Baby clothes are now sexually explicit


“To put something slightly inappropriate on a canvas that’s carried by something so pure…it’s kind of like spitting in holy water and I think that’s edgy and appealing to some people,” she said.

It certainly seems like people are buying these designs for the sake of shock and humor, and other adults are the primary target of these slogans. In reviews of an Etsy shop, shoppers raved about a onesie that read, “My daddy only plays with the box I came out of!”

“Great gift for my baby! My wife was not amused! I received it in a timely manner and I am satisfied with this company! wrote a customer.

In another review, a budding mom laid out her plans for a onesie with the same “nuttin” Pickar Stocks slogan.

“It’s so cute! My darling and I are going to try for a baby this year and when I saw this bodysuit, I knew I had found what I was going to surprise him with! … we have a joke between the two of us that it fits perfectly ♥️ I’m so happy about it!” she wrote.

Another saleswoman, Janet Smith of LittleLillyBugDesign, also told me that she’s seen sales of irreverent baby clothes increase in recent months. Her shop sells children’s clothing, including a jumpsuit printed with a drawing of breasts and the slogan “Eat local”.

“There seems to be a trend towards couple baby showers, so people like to buy a gift that will also include the new dad,” she said via direct message on Etsy.

It’s likely that major retailers like Buy Buy Baby will similarly stock these types of garments due to customer demand (a store spokesperson did not respond to inquiries about these items).

I’m not a prude and I believe in free will. If you want to dress your baby in a shirt that declares he’s a boob man, more power to you. (My baby will only wear neutrals, like a instagram baby.) But what are we supposed to make of the cognitive dissonance of having this kind of hypersexuality brought to our attention while culture wars are raging under the guise of “protecting the children”?

Several states are introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation, and last month Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the so-called Don’t Say Gay Bill, which prohibits discussion of LGBTQ people and their rights, among other arrangements, in public school classrooms from kindergarten through third grade. Clearly, many people have no problem “sexualizing” children, as long as conservative gender and sexual norms are firmly entrenched.

Social media is full of screeds claiming that coming out as LGBTQ people somehow exposes children to sexual themes before they’re ready to understand them. Yet popular baby stores are full of clothes that proclaim these same children to be raging balls of heterosexual lust, or that warn of potential suitors for literal babies.

Paoletti said that ultimately this type of clothing, and other hypermasculine or hyperfeminine clothing (trucks for boys, bows for girls), serves to reinforce the gender binary so acutely that it can unconsciously playing into gender stereotypes as the child grows, especially if they are part of “many, many messages this child was receiving in the early years of their life”.

“We accelerated the genesis of infants long before birth,” she said. “And we have been doing it for 40 years. So it’s no surprise that what happens is that when the little boy starts acting and being aggressive and the little girl starts acting flirtatious or shy, it’s [like], Oh, well, yes, because it’s a girl; it’s because he’s a boy, never imagining you had anything to do with it. ●

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