Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toddlers are not grown women

I was watching a clip from the Colbert Report when I first heard about Baby Gap's line of Mini Skinny jeans. Yes. Skinny jeans for toddlers.

Below left: A screen shot from the Gap website of a white female toddler (labeled: "hayden, 3") in what appears to be a denim jacket and fitted "Mini Skinny" jeans. Her hand is to her mouth.

Now, I believe that children are people and should be allowed, when able, to decide what they want to wear. I also believe that parents should play a role in helping their child make decisions and that they should view their child as a partner in this regard.

The reason I have a problem with skinny jeans for toddlers is that they're taking a fashion trend originally meant for grown women and making it into something to be owned by children. Skinny jeans are no more practical than other jeans for toddlers. This is a blatant rip off of grown women's clothing - and guess what toddlers are not? Grown women. And treating them as grown women by dressing them up in clothes that look like those worn by adults creates some potentially disturbing possibilities.

This ties back to the trend of sexualizing women at younger and younger ages. While these jeans are not sexual, they are meant to model toddlers after adult women. That is a problem.

Edited to include a caption for the screen shot I included. Also, check out Gap's "Boyfriend jeans" for toddlers (thanks to Anonymous in the comments for the heads up about that!).


Anonymous said...

also seen recently: "boyfriend" jeans for the same age group.

I think that was gap as well, iirc.


Anonymous said...

Children should NEVER be viewed as a "partner".

As a parent, you are not their friend, you are not their buddy, you are not their go-to pal, or their partner. You are their PARENT. Their BOSS. The person in charge.

You don't "make decisions together". You make decisions FOR.

That's why legally they cannot make major decisions for themselves until they're 18.

They aren't mentally competent until adulthood. That's how this works. Raising kids by being their "friend" results in horrible, maladjusted kids with a lot of selfishness and problems.

Amelia said...

Your comment, Anon2, speaks of a kind parenting that I strongly disagree with. I do not believe that lording over children as their "boss" produces better adjusted, less selfish, more problem-free children than treating children as what they are: Smaller people.

First, notice how in my post I said that "parents should play a role in helping their child make decisions". I do not advocate that a) children should be left to completely care for themselves or that b) parents should act solely as friends. What I do advocate for is a relationship that is balanced and that respects children as people.

Your assertion that children "aren't mentally competent until adulthood" is interesting because in different cultures, the concept of "adulthood" and the age at which a child passes into it differ. Are you saying that in a culture where a child is considered an adult at age 13 is filled with less mentally competent adults?

I also firmly believe that this idea of parenthood, that a parent is the boss of their children and they are responsible for making every decision for their child is exactly what creates maladjusted kids. If for 18 years, until children reach legal adulthood, children are treated as completely incapable of taking charge of their lives, they won't be able to handle it well when they are suddenly thrust into the world of adulthood.

If instead, as children grow up, they are introduced to more and more responsibility and their parents don't act like their bosses but their partners and help guide the decision making of their children, the passage into legal adulthood will likely be much smoother. It won't be such an abrupt and jarring transition to which some children with "boss" parents may be unsuited for.

Amelia said...

Anon2, I rejected your second comment in response to mine because it is only tangentially related to this post. However, I am working on a separate post addressing this issue (of parenting, etc.) and I encourage you to check back and comment on that post where I feel your opinion would be much more on topic.

Anonymous said...

I'm never going to remember everything I typed within the context of this current conversation.

Amelia said...

I have the comment saved (all comments go to my e-mail account for moderation). If you'd like, I can copy/paste it in the comment thread of the new post that I just started writing. Or you can respond to that post in particular (although most of your last comment will be related).

Anonymous said...

I think this is a terrible idea. Toddlers should not wear womens clothing but rather clothes that are made for toddlers. Why should I spend a lot of money on clothes for my kid that they out grow in a few months.

Tiberius said...

See, it's just like the more hardcore beauty pageants that mothers spend thousands of dollars on. Those creep me out

Anonymous said...

I agree-- this is in a similar trend of sexualization as I've been studying. I've found that media contributes to girls as young as 6 preferring to look like a very sexualized doll and thinking she is more popular than a doll dressed in 'normal' clothes for girls that age. It's really sad that girls too young to even understand what "sexy" really means 'know' that dressing like that will make them popular. Thank you media!

--Christy R. (of Knox, got your link off of the SASS mailing list!)

Amenhotep IV said...

What people don't understand about kids is that they are easily impressed. They don't care if they're wearing the most fashionable clothes or if they have the most expensive things. All you have to do is remember what it was like to be a kid.