SPACE GIRLS OUT?
IT WOULD BE A BLAST TO SEE GENDER EQUALITY IN KIDS’ CLOTHES
We all want our children to be whatever they want when they grow up. No profession or animal is out of bounds.
Want to be a chef ? You’ll hand them an apron, spoon and ingredients for a cake (which have a higher chance of coating your walls than ending up in the bowl).
Love the water? You’ll take them to swim lessons, sipping coffee by the pool.
For children to have these dreams, they need to see that anything is possible. They won’t know they want to be an ape until you’ve exhausted that family zoo pass or watched Madagascar so many times that you’ve considered throwing your television out.
Part of how these goals will become clear to them – consciously or through osmosis – is through what products are marketed to them because unless you’re going to decamp to a cave in the hills you can’t avoid advertising.
You also can’t avoid having your own set of hopes for your little one. My partner and I are big on space. He did an internship at the Parkes dish and I have moved a giant telescope from rental to rental (don’t ask me
how often it’s been taken out of the box). Our daughter doesn’t realise it (she’s 11 months) but she’s being gently nudged to reach for the stars. When I saw that there was a NASA kids’ range in Kmart, I went in armed to buy.
After fossicking for 10 minutes and picking up three other items I hadn’t intended on buying, I still couldn’t see the NASA hoodie that I had seen listed online. Instead of giving up when it didn’t appear to be in the cosmos of the girls’ section, I went to the boys’ section where it was displayed with three other kinds of NASA branded shirts.
Do only boys have those green glowing stars stuck to their bedroom ceilings?
I’ve been getting cranky about these unnecessary gender differences in children’s clothes since I started frequenting the baby sections in stores.
I didn’t notice the bias when I was buying gifts for my nephew because he loves dinosaurs and the dinosaurs are always in the boys’ section but I have been smacked in the face with the range disparity every time and let’s face it, it’s a lot of times.
I go shopping for my daughter. Because she’s a girl am I to presume that she has no interest in dinosaurs? Animals that aren’t bunnies or kittens? Role models that aren’t princesses? I guess she can rule out archeologist, vet (unless she specialises in cats and rabbits), superhero and now astronaut as careers.
I contacted Kmart with my NASA hoodie question and a spokesperson said: “We welcome customer feedback ... so we improve and better reflect the changing needs of our community. The NASA kids’ wear range is available in both girls’ and boys’ styles ...”
Which is a lovely sentiment but doesn’t address the fact that if you go to the girls’ section the NASA hoodie won’t be there.
Why are the children’s clothes in separate sections? Saying goodbye to the separate sections would be a small step for Australian department stores but it could be one giant leap for gender equality.
For more, go to www.kidspot.com.au
“SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEPARATE SECTIONS WOULD BE A SMALL STEP FOR DEPARTMENT STORES BUT IT COULD BE ONE GIANT LEAP FOR GENDER EQUALITY.”