A Super-Simple Solution to These Sexist Back-to-School Ads

Gap really stepped in it on the way back to school. Sexist clothes and ads? Check. Misspelling Albert Einstein's name on a shirt? Double check. May I make a suggestion? Can we just stop it with all the cutesy sayings on kids' clothes altogether? It would solve all sorts of problems, starting with Gap's sexist back-to-school ad campaign.


Gap shoppers were shocked to see back-to-school ads featuring this problematic copy. See if you can guess why it got moms all sorts of mad.

Yep, the boy is labeled "The Little Scholar" while the girl is "The Social Butterfly." Sexist stereotype much, Gap?

Also, Gap gets an extra thumbs-down for misspelling "Einstein" on the boy's T-shirt.


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Now I'm no fashion marketing expert, but I am a mom who buys a whole lot of kids' clothes. I'd like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion that will save brands and moms all kinds of grief: Stop putting cutesy sayings on our kids' clothes.

It starts as soon as they pop out with onesies that reflect the sensibility of the purchaser. For boys there are baby clothes with "rock star" monikers -- and "princess" and "cutie pie" messaging for girls. And then there's the grossest one I've ever seen that reads, "I'm cute, mom's hot, dad's lucky." I threw up in my mouth a little just typing that.

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And it only gets worse as they grow up. There's "Too Cool" and "So Fun" T-shirts. Just go to the worst place in the world -- Justice -- and try to find clothes without messaging of some kind.

One of my favorite things about Gap clothes is that they're stylish and mostly understated. Gap is a place where you can buy your kid jeans without rhinestones, and T-shirts without "LOL" in large letters. Why can't they just stick with that?

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Our kids' personalities are so much better, nuanced, and more interesting than any silly slogan could ever capture. So why do we try? Our girls aren't all "social butterflies" and our boys aren't all "little scholars." And wait for it, because this might blow your mind -- some of our boys are super social and our girls real-deal smarty-pants. Why would we want to slap a derivative and narrow label across their chests and send them out into the world?

No, thanks.

The good news is that times are changing and moms are getting tired of our kids' falling into the same old sexist traps. And stores that want our business should get behind our efforts to raise kids with more options -- and give us clothes that let the kids speak for themselves.

As an added bonus, dropping the words will also save Gap future proofreading mistakes.


Image via PsychScientists/Twitter

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