Science Tees For Girls Is What We’ve Always Done

It is great that Lands’ End listened to customer feedback following the viral backlash that came with a mom’s letter calling out their sexist back-to-school shirts. This isn’t new territory for Lands’ End, I wrote about this three years ago when the company found themselves in more back-to-school trouble. When the story first broke Pigtail Pals was mentioned in this article on Huffington Post directing parents towards better apparel options and advocacy work against gender stereotypes in children’s media and products.

Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies has been around for five years, and we’ve always made real science tees for girls.

Pigtail Pals paleontology tee for girls, 2010.

Pigtail Pals “Dino Dig” paleontology tee for girls, 2010.

If you would like to order some empowering apparel for girls and boys, visit www.pigtailpals.com

I’m pleased that Lands’ End is offering two science-themed shirts to girls that aren’t sparkly gendered science, but real science. The designs are great. They will reach the masses and that is superb. Congratulations on those two t-shirts.

Meanwhile, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies has ALWAYS offered real science tees for girls. Our playtime apparel has always been free of gender stereotypes, it was the founding principal for our company in 2009. PPBB remains a small business, but our commitment to honor childhood and offer over fifty respectful and empowering playtime designs is one of the biggest in the business.

Our Redefine Girly line shows girls being smart, daring, and adventurous.

Girls astronaut design from Pigtail Pals. Our Redefine Girly line shows girls being smart, daring, and adventurous.

Chemists

Girls chemistry design from Pigtail Pals. Our Redefine Girly line shows girls being smart, daring, and adventurous.

Doctor

Girls doctor design from Pigtail Pals. Our Redefine Girly line shows girls being smart, daring, and adventurous.

Girls of all sizes love science!

Girls of all sizes love science!

It would be important to note that Lands’ End didn’t create a new science design for girls from this recent controversy. The headline making science designs for girls is actually two space designs Lands’ End took from the boys MIGHTY GRAPHICS! section and simply put on a girly tee with scalloped edge sleeves.

In fact, when you take in the overall offerings to girls and boys from their catalog we find twenty four long sleeved tees for boys, eighteen of which have a science or nature theme that looks like actual science and nature. When we look at the girls CUTE TO A TEE section (natch) we find twenty four tees that offer tutu and tiara wearing dogs, coral colored zebras, bubble blowing elephants, and mask-wearing foxes. The girls’ options carry nothing of the biology and physics messages the boys’ do. The girls’ options have been dipped in pink and bedazzled with sparkles to the moon and back. Except, of course, for the two boy designs they just inherited.

The girls’ designs are cute, when we take each one at face value. When we compare them to what the boys are offered the sexism and gendering is offensive. By Lands’ End own descriptions, boys are mighty whose imaginations need to go wild. Girls are cute and add smiles to their outfits. Oh giggle!

I applaud the big corporations when they make small steps like this towards gender equity and leaving stereotypes off of their children’s products. At the same time, I’m rolling my eyes. This is literally the smallest step that Lands’ End could have taken.

It is 2014 after all, and it isn’t like this girl empowerment and STEM stuff is new. I’m just not so convinced two science t-shirts out of an offering of two dozen should really earn the fanfare it is getting the retailer. The fact remains that Lands’ End, while wholesome, is one of the most gendered places out there for kids. Maybe selling gender stereotypes isn’t so wholesome? Or progressive?

I’ll be convinced there has been progress made when moms like Lisa Ryder and myself don’t have to write letters in the first place.

After, girls will be girls.

PPBB's "Girls Will Be Girls" designs turns stereotypes upside down.

PPBB’s “Girls Will Be Girls” designs turns stereotypes upside down.

 

If you would like to order some empowering apparel for girls and boys, visit www.pigtailpals.com.

Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies is a small business operated by Melissa Atkins Wardy in Wisconsin, where are shirts are printed and shipped with love.

Find Melissa Atkins Wardy’s book “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, Birth to Tween” on Amazon.