Today, parents arent just faced with a dividing line across colors, but a whole parade of animal mascots that are similarly separated by gender. Girls get bunnies, butterflies, and unicorns. Boys get dinosaurs, sharks, and bears. Girls get T-shirt slogans about sweetness, cupcakes, daydreams, and best friends. Boys have clothing emblazoned with text and imagery related to champions, airplanes, superheroes, and toughness. The ability to determine a babys sex before birth, a facet of prenatal care thats only been routine in the Western world since the 1970s, has exacerbated these divisions. These days, its fashionable for many parents to hold gender reveal parties in which they announce the babys sex, long before he or she is born. While little girls are often at the center of backlash against gender-oriented marketing, little boys also face real constraints, but they tend to get less attention. Thats part of why Hartman, of Jessy & Jack and Free to Be Kids, makes T-shirts that say Love is my Superpower, and Kind Like Daddymeant to be worn by everyone, but designed with boys in mind. Its difficult to overstate the cultural power that clothing wields. What a person wears isnt just seen as a reflection of their style and values, but a window into that persons identity. For children in particular, the link between what you wear and who you are is especially strong.
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