After DC's licensed t-shirts congratulating Superman for banging Wonder Woman and training women to be Batman's wife made national news this morning, social media has been talking about it nonstop. Amongst all the chatter, this tweet has been making the rounds, showing two sets of pajamas for sale at Target, one themed for girls, sparkly and pink, with the phrase "I ONLY DATE HEROES" emblazoned on it, and the other themed for boys, neutral colored, with the phrase "FUTURE MAN OF STEEL."
It certainly looks pretty damning, but I will point out for the record that this is a photo taken from inside the store by a customer, which means that these two pieces of clothing were not necessarily the only ones of their type and not necessarily meant to be paired together. A search of Target's website did not reveal either outfit for me, though the girls' superhero section is woefully pink, a problem hardly unique to licensed superhero gear. But without being in the store myself, I can't tell you for a fact that there isn't a boy-targeted superhero dating shirt and a neutral-colored future Wonder Woman one for girls. There probably isn't, but I can't prove it for you. Just being up front about that, before you shout it at me in the comments section.
Blogger Ashley Csanady tracked down the person who took the photo, a University of Waterloo professor named Christine Logel, who asked fellow Waterloo professor Aimée Morrison to tweet it. Here's their account, from Csanady's blog post on Canada.com:
The assistant manager of the store was approached about the pairing of pajamas and said they were “cute.”
“We did not think they were cute,” said Morrison.
“We talk about the sexualization of girls, it’s not like a g-string onesies, but this makes reference to dating. This is an infant,” said Morrison, an English prof who specializes in new media. “It’s already imagining the wearer of the pink onesie as someone whose identity is wrapped up in who they date, and the wearer of the black onesie as someone who gets to have their own identity.”
“It’s the two sets of pajamas placed against each other. It’s the contrast between what we imagine in the future for boys and what we imagine in the future for girls,” Morrison said. “One is, ‘I can grow up to be somebody powerful,’ and the other one is ‘I can grow up to date somebody powerful.”
“It’s not like the boys’ onesie said ‘I’m going to date supergirl some day,’ and the girls’ said ‘I’m going to date superboy someday’… when you put the two together, it actually says a lot about how we socialize boys and girls to think of what their future holds for them, where they get their power in the world.”
In any case, perhaps the most disturbing part about this is the fact that DC thinks toddlers date. Jesus Christ, DC! What the hell are you doing over there? :P