As I was getting my son dressed the other morning, it occurred to me that society’s idealized gender roles are present even at birth. The outfit I pulled out for him was blue striped, with a baseball, basketball and soccer ball on it, and the words “Future MVP” underneath. He has many many onesies with sports equipment on them, many of which are very cute, but which seem to be limited to boys clothing only. I’ve never seen an item of girls’ clothing with any type of sports theme. Girls clothes feature butterflies, flowers, and sometimes cute little animals. In a day when girls are more involved in athletics than ever, why is it that we don’t want to dress our baby girls in sporty clothes?
Maybe the problem is that boys, big and small, dressed in sports gear are thought of as cute, but girls of any age in their uniforms are not. As a former serious athlete, this makes me mad. Are women athletes any less attractive in their workout clothes than in their street clothes? I guess women are “supposed” to dress a certain way, in certain colors, and with a certain shape. I know there are girls out there who don’t play sports because it’s not “girly” to do so, because girls are supposed to stand on the sideline looking pretty, and because muscles are manly (my grandfather told me that). I wonder how many more girls would pick up a basketball if they had worn a pink jersey as a baby?