I am guilty of putting my son in questionable T-shirts, you know the ones that say "heartbreaker," and "lady killer". It wasn't until my oldest daughter, Harper, started asking me what evvvverrryyyyyttthhhiiingggg means. "Mommy what does that say" "how do you spell it?" "what does it mean", what does it mean? WHAT. DOES. IT. MEAN. That is a really scary question these days. I try so hard to be honest with my children and to explain as much as I can to them in an age appropriate way. I want them to know alllllll the things but I want them to remain innocent. I want them to ask me everything because I want them to see that the world is full of amazing things and I want them to become curious about the things that peak their interest. I firmly believe in using anatomically correct language to describe our bodies, which also ties into the fact that both Harper and Gunnar watched Jagger come into this world. I wanted them to see that birth is normal and it doesn't have to be medicalized, which I am sure they will see enough of as they grow older. My point is, I do not hide things from my children, or shelter them.
So what does heart breaker mean? Does it mean one day my son is going to grow up and be an asshole and make other human beings cry? Is that cool? Is that trendy? Is that something I want my son to be? I am the one who dressed him, so not only is that message reflected upon my son and even my daughters, but its reflected upon me! It means that I, his mother, the one who is supposed to be teaching him kindness, empathy, respect, and generosity is marketing him to be a Jerk. I never want any of my children to be the root of any one else's sadness. My hope is that my son and my daughters will all respect others and be kind with their words and actions. These are the types of wants I have for my children as they grow older. Not that they break hearts, not that they become a lady killer and certainly nothing that references their genitals. Oh man can we talk about that one? I recently saw a shirt that said "hung like a 5 year old" and I nearly fell off of my chair. Lets think about that....... As a mother to both sexes, I think to myself, is that funny? No its gross. It's borderline pedophilic and down right inappropriate. I wonder if she also had a curious older daughter if she would find that funny, yeah try explaining that one. I would imagine the conversation might go something like this:
"mom what does that mean"
"well daughter it means your brother has a really big penis"
"mom aren't penises and vaginas private?"
"yes dear thank you for bringing me to my senses"
I am not uptight, if you know me in person or have been reading and following me for a while you know I am sarcastic, funny, and share a hint of dirty humor. I am not easily offended and actually I cant remember the last time I was offended. You see, the shirt didn't offend me, it didn't upset me one bit, but I did think about how other people viewed this mother toting her son around in this shirt. I did think about how I was viewed when my son was wearing "heartbreaker" on his shirt. Most importantly I think to myself WHAT WILL MY DAUGHTERS THINK OF THIS? Next my mind went down a whole different pathway and I thought what if my daughter was wearing a shirt that said "man killer" "man eater" "boy crusher" "breasts like barbie" Holy cow I bet you a stranger would stop me and call CPS. So my question is; Why is okay and socially acceptable to sexualize young boys but not girls? I have heard new mothers say numerous times "he's having a circumcision so he can have a pretty penis." Hmmm okay, I didn't know a scar was pretty but I digress because thats a horse of another color. BUT imagine if a dad said "she's having her labia trimmed today so she has a pretty vagina." You can bet your butt that this guy would be on the news, in jail, and CPS would be at that house faster than you could say GROSS.
So seriously why is it okay, funny, socially acceptable, and cute for little boys to be sporting a sexual message on their shirt. Think about how that message will affect him directly, think about the message it sends about you, think about the message it sends to young girls. This is not okay, these types of messages perpetuate violence, they are disrespectful and reinforce the fact that society objectifies women; putting your children in these types of shirts proves that we are living in a rape culture. Make no mistake, I am not a feminist, but I consider myself a sort of humanist. Don't we want our children to grow up in a place where all are treated equally? Where everyone is respected and loved for who they are, not what they are. Do your job as a mother and teach your children better values.