Earlier this week, a company called Wry Baby sparked controversy with one of their baby onesies, which read “I hate my thighs.” Obviously this is troubling for many reasons, the largest of which is that fat-shaming infants is grotesque at best. We presume that the company is making a stab at humor, but there really isn’t anything funny about teaching children from birth to hate their bodies, is there?
“Lighten up,” I can hear some of you saying, “babies can’t read!”
Perhaps not, but what about her siblings? Do we want our four- and five-year old daughters seeing baby sister in this onesie, and wondering “should I be hating my thighs, too?”
We weren’t the only ones concerned. When questioned about the product in an article by MS. Magazine, Wry Baby issued what may be the lamest, most half-assed “apology” we have ever heard:
“We couldn’t agree more about body image. That’s why we made an ironic joke about it. Obviously no baby would or should hate their thighs! …But we’re glad you’re able to froth up your readers this week and shine a light on what is apparently a vital mission of MS. Magazine – reviewing baby clothes.”
Some joke, huh? Also, I don’t think I like your tone…
They further responded by resurrecting a retired onesie from their collection and pitting it against “I hate my thighs” in a showdown. (The proceeds were to benefit the MS. Foundation for Women, in a nice turn.) The contender? “Love me for my leg rolls.”
It’s one thing, however, to point out where we believe someone went wrong, and quite another to craft a response which we feel addresses the problem directly and in a positive way. Why should children’s clothing focus on body image in the first place? We thought we could do better, and so we have. In response to “I hate my thighs” and “Love me for my leg rolls”, we have created our own children’s clothing; now available for purchase in our shop.
Available messages include:
And perhaps best of all,
“Self-esteem is my super power.”
Said Nanea Hoffman, founder of Sweatpants & Coffee, “As the mother of a young girl, I wanted to make positive, affirming words available. I look at my child and right this moment she is completely okay with herself, and I am so grateful. But I also have this ball of fear at the back of my throat because I dread the day when she will look in the mirror and not be okay with what she sees. I want to innoculate her as much as possible against this kind of bullshit. She came into this world enough. I want her to remember that she is always enough. I want us all to remember that.”
Because the message we want our children to learn is that the girth of their thighs does not determine their value. That nobody gets loved for their leg rolls. That loving yourself, and your body, is healthier than internalizing someone else’s ideal of beauty. That regardless of our circumference, we are worthy.