Death Obsession, or, In Which a Soapbox is Climbed

It is very hard to find used clothing for a six year old boy. Boys are notoriously hard on their clothes. At one of the second hand stores we frequent, there are rows and rows of size six girls clothes. There were exactly TWO pairs of pants for Cadrian. And one was a pair of capris, so I’m pretty sure it should have been in the girls’ section.

I had to resort to eBay for his fall school clothes. I prefer to not do that if I don’t have to, as the auctions plus shipping are usually a little more expensive than I like.

Also, I’m picky.

I like to buy in lots to save money, as you can usually get a better deal per item, but every item in the lot has to be one he’ll wear, else what is the point? Money would not have been saved.

I don’t really like that many of the boys clothes have sports on them. What if the boy isn’t sporty? Or, what if he’s athletic and doesn’t really like to play organized sports? Why are there so many options for sports for boys clothes, but none for little girls?

I don’t really like that so many of the clothes have a brand or a store emblazoned on them. WHY should I pay good money to have my child be a walking advertisement? Shouldn’t they be paying me?

I don’t really like that so many of the clothes are from video games, TV shows or movies. In my book, six year old boys should be outside climbing trees and rolling in sand and making things out of rocks and not be inside playing video games. I don’t think playing a bit of video game is necessarily bad in and of itself. I don’t have a problem with a movie now and again. I do think plastering a video game or movie character across my son’s chest is like saying, “This. This is what is important to me. This is where my priorities lie.”

I don’t like how there are so many boys clothes with sassy sayings on them. A few I saw: A dog tooting, with a fallen tree “Who cut one?”. “I can give a headache to an aspirin”. “For Sale…Little Brother…Cheap” “Underachiever”  “My parents are exhausted”    THIS is the best we can do for our boys? Our boys we are raising to be men? We make them wear self deprecating tee shirts, give them put downs and undermine their precious (and true) exhausting energy and put these low opinions across their chests. What messages are we trying to send?

I once had an adorable red onesie for my 15 month old son that said “Heartbreaker” in white letters. I put it on him for Valentine’s Day and we took him to a party. When I was looking back at the pictures, I thought how appalling that it was that I did that! Do I want my son to grow up and plow through girls like a stereotypical stud? Or do I want my son to be a man of integrity, who waits for the woman he can spend his life with, and then who he sticks by in thick or thin? Do I want him to treat women like throwaway possessions and leave a trail of broken hearts behind him or do I want him to treat a woman’s heart like gold?

I got rid of that onesie and promised myself that I would be more discerning about what messages I put on my children, and what representations we put out into the world.

And the thing I really really don’t like about boys clothing right now is all the skulls! A skull, for almost all of time, has represented death. It still does. Even if we put it on our babies’ sleep and plays, it still represents death. Even if we see a skull almost every time we leave the house because it is on so many kinds of clothing, it still represents death. I don’t think it’s cute. I don’t think it’s for children. Pirates used skulls to intimidate. Skull and crossbones still are used to indicate poison. In Tarot cards, skulls are on the death card. Skulls were part of the Nazi SS uniform as well as many other military insignia, partly to be representative of loyalty until death, and partly as a warning: “I will kill you”.  Skulls might be fashionable right now, but I think they still represent a culture obsessed with death.

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2 thoughts on “Death Obsession, or, In Which a Soapbox is Climbed

  1. Jessica says:

    Love this. Glad to know I am not the only one with these questions shooting off in my head every time I shop for clothes for Zoe. I've recently bought some character tshirts and even a couple other things but I'm very aware of the unintended effects and am constantly trying to balance it all. I usually go home so angry when I'm done shopping.

    You raised a lot of good questions for boys we don't always think of.

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