I was shopping at Target for my nephew the other day and noticed this sign above a rack of boys’ t-shirts:


What made me pay attention was the “wear them out” line — the implication being that boys are rough and tough and hard on clothes, and that these t-shirts are made for that. Another rack had a sign referring to boys expressing themselves (they all had some image or phrase on them):


I looked directly across the aisle to the girls’ section, where I saw this:


The other racks on the girls’ side stressed the price but didn’t have a tagline like these.

It’s a small thing. Clearly these aren’t representative–they’re the posters that were up that day at one Target, and I haven’t checked around to compare the language on racks of children’s clothing at other stores. But I couldn’t help but think that it was unlikely you’d see girls’ clothing sold with the line “wear them out” and its assumption of roughness and activity. On the other hand, I didn’t see any signs on the boys’ side that said anything about being cute or “sweet.”

Also see: Tonka Trucks are “built for boyhood” and the much-beloved 1980s Lego ad.

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