Baby pajamas go viral

Contributed Image

Contributed Image

Superman baby pajamas from Target elicited a social media outcry that has gone viral.

Protestors are arguing that the pajamas are sexist because they reinforce traditional gender roles in young children. The female pajama jumper is the colour pink, branded with the Superman logo and the words “I only date heroes.” Conversely, the male’s is the colour grey, labeled with the Superman logo and the phrase “Future man of steel.”

“Messages to boys tend to emphasize strength and ability and doing things,” said Christine Logel, an assistant social development professor at the University of Waterloo. “Messages to girls tend to emphasize appearance and being appealing to others, particularly to men.”

Logel was out shopping for her two young children with her friend Aimee Morrison, an associate professor of English at UW, when she saw the pajamas for sale.

“When I saw those baby PJs — made for three-month-olds — out of the corner of my eye, my heart sank,” said Logel.

She snapped a picture of the pajamas and out of frustration took her complaints to management. She said the assistant manager thought the pajamas were cute. Logel left a note detailing her concerns to the manager, however the manager never responded to her objection of the pajamas.

Target declined to comment at this point in time, however released a statement saying, “Target strives to treat all our guests with respect, and it is never our intent to offend anyone. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received and will continue to listen to our guests to ensure we offer merchandise that appeals to, and reflects, our diverse guest population.”

Initially, Logel posted the picture on her Facebook account where it got some response, however it was when the photo was shared through Morrison’s Twitter account that it became viral.

The photo now has over 700 shares on Twitter and has elicited worldwide responses.

Some social media users objected to these protests however, and did not believe that the pajamas were a problem.

“I think some people can get way too extreme over nothing,” said Avigael Samson, a fourth-year general arts student at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“These babies don’t even know how to read, they can’t even walk. I don’t really think it affects these babies.”

Logel addressed this claim by drawing on research of classical psychology studies.

“Baby boys and girls, if they have diapers on, are identical in every way. And yet adults are already seeing them by these potentially damaging, narrow roles,” she said.

Logel said psychology studies indicate that adults treat the same baby differently based on the sex.

She contested that if babies were to wear these jumpers, gender-specific stereotypes will be reinforced, supporting this notion.

“None of us felt that one pair of PJs will destroy babies’ lives. But they are a very small, but very real part of the problem,” she said.

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