Is kiddie fashion subjected to gender roles?

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

On the heels of the Johnny Weir controversy, in which Olympic commentators criticized the skater for his "foofy" attire, people are speaking out about their feelings on gender roles and how they are expressed, reinforced or challenged by fashion. Where does true self-expression start and what influences are most powerful?

Some photos of celebrity kids have the online world abuzz about gender roles. While Suri Cruise teeters in tot heels, plays with lipstick and carries an $850 mini version of mom Katie's Ferragamo bag, Brad and Angelina’s daughter Shiloh Jolie-Pitt dons fedoras like dad and often sports a tie. Masculine and feminine stereotypes have long been debated, but what are your thoughts?

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Heather - posted on 03/15/2010

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Meghan....I love your post and agree totally 100%! I fully intend on letting my son pick out his own clothes and my hubby and I imagine he will be like the little boy in the movie "Big Daddy" lol I cant wait! I dont want to hold my child back in any way...I want him to feel free to explore whatever interests him :)

[deleted account]

I always let my daughter pick out her own clothes...she freeken loves batman but do they make batman shirts for girls HECK NO...so we shop in the boys section occasionally no big deal I let her wear what she likes if she wants and likes a shirt in the boys section I buy it...I even let her pick out what she wants to wear for the day if its a red Elmo shirt with green pants and a pink tutu (which she has worn and I have taken her out in) who cares!!!!! I snap a photo to remember it forever she loves to get compliments on her outfits, she proudly declares "i dressed myself like a big girl!"...its all part of growing up and its adorable to me! Eventually she will be freaking out and yelling "I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEAR" when there are hundreds of shirts and pants hanging in her closet or that her shoes don't match her purse...I think its cute and I wouldn't change her for the world!



It's a great lesson in tolerance--yes, even at a very young age--for parents to accept a child's individualism in fashion and appearance. As the child ages and matures, the lesson can be stepped up to 'live and let live' and getting to know the individual, not the look.



It's less the adjectives used by the commentators (Olympic or otherwise) than the intention behind the words. In the case of Johnny Weir, foofy = too gay . . . which is obviously a shame since Johnny's costumes are clearly an expression of his own personal style. For kids, celeb or otherwise, if they show a genuine interest in fedoras, heels or lipstick (even if simply from the standpoint of "being like mommy or daddy") those impulses should be indulged as a means of fostering their sense of style, creativity and passion. Children learn gender bias from their parents . . . it's wonderful when parents allow their kids to explore what stimulates them without editing based on society's generally-accepted standards of what boys "should" wear or what's "appropriate" for girls.

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LaCi - posted on 03/19/2010

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Hm. If I had a girl she would probably be dressed boyishly. My son is usually just in polos and plaid shorts now that its warm, however, I love putting him in costumes while he's too young to care lol. Often a panda or dragon suit, fit like pjs. I can't help myself. :x

Heather - posted on 03/15/2010

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I live in Ohio too...and I agree about the need for warm clothes here!
I wanted a little girl sooo bad when I was pregnant with my son...dont get me wrong...I wouldnt change a thing now that he's here, but they have wayyyy cuter clothes for girls and usually a much bigger selection of girls clothes at most stores....oh well...maybe next time :)

Amy - posted on 03/15/2010

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well, i live in ohio. the girl clothes they make are cute- but not warm. so i dress my daughter in boy clothes for the winter. being warm is more important than being cute. in the summer she has her dresses and her tinkerbell/ariel swimsuits. she is a total daddy's girl and is ticked that she doesn't have any "shorts" instead of panties. i haven't bought her any boy undies because i know she'll discover a hole and be like, what's that for? it's broken! so i guess i do limit her on how boyish she goes. my mom thought she was buying a swimsuit and it was a little girl's bra and panty - my daughter is 3. she does NOT need a bra. lol.. but she wanted to be like mommy and i let her wear it occassionally. i have a son who is not old enough to dress himself. daddy's only rule is no pink and no dresses. :) anything else goes.



as far as weir....lol. my husband says any male figure skater looks a foof. costumes are just part of it. heck, patrick swayze took ballet, but we all swooned and never questioned his manhood in Dirty Dancing. I guess all in all - my kids will choose their own clothes within reason. i refuse to let my daughter wear a mini skirt until a certain age [30, claims her father] and don't want my son to wear one either :), but they can pretty much pick out own clothes when old enough.

[deleted account]

I love to let her get dressed...the only time I dress her is if we are going to go get professional pics taken for a holiday or something...but even then she gets to pick out one outfit she likes and get her pics taken in it I usually buy one 5x7 of it and frame it on the wall...

[deleted account]

If it couldn't be just thrown in the washing machine and pegged out I wasn't interested! People kept giving me frilly things for the girls, but no-one offered to come and iron the frills!

Melissa - posted on 03/13/2010

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I personally don't care what people wear, but I will also say that I will 'look' more at those dressed outside of the norm. I don't like to dress my son in stereotypical clothing. I don't purchase sports outfits, or cars, etc. I would have no problem dressing him in colors considered to be 'girl colors' ie. pink/purple. But my husband doesn't like that idea.

Jessica - posted on 03/13/2010

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Wanted to add, within bountries....I don't think little girls should be running around looking like little Prosta-tots!

Jessica - posted on 03/13/2010

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Thats awsome that your daughter loves Batman Meghan, I'm 24 and happen to be a big batman fan and have been since I was a kid. As a kid most of my birthday party pics you will find that I am dressed like a princess and did my own kiddie make up ( look more like drag queen! lol ) but the themes i picked for my parties were very often Teenage mutant ninja turtles! lol I think that kids should totally be able to start picking out there own style at young age. :)

Belinda - posted on 03/13/2010

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"It's a great lesson in tolerance--yes, even at a very young age--for parents to accept a child's individualism in fashion and appearance."

Augh and still sooo hard. My daughter kills me. I do my best to let her go...but sometimes, I have to draw the line. Like the jeans under leotard. That CAN"T be comfortable.

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