Sex and the Sneakers

Strawberry_sneaker Here's a weird thing I'm struggling with: the "sexing" of shoes and getting Ollie to pick ones that are for boys. Nearly since he's been old enough to wander around the local shoe store, he's gravitated towards some sparkly Mary Janes. They seem to be coated in glitter or something, and he really likes the brown ones. Today he even tried one on (he fit the floor model), but I told him we couldn't get them.

Which got me thinking about kinda how unfair it is for kids, especially boys, that somehow lots of fun stuff's been associated with girls, even though there's no reason it should be. Why are brown sparkles more "girly"? Why don't they make a non-Mary Jane in brown sparkles? I can see why Ollie would want sparkles on his shoes, it's fun, they SPARKLE and SHIMMER. That's neat for a 2.5 year old, boy or girl. Instead he's supposed to wear some plain old navy blue things with streaks of silver.

We gave up at the shoe store and I set about looking online at Zappos for him where I spied sneakers with strawberries. I thought, "Ollie loves strawberries!" but then realized, no, these too were for girls. Somehow girls get strawberries, as if a fruit belongs more to one sex or another. What fruit could go on a boy's sneaker? Banana?

This isn't the first time I've struggled with clothing options for Ollie, nor will it be the last. It seems boys, at least in the US, are supposed to dress like mini-men instead of kids. Whoever designs their clothes and shoes seems to have lost touch with what was fun and neat when they were little: bright colors and shiny things and shapes and objects recognized from "real life". No one even seems to make sneakers with little dump trucks or fire engines on them. Surely that's something "right" for a boy.