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Pick on Someone Your Own Size

February 27, 2010

I thought I had seen it all when I found out about wigs for baby girls, but, whoa, was I wrong.


At least the comments for the most part seem to be positive, and find the article ridiculous.

Jezebel also brings up some good points when assessing the madness.

The reason this topic catches my eye is because I see it as just another example of how we condition small children for certain types of behavior and traits, and that it can be very damaging.

Exhibit one, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.  With the exception of the famous ‘rents and all that entails, she is a three-year old just like any other. New to the world, her siblings and other three-year old friends, playdates and family may be the extent of what she knows about it.

In short, a young child in what we assume is a stable and loving home is as pure and unaffected as it gets.

But already, people are trying to limit her, to define her. They are trying to shame her for not fitting into neat little definitions of what they think it means to be a girl.

Based on her appearance and dress, people have been speculating about this three year old. There have been suggestions that three-year-old Shiloh is bisexual.

Yes, you read that right. They are saying that because this three-year-old girl happens to prefer her hair short, and more comfortable loose-fitting clothes to to tutus and tiaras, she must be a future-lesbian.


Let’s let her be. Let’s let her grow. Let’s not try and fit her into these narrow constructions of personhood. She’s new to this world, and already, they are trying to say what is acceptable for a little kid who happens to be a girl and what is not. Assigning values to appearance and sexuality. Saying she’s clearly a little lesbian in the making, like it’s a bad thing. Shame on you, world.

And what is with the term “tomboy”? Why not, “athletic girl”? Or, quite simply, “girl”? Why are these divisions  inherent in our perceptions of little children, and later on, in men and women?

Some girls want to play, too, and climb trees, and run. Have you tried doing that in stockings and a dress? Not exactly the most appropriate attire for active situations.

I do not think dressing your body for your lifestyle makes you any less of whatever you are. And I do not think having a lifestyle that varies from the “norm” (if such a thing exists) disqualifies you from being normal, either.  I do not think of people in such narrow terms.

How articles about celeb babies could go:

Exhibit one, a three year old child. Dressed in comfy clothes, surprisingly well coordinated for so young an age, child in question happens to be female.  She loves her brothers and sisters, and playing sports. She has a lot of energy and a sense of humor. She likes to draw and dance and help dad in the kitchen.

This should be the extent of what we say about little bodies and how we think about their personhood. Why are we tracking what she’s wearing? Why are we making assumptions and projections about her based on it?

It’s never a good time to criticize people’s bodies or measure them against some standard you created. It’s never good to compromise some of their uniqueness or self so that they can fit in to a two-dimensional model of the world.

And it’s especially terrible when we try and do it to little kids.

So media, tabloids, and anyone who agrees with them, if you insist on picking on someone, at least let it be someone who can fight back.

One Comment leave one →
  1. snobographer permalink
    February 28, 2010 1:14 AM

    They pick on Zahara too. And Suri Cruise. If I recall correctly, once upon a time, kids at least had to be celebrities themselves before the tabloids would make shit up about them and criticize their appearance. It’s seriously messed up.

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