My friend and fellow blogger Jennifer Mendelsohn has a great blog post up today about the prevalence of pre-ordained gender roles. She cites the Land's End catalog pictured above—"pretty & playful for her... rugged & ready for him"—along with other examples. It's no wonder gender stereotypes—like, girls cook and look pretty while boys play football and do math—are so hard to break when they're drilled into our children's heads at such an early age.
Several months ago, I went to buy a card for the parents of a new baby, intent on buying a gender-neutral one. Every single one I saw was either pink and festooned with little bows and flowers or blue and covered with tiny footballs and trucks. This drove me crazy. Finally, I found a yellow card with no specific gender references. It was on the 99-cent rack and it was the last one left.
To me, this falls into the same category of frustration as when adults project adult, sexualized behavior onto toddlers—like calling them girlfriend/boyfriend and accusing them of flirting—which I blogged about here. As I said then, "there is a direct link between this kind of thinking/behavior and six-year-old girls wearing sweatpants that say “JUICY” across the butt. It’s just wrong."