Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gender Trouble: Toddler Cheerleaders

Yes, this is in fact an item of clothing that we own.  And yes, this cheerleading outfit includes matching pants that say Oregon State on the butt.  LB owns a total of three of these OSU cheerleading outfits.

There's a reason that this piece of clothing is shown on a hanger rather than on LB.  I would never post a picture of our girl wearing this for all the world to see.  I did put her in it once (with long pants) and take pictures for grammy, but that is as far as I'll go.  I had a scheme around Halloween that we could dress LB up as an anarchist cheerleader from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, or we could find two other kids and dress them all up as zombie cheerleaders, but I was all clever ideas and no action.

B and I are both Title IX babies, but I grew up in the earlier years, when the default in my little New England town was that little boys play football and little girls are cheerleaders (in high school girls could play field hockey, which was higher in the class hierarchy than cheering).  B is a very good athlete and played soccer and basketball, and probably lots of other sports, from a young age.  Why you would think that the daughter of your sporty daughter needs multiple cheer outfits, rather than a jersey or tracksuit, I'm not quite sure.

I am sure that my daughter will not be wearing anything like this, and certainly not any kind of pants with writing on the butt, until she is old enough to rebel and spend her own money on crap we hate.  And if that makes me not only a bitter lesbian feminist, but an authoritarian bitter lesbian feminist, well then, let me join Andrea Dworkin in a consensual embrace as we raise our fists against the patriarchy.

[Updated to add that I let LB pick her own clothes this morning and she chose and OSU "Beaver Fever" t-shirt.  Gayby in a beaver fever t-shirt = time to slink of my high horse.]


  1. We have a couple of those types of outfits too, though no cheerleader outfits.. yet. I feel like clothing is this slippery slope where a couple people think it's cute and then it becomes trendy and then it becomes normal and few people think to question how problematic (and sexualizing) it might be.

  2. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the toddler skinny-jeans that LB got for Christmas. They aren't really that different from stretch pants, which she wears all the time, but still-kind of weird. We did let her wear the bright pink elmo shirt with hideous ruching-big Anne of Green Gables style mutton chops, but I guess there's no harm in that.