Leave it to the Gap to sexualize babies.
Ronda Kaysen: Now moms can walk into any Baby Gap and pick up a pair of boyfriend jeans for their 2-year-old or 2-month-old daughter. Everyone knows boyfriend jeans: those loose, comfy-fitting jean every gal's got in her closet, the one that closely resembles the jeans she wore home the morning after she spent the night at her boyfriend's house. Why shouldn't a 1-year-old have her own pair of boyfriend jeans? After all, she might need a break from squeezing her chubby legs into her skinny jeans. Yes! Baby Gap sells skinny jeans for infants, too.
Gap doesn't have just one baby version of the sexy-out-on-the-town option for girls (they start at 0-3 months and continue all through childhood). They have a whole line of them, including the zippered skinny jeans that come in a range of colors, including chartreuse and orange. As for the boyfriend jeans, have no worries: there are plenty of options there too, including cropped boyfriend jeans so your preschooler can show off her new Suri Cruise stilettos when she wears them to the playground.
What is Gap thinking? Couldn't they come up with more innocuous monikers like "baggy" and "slim-fitting"? Yes, 2-year-olds might have "boyfriends" in the sandbox, but the implication that comes with the whole "boyfriend jean" concept is just gross. Really, people, we're talking sleepovers here. What does a boyfriend jean imply other than that they're the jeans you picked up the morning after you slept over at your boyfriend's house? I could go on, but I figured I'd give Gap a call first.
Olivia Doyne, a Gap spokesperson, was eager to set the record straight. "In no way were we saying that a baby would have a boyfriend," she said. The descriptors were merely meant to help moms understand what they were buying for their burgeoning fashionistas. "Because mommies do the shopping for their children," she said, using terms that women are familiar with like skinny jeans just "translates easier."
Aha! That makes a lot more sense. So I decided to take a look at the options for boys. For the male set, moms can get "black jeans," "colored jeans," "five-pocket jeans," and "rolled-up" jeans. I don't know about you, but those terms make perfect sense to me, and none of them even vaguely allude to dating and sexy night-out jeans. I imagine it would be possible for the folks at Gap to put their heads together and come up with a name that's moderately less sexualized for little girls.
But Doyne was steadfast. "It was never our intention to have any sort of sexual connotation with either of those fits," she said. Thanks for clarifying.
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, New York Observer and AM New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.|