Note: This post breaks my longstanding personal rule not to promote a particular business. I am writing this in support of a friend and former student who is starting a new business whose ethic is something I ascribe to as well. This is not an unbiased post.
We don’t drive through the McDonald’s drive-through often, but ever since a new one was built less than a mile down the road, about a year ago, it’s sometimes just too convenient and I’m just too tired or rushed or spent, and I just go ahead and get the Happy Meal. It annoys me because I wouldn’t have driven the several miles to the next closest one before this one was built, but that’s the obesogenic environment we live in, and I admit being as susceptible as the next harried mom on those particularly hectic or exhausting days when I haven’t adequately planned.
But something annoys me even more than the convenience of the McDonald’s that I feel bad for using. It’s what happens when I actually order. I pull up to the drive-through and order a Happy Meal. And then I brace myself. “Girl toy or boy toy?” Through gritted teeth, I answer instead with what the toy actually is. Most recently, I answered with “My Little Pony,” which, surely I don’t have to tell people, is not a “girl toy.” It’s a toy. And it’s a toy that boys or girls can play with. My boy loves My Little Pony, certainly more than the NFL (which he doesn’t even know exists because he’ll never play football while living under my roof).
I’ve stopped lecturing the folks at the drive-through. They’re just trying to get by on minimum wage and doing what they’re told. I get it. (Though I’m secretly thrilled when one actually says “NFL or My Little Pony?” or whatever the combo is, instead of “Girl toy or boy toy?”) But it frustrates me to no end that the erroneous idea persists that there is a such thing as a “girl toy” or a “boy toy.”
There is no such thing. There are toys. Period.
Why this little rant? Because the same ought to be true for clothes. However, it’s trickier with clothes because boys and girls are (obviously) physically built differently so “boy clothes” don’t always fit girls and vice versa. Yet boys can love My Little Pony (my son owns several “girl” shirts with MLP) and girls can love dinosaurs and Monster Trucks. Just good luck on finding boys’ MLP shirts or girls’ Monster Truck shirts.
But a friend and former student of mine, Jenn, is apparently fed up with the idea of gendered clothing as well because she’s starting a new clothing line called Jill and Jack Kids – ”Clothes that go beyond pink and blue.” My favorite of her four prototype designs is the orange T-Rex one, both because I love orange and because it reminds us that “Half of All T-Rexes Were Girls.” And I’m looking forward to seeing what other designs the company produces.
But I’ll only find out if she gets the funding to launch the business off the ground. She’s running a Kickstarter campaign to do exactly that, and her Kickstarter page tells you pretty much everything you might want to know about the company. (And if you have a question, contact her through any of her social media accounts, listed below, and she’ll get back to you.)
I would love to see her succeed, both because she’s a friend and former student and because I love the concept of a kids’ clothing company whose explicit purpose is NOT to genderize clothing. So, I’m using my blog to tell my readers: check out her Kickstarter page and website. See what you think. If you like what you see, consider contributing to her campaign or spreading the word. You can also visit her social media sites here: