What’s not to like? Ostensibly cute babygros which, being literary and French, must be chic. It’s a mini miracle surely, something pink and on trend, but still (just) the right side of blingy. Right?
Apparently not, according to French feminist website F Comme. The website has declared them misogynistic and old hat (only, being French, with much greater aplomb). It urges readers to bombard Petit Bateau’s facebook page with negative feedback.
Their objection? The portrayal of little girls as jolies, têtues, rigolotes, douces, coquettes, gourmandes, amoureuses, mignonnes, élégantes et belles.
Babel Fish had great fun with the story. Falling back on my student French (limited – I managed to get through my Premlims without having to read anything more modern than Roman de la Rose) this translates roughly as follows;
- funny, comical (possibly,the French here has more of a Drama Queen connotation)
- clothes-conscious, flirtatious (there’s no English equivalent to coquette)
Boys, on the other hand, are (amongst other things) brave, strong, robust, determined and cool.
F Comme argues that such polarisation fuels stereotyping and limits the potential of girls. How can a tiny baby be all these things? And (so the argument goes) by default a girl (because she is not a boy) may be denied the qualities that are more likely to lead to (material) success.
A girl becomes damned by association (repeated almost from the moment she is born). If you’re hammering on a glass ceiling, determination and robustness are probably going to be more useful than a flirtatious manner with your eyelashes and an obsession with macarons.
So, another example of inappropriate attire for our little ones? Or just a bit of harmless fun?
Personally, I’ve always disliked the pink/blue thing. But it’s a hard one to break. Buying a demin blue dress for a colleague’s (as yet unborn) little girl drew gasps of surprise (fortunately not from the mother). I wouldn’t risk it again. Even though the alternatives, white and lemon, make a terrible background for baby sick.
Would I buy one of the offending babygros? No.
If I were given one as a gift, would I put my baby in it? Well, they are rather cute. And, being French, I could always claim it was post-modern and ironic.