Feb. 24th, 2011

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Part 1: Valuing Toughness and Aggression
...Boys don’t have to look hard for examples of the tough guy in popular culture—he is seen all over the television dial, in advertising, and in the books based on popular TV series. He is held up as a sort of ideal (in sharp contrast to “wimpy” smart guy characters) and he teaches boys that success comes from being aggressive.

Increasingly, the influence of this character can be seen in boys’ clothing. As the examples below demonstrate, scary imagery, with its undertones of aggression, appears on clothing marketed to boys aged one and up...


Part 2: The Brat
...I’m not saying that one t-shirt will transform a boy into Bart Simpson or Harold or George from Captain Underpants, but clothing is part of the continuum of male stereotypes that dominate children’s popular culture and one that we should pay attention to. You would not allow your daughter to wear a t-shirt that says she is a shallow ditz (and I’m sure such a shirt is available somewhere), so why allow your son to tell the world he is big trouble, too lazy to do his homework, or a devilish mischief maker? Would you outfit your daughter in scary skulls (not the cutesy pirate motif, but the “Dawn of the Dead” stuff)? If not, then why place your son in such clothes?...

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