Last week in Moms Talk, asked “What traditions do you and your family look forward to each year?” Here’s what the rest of the Moms Council had to say:
Maybe you could sit down with your husband and ask him what were the traditions that he remembers that meant the most to him and then pick the ones that meant the most to you and start from there. As your daughter grows up she can tell you, and she will, what she wants to do at Christmas time.
Some of my childhood family traditions were having a big party on Christmas Eve at which we were allowed to open one gift; and we kids opening our stockings on Christmas morning before Mom and Dad were up, then making breakfast for them. After breakfast the whole family opened gifts together. Now that we kids have kids of our own, we still enjoy these traditions. With my husband and our daughters, we've also created some new traditions, such as driving up into the mountains and cutting down a Christmas tree while everyone else is shopping on Black Friday. Another fun thing that has almost become a tradition for us is going to the beach on New Year's Day. I just realized that both of these activities are reflections of our home here in Los Gatos. How lucky we are to be so close to the mountains and the beach, and to be able to incorporate them into our traditions.
Looking back on my answer, I just realized I forgot to mention that cherished family tradition of dressing my children in sexist clothing! Lucky for me, I have lots of choices, as long as those darned women's libbers stay out of it!
But seriously, I am continually surprised that clothing retailers like Forever 21 and JCPenney put slogans like “Allergic to Algebra” and “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me” on girls’ T-shirts. What do they think we want our daughters to believe and embrace about themselves?
Even toddler-targeted Gymboree has recently committed a similar offense, offering onesies for baby boys that say “Smart Like Daddy;” while the corresponding girls’ onesie says “Pretty Like Mommy.”
Gymboree’s girly onesie actually provides some insight into their marketing strategy: of course they are really targeting us grown-up women, appealing to our own vanity. We grown women are the ones who are doing the buying, after all—hopefully our babies haven’t yet been issued credit cards. And adult women in our culture have been indoctrinated by the media to believe that “a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality.” (From the website for the 2011 Sundance documentary “Miss Representation.”)
In a letter to Gymboree, MomsRising.org, an advocacy group dedicated to family-friendly policies and equity for women, wrote: “Mainstream media bombards children and adults with overwhelming messages that women should be beautiful, while men should be smart and powerful. These messages limit children's ideas of what is possible in the world and can have damaging effects on their self-esteem, their choice of school courses (for example, advanced math and science), and their career possibilities.”
JCPenney’s online catalogue called the “too pretty to do homework” shirt “cute and sassy,” but quickly pulled the tee from its lineup and apologized after customers complained. Just a couple of weeks later, Forever 21 unveiled its math-bashing top and faced a similar fate. Then, in November, Gymboree followed suit.
Not everyone is up in arms about the girls’ tops. Some people think they’re kind of cute, while others basically think protestors need to get a life. On the other side, some people are so irritated that they swear they’ll never shop at these stores again. I’m somewhere in the middle. I won’t buy those shirts, and I will sign a letter suggesting the retailers make better decisions. However, I’ll still probably use my Gymbucks … but only if I find something cute and inoffensive, like plaid, or maybe owls.
What do you think? Is this stuff cute and sassy, or is it degrading and offensive?