In case you weren’t aware, is a website run by Fred Phelps, leader of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. They’re the ones who have anti-gay protests around the U.S., including at some points showing up at the funerals of gay men, and have moved on to a general “God hates America” theme, due to all our depravity. He makes Jeremiah Wright (Obama’s pastor) look like a teddy bear–at least he was just saying God ought to damn America.

These t-shirts depress me more than anything I have seen in a really long time.

A completely unrelated Kansas story: When I was living there, in a small town, I discovered that my vet was the head of the Board of Education and was leading the anti-evolution efforts at the time (this was before voters elected a new Board and got rid of a lot of the anti-evolution people).

Anyway, thanks to Larry H. from The Daily Mirror for this photo (found here). I guess.

Also note the girls-as-using-their-looks-and-friendliness-to-manipulate and boys-as-using-money-to-get-what-they-want themes:

Thanks to our reader, Laura L!

Also in the sexualization of kids: the Miley Cyrus scandal ‘n stuff and modeling, tramp stamps, and stripper poles for kids.

This article on modesty was in Women’s Care, a free magazine that showed up in my mailbox yesterday.


I assume the way the girl is posed and the look on her face are supposed to imply immodesty. Her clothes don’t strike me as at all problematic (I mean, are peace signs sexy?), so if it’s supposed to be an image of the “comeback” of modesty, the pose and look are extra creepy.

Some quotes from the 1-page article:

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Victoria’s Secret executives who have long asked, ‘What is sexy?’ are now trying to figure out, ‘What’s too sexy?’…The revamping of the company’s product lines follows a drop in sales. Questions to chat about: Is modesty making a comeback or is the decrease in Victoria’s Secret’s sales the results of a sluggish economy?

Where can mothers find modest clothing for females from little girls to teens?

Again we see the assumption that caring for kids is women’s work–it’s not parents who are looking for clothing for their kids, it’s mothers.

In addition to the cut and length of clothing, the article discusses “slogan” tees that say things like “So many boys, so little time.” There is no mention whatsoever of boys’ slogan tees, which are also often offensive or at least questionable. We only need to worry about modesty in reference to girls, apparently.

Jennifer E.-B. sent in these three images.

The text on the website for this men’s t-shirt:

What goes into being a Dad? You’ll find 100% leadership, 100% guidance, 100% sacrifice, and 24/7 dedication. These Christian Dad Facts and more are printed on this inspirational tribute. A loving gift, comfy 100% cotton tee is machine washable and made in the USA.

The “ingredients” on the t-shirt include dedication, love, wisdom, and leadership. The “serving size” is “2 helpings of advice.”


The website for this women’s shirt says:

Ever wonder what makes up a Mom? Well, there’s 100% sugar, 100% sacrifice, 100% caring, and 24/7 comforting. These Christian Mom Facts and more are printed on this inspirational tribute. A sweet gift, comfy 100% cotton tee is machine washable and made in the USA.

The “ingredients” include comforting, love, wisdom, total compassion, sugar, sacrifice, and caring. The “serving size” is 5 hugs per day.


Then there is this child’s t-shirt that says “Daddy did my hair”:


As Jennifer points out,

I think it brings up a lot of unspoken norms about parental responsibility and ability. First, it indicates that it is the norm for mommy to do the daughter’s hair, but out of the norm for daddy to do it–we don’t see t-shirts saying mommy did my hair, right? (I searched and didn’t find any.) Because that’s just taken for granted. But if Dad does it, it is something to be noticed (and maybe he even gets praised for doing something that is a routine job for mom). Second, the implication is that dads cannot do their daughter’s hair “correctly.” So there is an expectation that if dad does the hair it will be a mess. Think about what this says about men–we certainly think they are capable of doing all kinds of very complex tasks at work–but we don’t think they can comb hair or put in a ponytail??? Third, I think the shirt serves the purpose of justifying the girl’s looks for the mom. In other words, no moms want others to think they would do such a poor job on the girl’s hair. They want others to know that it looks like this because daddy did it. Moms feel pressure to have their kids look great (and behave well) all the time, no matter how hectic the day is. And, of course, the shirt is for a girl, not a boy. No one really cares how a boy’s hair looks.

Thanks, Jennifer!

The U.S. population is becoming less and less overwhelmingly white. Projections suggest that, by 2050, whites will compromise less than half of the population. This trend, according to the New York Times today, is being driven by our kids. Below, a map shows the percentage of non-white children in each state of the Union.


Among other things interesting to me about this discussion is the tendency to compare the proportion of the population that is “white” with the proportion of the population that is “not white.” This reinforces the notion that white is somehow pure and important, and everything else is just… something else. While some say that we will no longer be a “white nation” (for better or worse) when whites are outnumbered by non-whites, whites will still be the majority insofar as the non-white group is comprised of an incredibly diverse group of people by race, ethnicity, and immigration-status.

I found this ad for an umbilical cord blood storage company in the April 2008 issue of Healthy Las Vegas.

It provides a list of all kinds of very scary-sounding diseases as reasons you should pay to store your baby’s blood cord. It’s another example of scaring parents into buying expensive products to protect their kids–and, obviously, if you won’t spend the money to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood for years, you aren’t a very good parent.

I went to the company’s website. Under the heading “You Only Get One Chance to Bank Cord Blood” it says:

Banking a baby’s cord blood could prove invaluable should you ever need it. You only have one chance to collect this vital fluid and minutes after your baby is born. This sample has the potential to not only help the baby in the future, but also to blood relatives such as parents and siblings. It offers a powerful medical resource in fighting devastating chronic and acute diseases. Think of it as an investment in your family’s future.

It costs $1,850 for the kit to collect the blood from a single birth, plus $95 a year, or $1600 for 18 years, to store it.

Just for fun I looked up the prevalence of some of the diseases listed in the ad. Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome occurs in about 1 out of every 380,000 people. For amyloidosis, it’s about 1 in 100,000. Less than 1 in 200,000 people have Wolman disease (these are all NIH estimates).

To put this in perspective, according to some calculations, a male African American child has about a 1 in 20 lifetime chance of being killed by gunfire. I don’t know what it is for white kids, but I bet that, risk-wise, you’d be better off buying your kid a bullet-proof vest than banking their cord blood.

I saw these tee shirts on display at Walgreens today and did a double-take. And then I drove all the way home to get my camera. They’re for children– very tiny children (labeled 2T, 3T etc.). And they’re on sale for the bargain price of $7.99 each, marked down from the original $15!!

Let’s see what these tee shirts say:

“Lock up your daughters” on a black tee, which I assume is for boys. Think about what that means for a moment.

“Does this diaper make my butt look big?” on a pink tee, for girls.

“My dad rocks” on a red tee (for boys, I think). This doesn’t make much of a statement until you compare it with the accompanying tees about mothers…

“My mom’s hotter than your mom” on a white tee (again, I think for boys).

“My mom is hot” on a blue tee (boys).

and the clever “I cry when ugly people hold me” on black (for boys?).

While these aren’t quite as terrible as the ones I dug up on the internets a while ago, I’m shocked to see them on sale at Walgreens. I guess I expect to find creepy, sexist stuff online more often than at my friendly neighborhood drugstore.

These images came to us from Dianne who saw this on BoingBoing and dug deeper to find all these great examples!

Illustrating the way in which whiteness is taken-for-granted and others are always, well, other, Plan Toys sells these doll sets labelled “Ethnic Family,” “AsianFamily,” and, “Doll Family.”

They also sell a “farmer” and a “farmer’s wife.” Dianne notes: “Women don’t farm, apparently, they just marry men who do.”

They also sell this generic “Native American set” of which they write:

“Children can create imaginary stories with the Indian figures, camp, teepee and authentic accessories. They can learn about the traditional American tribe and their lifestye.”

Notice how American Indian tribal difference is erased with the phrase “the traditional American tribe.” Diane pointed out that the set actually combines teepees and totem poles which were traditions of tribes in the plains and on the west coast respectively.

In the “How to Play” section, it says:

“Children can imagine and tell stories about Red Indians, helping to stimulate their imagination and expanding their horizon.”

Yes they really do say “Red Indians.”

Diane notices that, just like the doll family is obviously white, “here again, apparently the default child is white, who can ‘imagine… stories about Red Indians.'”

Ironically, the company claims that they are “socially & environmentally responsible” and promote “good values.”

Thanks so much Diane!

NEW: Kirsten D. sent us this link to a series of Playmobil toys.  All of the non-white characters are given racial designations, but the white characters are not.  I included some examples below.

African/African American Family:

Asian family:


Medical Team and Patients:

Prince and Princess:


Also in the neutral and the marked: men are people and women are women and from pale to pumped with racial stereotypes.