In Defense of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt: Fall's Hottest Dresses for Boys!

Andrew Dalton

Your grandpa wore a dress. At least until kindergarten. It seems that everyone's did, and there are pictures to prove it. 

Writing in response to this summer's silliness about Brangelina's girl Shiloh and her boyish style, Brian Palmer took a look at the history of Pre-K clothes in Slate and concluded: 

"For most of U.S. history nearly all infants, regardless of gender, wore dresses. Only in the 20th century did sex-specific clothing come into fashion."

Palmer says there was a brief return to unisex style in the '70s -- the era of Free to Be ... You and Me, the cultural phenomenon now being co-opted by Target (where you're unlikely to find so much as a unisex hat).

And this bit I found especially stunning, especially coming at a time when adult women were years from wearing pants:

"In 1927, Time magazine found that American color conventions were completely unsettled, with six of 10 retailing giants, including Marshall Field's and Filene's, using pink as the dominant color for baby-boy accoutrement. It took two or three more decades for the modern convention to establish a firm hold on U.S. nurseries."

When I first had my daughter, I was as adamant about my baby gender equality as anyone, but I would have sworn my little girl had a gene that attracted her to pink (if only to piss me off).

Imagine the convenience! No need to register for one gender or the other. Hand-me-downs could go to brothers or sisters. No need to take back boys' or girls' stuff (not that we should care anyway, but most of us do). My friends whose doctor assured them their forthcoming son would be a girl sure would have liked it.

I can't help but find all this a little disturbing. For centuries we felt no need to distinguish babies and toddlers by their sex, now it's practically a requirement. 

Why do modern parents feel such a need to divide their pinks and blues? Is it just marketing?


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