It can be infuriating to wander around the “girls” and “boys” section of a clothing store, only to notice that the male graphic tees often have inspiring and proud messages on them, while girls are often stuck with princess crowns and flowers. Not that there’s anything wrong with tiaras and pink, but the message that is being sent to young girls — that they need to be pretty and dainty — is different than the one sent to boys, who are encouraged to be adventurous and strong. Which is why one woman’s viral gender neutral clothing photo is so very perfect.
Katie Hinde posted an image on Twitter of what is very clearly a stack of tank tops with the NASA logo on them in the girls’ department of a retail outlet. She wrote, “Did I just take a bunch of NASA tank tops from the boys section & put them in the girls section? Yes. Yes I did.”
YAS QUEEN…OR SCIENTIST OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE.
Sometimes we have to take things into our own hands. The tweet obviously struck a chord with people and quickly made its way around the internet. Some people did not appreciate the act of resistance, though, noting that Hinde only created more work for employees at the store, who likely earn a minimum, or at least low, wage.
Those people definitely have a point — finding tons of product outside of the right department is the bane of every retail employee’s existence. Hinde acknowledged the criticism on her Twitter account and wrote an essay in response to the varying reactions to her tweet, including the lack of intersectionality it shows.
She made some interesting conclusions, like noting that there are stores and brands that make gender neutral clothing; or that, yes, male and female bodies are made differently, so there *have* to be two different departments (although you could also argue that at age 6 or 7, male and female bodies are largely the same).
So maybe don’t go around messing up your local Target or Walmart, forcing people to do more work. Instead, maybe write an email or call the store’s marketing and purchasing departments to request more shirts with positive, feminist messages on them. Corporate America may not listen at first, but if enough of us resist, our culture will start to change for the better.