Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skulls For Kids?

Posted by Mandy at 10:49 AM

In a recent school clothes shopping trip, I was stunned to see how many stores now have skulls and crossbones strewn across little girl and boy tops. I would see a shirt for Madison that was a beautiful color and the perfect cut, only to find a boney face with a bow on its head staring back at me. Imaginging my little girl - my ballerina, my softball player, my environmentalist - sporting a look such as this put a bad taste in my mouth.
As store after store marketed this look, I began to realize that I must be one of the few parents that find this a bit, well, distasteful. Obviously others are snatching these styles up or they wouldn't be cluttering rack after rack. Is this just one more area in which I will be considered "that mom"?
Of all of the graphics that one can put on their child's body... why this one? Why is this so popular? What happened to non-offensive symbols like peace signs?
Has anyone else noticed this trend? What are your thoughts on skulls for kids?
This top is from Old Navy. You can view it here.


Shelley on Thursday, 14 August, 2008 said...

I don't mind them at all, myself, but they don't really "fit" what my kids are into. But, I can also say, I got sent back to my cabin to change clothes at church camp at wolf creek when I was about 10 for wearing a peace sign shirt, so remember, not everyone likes those either.

I don't like the kids' clothes that say crap about "GIRLS RULE, BOYS DROOL" and etc. And I don't like that rabbit with the attitude line of clothes, don't know what it's called....

Anonymous said...

Kyla absolutely wanted to douse herself in them,so we compormised her backpack has them all over it.Just like she requested her clothes only be bought in the colors of black,blue and brown = Skater,punk.

I have to say the skull and crossbones rubbed me the wrong way at first but not so much now.I think to me,it is a matter of content and how it is done as well.I will see if I can find links to some of what I bought for her and see what you think...

Mandy on Thursday, 14 August, 2008 said...

Shelley, I wrote a post a while back about the "attitude" shirts... I'll have to link it when I find it.

KT - I think it's funny that Kyla is already turning into a punk rocker! :) I suppose, for us, it's weird b/c Madison is so the opposite of all things rock? lol

Sugar-n-Spice on Thursday, 14 August, 2008 said...

Before I realized they were the trend, "Hope" had chosen a swim cap with a skull, cross bones and a pink bow. After a little reading, and realizing that though many do associate the skulls with death and evil, they have also been used in beautiful art and can be a symbol of humanity and life. It can mark poison, or just mortality. And since she's not sailing across the sea with that as her flag...

So we decided that we would give her that freedom, and her school supplies this year are also covered with them. It fits her. Though I'm sad it's such a fashion now, I really thought she was being different and making her own statement. I guess she is, in some ways, and maybe she'll develop her own sense of taste rather than following a crowd eventually. ;)

I DO NOT allow my children to wear t-shirts with slogans or sayings that are rude or crude. As a matter of fact I really don't even like shirts that draw attention to the "bust"...that can be writing across there or shirts that tailor around/outline that area. I can't stand Dixie shirts, either. Or rebel flag stuff. arg.

Mandy on Friday, 15 August, 2008 said...

Oh girl.. don't get me started on rebel flags... I honestly don't think you could be more offensive and hateful than if you choose to display a rebel flag in the south.

Shelley, when you mentioned the peace sign being offensive at the church camp you were in, it reminded me that my sister said her husband won't let their boys wear peace signs b/c he was always told they were "broken crosses."

I suppose that, again, is just another thing up for debate!

Shelley on Friday, 15 August, 2008 said...

I disagree totally on the rebel flag stuff. In the south, it's very often just a southern pride thing, and not about hate in the least.

Mandy on Friday, 15 August, 2008 said...

Maybe to a white person.. but knowing that black ppl and white ppl alike are greatly offended by the rebel flag, and that it, to them, stands for hatred and racism, takes away the southern pride meaning for me.

Knowing that the flag was flown by confederates fighting to keep slavery legal (amongst other reasons, but slavery being quite predominant) can send the message that you are a racist, even if you are not.

Having knowledge that the flag creates those kinds of thoughts and serious feelings of controversy are some of the reasons I am not one to find it is useful in our present day society.

totally off topics: I am embarrassed to admit how many times it took me to spell predominant correctly. It's too early for blogging...

Shelley on Friday, 15 August, 2008 said...

well that's kind of like assuming anyone with a rainbow on their shirt is gay....just because gays have adopted it as their symbol.

I agree to disagree, basically. I had rebel flags all over my truck as a teenager, and had plenty of black friends that rode with me all the time; not one of them would have ever thought that I was hateful at all.

Mandy on Friday, 15 August, 2008 said...

I can agree to disagree, too. lol

Anonymous said...

I too prefer to see little ones in pinks and frills, cute mary janes and ballet flats rather than jolly rogers, but I think individuality is important, even at this age. As long as the outfit isn't all black and your child isn't depressed, I think it's okay. And I am in agreeance that in the south, rebel flags can be nothing more than an advertisement of our southern roots. Can it be misportrayed by hate groups? Yes, but that's not Arkansans fault. Any group can misuse any symbol and create negative connotations.

Ana on Sunday, 17 August, 2008 said...

I'm chiming in so late in this convo I hope no feels offended by this. Very interesting topics for debate! I personally don't like the skull n crossbone images (no matter how cute) on clothing either. Something about the images summon thoughts of the dead and haunting.

Also I'd like to share some thoughts on the rebel (confederate) flag from a black females poi living in the south. Please let me preface that I am not trying to speak for all black people, but I do think that a lot of black people share my views. The confederate flag being carried or flow raises a lot of concern for many blacks and rightfully so. Although, I believe the original symbol of the flag wasn't steeped in racism and hatred, it later became so in the civil war.

For me, once a symbol takes on a negative connotation (despite it's original meaning) it can never fully regain it's original meaning. In my opinion we cannot say the flag only symbolizes southern pride and leave out the fact it also symbolize a horrible, shameful part of American history. If one raises the flag then one must accept that it will symbolize both the good and bad. You cannot choose what part it will symbolize for other even if you think you are choosing what part it symbolizes for you. Moreover the negative of this flag speaks a lot louder than the positive.

Same goes for the swastika (the Nazi symbol). Although, at one time the swastika had a simple, unoffensive meaning, the moment it was utilized by the Nazis to represent their heinous agenda against the Jews, it would never again have a positive meaning. No ever says that the swastika should be raised or carried with pride. At least I've never heard this. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding the is disparity with the confederate flag. Again these are my thoughts and not intended to speak for all black people.

Amanda & Justin Dreyer on Sunday, 17 August, 2008 said...

I guess the skull and crossbones would be more appropriate if your kids went to Drew Central.

Mandy on Monday, 18 August, 2008 said...

Ana, thank you for commenting! You said what I was thinking better than I could. :)

Amanda, you're right! lol If my kids went to Drew Central (they're the Pirates) then I'd probably be stockpiling skull and crossbones tees.

Michael on Wednesday, 20 August, 2008 said...

As far as the rebel flag is concerned it did represent the South in a time when slavery was accepted. Fact is, slavery was also accepted in the North prior to many southern states seceding from the Union. Many, if not all, of the Southern states listed slavery in their secession statements.

However, the majority of people, (who were born into that way of life-not unlike slaves themselves) did not own slaves. That includes a majority who fought for the South in the civil war. A lot of those young men and women were fighting to protect their way of life - the only way they knew. was it right? NO. Was it accepted at the time as status quo? YES. Most slaves were owned by wealthy landowners and planters, who happened to be the politician's at the time too.

That flag represents a huge bundle of people's ancestors who fought for what they believed in. Many who fought to keep their way of life which was protected prior to the Civil War through the Union. Many joined and fought for the protection of family and land after the war began - those who were not forced to fight. Was it right or just? NO.

The rebel flag did and does represent a lot of things. The fact that it has been used by a group of mostly un-educated people to represent their beliefs is sad. The fact that the rebel flag now is more noticeably recognized for that group is far worse.

The argument that once a symbol has been used for negative meanings, it should no longer be used, is not a good one for me. If that were the case, no one would be able to use the following;

Red - Bloods
Blue - Crips
Rabbits - Vice Lords
Mickey Mouse - Mexican Mafia

Yes, those are gang symbols or colors, all extremist groups who have adopted those as recognizable signs. That is a small list, there are many other colors, including black and gold which are used by gangs. I guess I'll have to stop shaving my head now because I do not want to be confused with a Neo Nazi skinhead.

Just my two cents, may not be worth any more than that to anyone else.

Quite simply, symbols often have many different meanings to different people. If you do away with everything because it has a negative response to some people then you might as well do away with our American Flag as well. After all, it is the symbol which many stand behind to argue it gives them the right for their extremist opinions. Fact is, IT DOES!

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