Can a baby's "innocent" onesie actually be offensive? Documentary film project Miss Representation called upon parents to protest a Wild Child bikini bodysuit -- for babies: "This 'wild child' bodysuit -- which recklessly sexualizes infants and perpetuates a harmful ideal -- is being sold on the Zulily website right now. We're #NotBuyingIt," they posted via Facebook. It's a onesie with a pink, polka-dot bikini-clad torso printed on it. My first reaction was aw come on, it's not that bad! But the more I look at it and think about it, the more it bothers me. Take a look and see if you agree.
Okay, so first of all, there's the issue of sexualizing baby clothing. Maybe it's because, as a writer for The Stir, I see so many sick stories about pedophiles (more than we actually end up publishing). But I don't think anything that even hints at sexuality belongs anywhere near a baby or young child. it's just creepy. Why put those ideas in people's heads? It's not necessary.
Don't even get me started on the problem this bodysuit presents if your baby is black, Latina, Asian, etc.
And then it's just plain old sexist. I know that's super boring of me. I'm no fun, right? But I checked out Zulily's website to see if there was a baby boy's bodysuit printed with a man in a Speedo, and there's not. They have this buff Superbaby bodysuit.
But even with Superbaby, there's a bit more going on than just the representation of a hot adult body -- there's also strength and a superhero costume. Oh, but the little boys also have this power suit.
There's no equivalent for girls, though no one's going to stop you from putting the suit on your daughter. Little Miss Marissa Mayer? Maybe you should.
Anyway, obviously this company has the right to sell whatever they want to, and I don't have to buy it. I probably won't lose sleep over the fact that this is out there. But we're better than this, aren't we? I think it's worth our time to talk about why these bodysuits bother some of us. And the company that sells them should hear what we think of them.
Well, it didn't take long for Zulily to get the message:
.@RepresentPledge We've removed the bikini bodysuit. We aim to offer a broad product selection for our customers & missed the mark this time— zulily (@zulily) March 24, 2014
Well done, parents! Never doubt what we can do just by asking. And well done, Zulily, for listening to parents' feedback.
Do you agree that this bodysuit "perpetuates a harmful idea"?
Images via Zulily