I just have to mention children’s clothes here.
I shudder when I think of American beauty pageants for children. Google for images to see a sample of the weirdos. Not the children, but the event that makes them as such. Why I shudder? I have a daughter and when it comes to beauty and outlook, I realise the big task I’m faced with. How will I bring her up to ensure that looks and fashion don’t enslave her, yet, teach her the elegance and femininity of a simple “Audrey” outfit? (Unless she turns out a Tom boy or a butch lesbian. Then, I won’t have a problem with her obsessing over dresses).
Neil Postman has said a lot on the disappearance of childhood, so I won’t tread on this now, but when you look around shops for children’s clothes you get the feeling that there aren’t any. Actually, I’m wrong, there ARE children’s clothes, in the “old” notion of it, but their price tags shoot you straight into the chest.
And then it occurred to me – are kids’ clothes some sort of “soft politics” of the rich, smart, and influential think-tanks of the Western world? Has it always been this way – shops for childrens’ clothes and shops for miniature sluts? Or is this phenomenon of the miniature adults appearing now (with the help of intensive media consumption)? Is flashy clothing – think adults’ but dyed in pink – cheap food and irrelevant media programs the way to keep the masses “a cheap, dumb, popcorn-fed slut”?
Because the educated people today are a lot more than they were 50 years ago someone has to control them in one way or another. One way is with cheap pink T-shirts with appliquéd signage such as “I’m a star” or “I’m the boss” and … pop-corn and pop-corn style reality TV. The other way is by using brutality, I guess. Obviously, the smart fellas chose the “soft politics” weapon.
Is this how the elite is preserved? By allowing only the rich people to dress their kids in a simple white poplin romper against the non-rich – in a purple, sequenced ruffled dress with an appliquéd sign “I’m a princess”?
It’s like when you compare the price of corn and the price of a tomato. But I’ll get to the food in part III.
Children 50 years ago wore rompers and overalls, no texts written on them, no shearling coats or sequence and embellishment. Certainly, toddlers’ shoes didn’t have heels unless it was for a medical reason.
Do you also see this difference? Do you think about its meaning?
I don’t want to obsess about clothes and I’d rather spend a few more on Marie Chantal, Bon Point, or Petit Bateau because the minimalism these clothes imply are what my lesson would be to my kids. I’d teach them that clothing serves but also speaks. I’d teach them to use clothing and let it speak for itself, but not let it use them or remain their own communication tool.