Baby girl clothes are made smaller than boys' and ‘remarkably annoying,’ says aggravated dad in viral TikTok

April 8, 2021

A dad on TikTok is going viral for calling out sexism in children’s and baby clothes. After a fellow TikTok user asked dads of daughters to share the moment they realized the sexualization of women starts incredibly young, a dad named Michael Vaughn made a video detailing his all too relatable experience trying to find comfortable, appropriate clothing for his infant daughter.

“I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn’t know how bad,” he says. “We got a onesie for our daughter that said, ‘Sorry, boys. Dad says no dating,’ sized for a newborn. I guess I’m wondering who they thought is going to date our zero-month-old daughter?”

The problem isn’t limited to onesies with sexist slogans. “All the girl clothes are remarkably annoying for so many reasons,” he adds. “Why does everything have ruffles? Why is everything hyper-pink? Why is everything glittery? Why can’t I just find a one-piece bathing suit for my daughter? Why are the girl clothes smaller than the boy clothes when they’re the same size?”

Vaughn says he and his wife have resorted to buying their daughter pants designed for boys simply because they fit better, even though babies are all similar sizes and clothing shouldn’t be cut differently based on the baby’s sex. “I don’t get why boys get normal shorts while my daughter gets shorts with an inseam of negative two,” he says. “Like, we legit buy boy pants for our daughter because girl pants are sausage casing leggings. I’m not squeezing a baby back into a sausage casing after every single diaper change.”

The problem Vaughn outlines is all too common for parents. His video was posted on March 27, and already has over three million views and 938,000 likes. In the comments, many parents are sharing their own struggles with trying to find comfortable, cute and non-sexualized clothes for their kids.

“Every time I go to Target or something, I always notice that girls clothes have extremely deep v-necks and always have some sort of glitter design on them.” one person writes. “Meanwhile, you go to the boys section and there’s single colors and plain clothes and such.”

Another person asks, “Why can’t they let girls be girls instead of mini women?” 

Many people pointed out that boys’ clothes are often hypermasculine and limit how boys are able to express themselves as well. If a boy wants a pink shirt or to wear something with his favorite Disney Princess, he often doesn’t get that option. “[They only get] fire trucks, construction, dinos and sharks,” one person writes. “Animals if you’re lucky. Oh, and my son is not a ‘ladies man’ at 6 months old.”

Some took issue with Vaughn’s request for one-piece swimsuits and his denigration of pink, glitter and ruffles. In follow up posts, he explains that he has no issue with two-piece swimsuits, pink, glitter or any other stereotypically feminine details. What he dislikes is that girls often aren’t given the option of wearing anything else.

“Boy clothes seem to offer more coverage and be more durable while girl clothes seem to emphasize showing their bodies,” he says.

Some retailers have committed to making the signage and layouts of kids’ sections more gender neutral, but little has been done to address disparities in the cuts and styles of the clothing itself. As a parent, it can be incredibly frustrating trying to navigate the inherent sexism in kids’ clothing when you’re just trying to find a simple t-shirt and some durable pants with pockets for your active toddler, regardless of gender. The popularity of Vaughn’s video only proves what a major issue this is for so many parents, and that children’s clothing designers need to be paying attention.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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