By Katie Culver
At the playground the other day a girl struggled to climb up a curved ladder after my son. She was wearing sandals. Her feet kept getting tangled in her dress.
Another day, a brother and sister at the park with their grandparents were swinging when the boy jumped down and ran to the next piece of equipment. The grandfather lifted the girl out of the swing and warned: “Now remember, no running! You have sandals on.”
“No running?” At the playground? Really?
When we wonder why women and girls still struggle for equal opportunity in this country, when we puzzle over why girls are so often discouraged – if not outright excluded – from sports, it might be time to consider how we dress our kids. From birth.
This is about more than the fact that gifts that come with a new baby differ strikingly. When parents shop for children’s clothes there is a clear (if oft-ignored) message being sent. Girl’s clothing has a common theme: “I’m cute” or “I’m a helpless princess” and “my looks matter the most.” Boy’s clothes, on the other hand, are all about cars, trucks, and sports – themes that suggest action and physical activity.
When my own daughter Mia started to creep it was obvious: It’s tough to crawl in a dress.