I guess you may be wondering what on earth this blog post is all about as indicated by its title. How can what a girl wears be a determinant of her future accomplishment. This post is born following two incidences related to kids’ clothing in different parts of the globe that are thousands of miles apart. When Target announced they were going to remove the gender label in kids’ department so as to “strike a better balance for their customers”, a mother of two girls and a boy (whom in this post we shall refer to as Nancy) responded to that publication in an article saying that “Target missed the mark with gender sign changes, she explained that “gender signage doesn’t preclude girls from buying remote-controlled cars or boys from playing in the kitchen aisle. It just recognizes that boys and girls are, in fact, intrinsically different and tend to have distinct interests, preferences, and aptitudes” and as a society we should respect these difference in boys and girls (my addition). She went on to say “As the mother of two daughters and a son, I want a healthy balance for all my children. I want my girls to recognize that they can pursue anything — from sports to Science. And I try to make sure that it’s their preferences, not preconceived notions about gender, that guide how they spend their time”This article of course echoes my sentiments as noted in the blog I posted following that Target’s announcement.
Interesting enough, in another part of the globe, a woman- Chaplin by name through a post on Facebook lead an uproar against a retailer because the retailer carries what she described as “unsuitability of the clothing for active little girls, the lack of diversity in the themes and colours available” The clothing and apparel in girls section according to her are ” tiny cropped pink tops with ‘sweet’ written on them, and micro-shorts and wedge heels” In her opinion the retailer should change its clothes and the way it views girls. She further suggested that “retailers should blur those gender lines a little, stock clothes that encourage girls to live their lives to the fullest, rather than clothes that encourage them to sit on the sidelines looking pretty, waiting for some prince to come and rescue them!” She concluded by saying “I want my little warrior princess to grow up knowing that she can be anything and do anything. And I want the messages she’s exposed to along the way to support that. Girls shouldn’t have to wear tummy-exposing t-shirts that say ‘Sweet,’ when boys get to wear t-shirts that say ‘Life is better when you explore.”
You may be asking why these two incidences are of any interest that they should deserve further commentary. Why should we border with them? The reason why these two incidences require further commentary is because women who responded to these incidences seem have different opinions or understanding of what influences or determines the female/ male characteristics and what girls should or should not wear. Nancy as we call her in this post who responded to Target’s announcement made it very clear in her article that what her daughter wears does not prevent her from becoming who she wants to be, nor hinders her from pursuing the career path she is interested in and has aptitudes for. Implying that girls can wear their girly dresses and still grow up to attain the maximum height of their potentials without being hindered by what they wear or did not wear. On the hand Chaplin and some women in South Africa think that the girly dresses their daughters wear inhibit them from attaining the maximum height of their potentials.
The questions I pose to you fashion bloggers and fashion lovers are; does your choice of fashion styles or clothes inhibit you from attaining the maximum height of your potentials? Or said in another way, do you think that what girls wear determine what or whom they become? Please share you response with us in the comment section.
It can never be over emphasized that our choice of fashion or dresses is an expression of who we are or whom we think we are. It is a way we express our inner selves rather than a means to unlock our potentials. I do not see anything wrong with girls wearing girly pretty dresses that make them look like princesses and have boys wear their cowboy’s boots and hats and climb all trees and mountains in the neighborhood. We need to understand that the fundamental differences between the genders is much deeper than the clothes we wear. These difference as we all know from basic biology is deep rooted in cells that make up our bodies and the different characteristics of each gender begin to manifest itself as babies develop. These characteristics become more, and more manifest as children become older. So I think it is wrong to confuse ourselves and more so our daughters by making them think and believe that they are the same as boys, so they have to wear what boys wear and behave like boys so as prove they are equal to boys and capable of doing what boys do. I think it is also wrong to think that girls can unlock their potentials only when they behave like boys and wear boys’ clothes. There is no doubt that every girl should be encouraged and supported to be her best self and strive to attain the maximum height of her potential as a girl and never as a boy. We can only do this by helping our girls to first accept and appreciate their femininity. We should help them to grow and mature as girls as they develop into womanhood while at the same time pursuing their interests and careers so as to unlock their potentials as women and once again never as boys or men.
We do not lack examples of women who have achieved greatness as women without disguising themselves as men. The first that calls to mind is the president of Germany, Angelo Merkel, who wields the German power always dressed in her power skirt suit and in recent memory, the Iron lady of Britain, Elizabeth Thatcher who always dressed in her power skirt suit and was said to often call the “boys” in the parliament to order using her purse as a hammer when they fail to listen to her. These two women in envious powerful positions never compromised their female identity, neither did their feminine clothes hinder them from wielding power in their respective countries as the chancellor of Germany and former prime minster of Britain respectively. These two enviable and powerful female world leaders manifest their authority while at the same time asserting and affirming their femininity through their dressing by wearing power skirt suits, rather than disguise their female gender by dressing like men. These women and others are examples that our girls can enjoy their beautiful pretty girly dresses without in anyway jeopardizing their opportunities to pursue career of interest or be who they want to be. There should be no question about female identity because of what we wear. Female clothes/ fashion should never define who we are, rather it should be an expression of who we are. So it is up to us to wear clothes that expresses who we are rather than define us as women and girls respectively.
In a nutshell encouraging girls to be girls and have them wear girly dresses is not a predictor of a girl’s future achievements. We should encourage our girls to wear girly dresses, look as pretty as they can be, while at the same time pursue and excel in careers of their interest. Looking and being beautiful is not opposed to a successful and fulfilling career.