as available for quality breeding. Disgusting.
The remaining three bibs are all specifically gendered, but less offensive otherwise. “Jock” seems a little presumptuous, “Handsome” veers close to sexualization, but isn’t nearly as offensive as “Stud”, and “Li’l Dude” seems pretty innocuous, beyond the gendering.
Note the complete lack of pastel colors, also, in case there was any doubt that we’re talking about boys here.
After I got over my initial gasping horror at these things, I looked around to see if there was a comparable set for girls (initially noticeable by the complete lack of primary colors). Guess what I found! More horror!
These are a little harder to read, but they are “I Love Bling”, “High Chair Hottie”, “High Maintenance”, “99% Angel”, “The Princess”, “Major Attitude”, and “Heartbreaker”.
Wow. Where to begin?
First, the sex, I guess. Here only two are explicitly about sexualizing the baby. “Heartbreaker” I already talked about. Then we have the “Hunk” companion – “High Chair Hottie”. Because that’s what babies have been lacking all this time – clothes that announce to adults how sexually appealing their bodies are. Ugh.
Then there are two that declare the child is difficult to deal with: “High Maintenance” and “Major Attitude”. And two more that label her as shallow and/or expensive: “I Love Bling” and “The Princess”.
“99% Angel” is the only one that I can’t work up a huge complaint about.
Taken together, these sets of bibs are horrific. You can label your baby boy as hot, ready for sex, and into sports. Your baby girl can also be hot, but also shallow and annoying as shit. Great.
I can’t believe that these are being sold in Toys R Us, instead of on some offensive T-shirt website. I can’t believe that people would think these are cute for babies to wear. On the other hand, maybe I can believe it, and that is truly scary.
Edited to Add: This post was made before comment threading was added on LoveLiveGrow. The old comments are unthreaded but you can now reply to them, and the new comments are threaded. This may create some confusion in the comments, for which I apologize.
Issa is a wild and rebellious mama who wants to live a carefree life where that little anxious voice is put on mute. How about you? As a writer she feels successful if just one other person feels any comfort or inspiration from what she’s written.