|I know you 'boys in tights' Googlers will just love these.|
But just before I wrote this post I read Plan B's post 'The strange taxonomy of children's clothes'. She writes about how in the world of children's clothing animals are divided into two camps: boys animals and girls animals. Not by gender as in boy doggies and girl doggies but as Plan B says there are animals which only feature on boys or girls clothes. To quote:-
Reptiles and amphibians (all sorts), insects (all sorts except butterflies (and ladybirds)), lions and tigers (but not, it appears, leopards), hedgehogs, alsatians but not most other dogs, crustacea (all sorts), bears, sharks and whales, aardvarks, dragons.
Cats, rabbits, horses, most farmyard and domestic animals (though I remain uncertain about goats), all small rodents (except rats. Rats don't seem to feature strongly on children's clothes of either gender); dalmatians, dachshunds and yorkshire terriers, butterflies, fish (other than sharks) but not crustacea, seahorses (do they go with horses or fish, do you think?), birds (all sorts except parrots), zebras, unicorns.
Parrots, giraffes and elephants, turtles and most Australian mammals appear to be unisex.
The question Plan B poses is who decides that racoons are for boys and yorkshire terriers are for girls? It's a question that really grabbed me. The sort of topic that I am really interested in. And it got me thinking and for a while I was a little stumped. I got in touch with a couple of friends who I thought might have some insight into this. One has worked in design for many, many years imparting his excellent knowledge to people like me. He thought that there were 'no rules' regarding which animals belong to each gender, rather the way in which the animal is styled and coloured can determine which gender it was suitable for. I can see that; in fact hedgehogs could actually feature on clothes for either girls or boys depending on how 'rounded' or 'cuddly' they are depicted. For boys, when I think of hedgehogs, they definitely have to be more 'true to life'. My friend also asked me to consider "sinister rabbits and horses" on boys clothing. That made me laugh, it sounds far too much like a bad dream.
|Prada Collection Spring/Summer 2012|
But in writing this all down to Plan B, I had a thought. I couldn't say that I have ever really consciously thought about which animals are for which gender, but shout an animal at me, and I could probably tell you without a pause which gender it should be for. And why is that? I bet you can do it too. I mulled it over for nearly a whole day, until the only conclusion I could come to was that it comes down to the ferocity of the animal and/or the ickiness.
Foxes, bears, sharks, alsations, etc, all a little wild and/or ferocious:- all for boys.
Dolphins, rabbits (patently the normal, non-sinister variety), little birds:- not really very ferocious, and def. more for girls.
In my view the only insects that I am happy to handle are ladybirds and butterflies (and caterpillars actually but they are def. in the boy category) and thus these are the accepted girls insects. I may throw in a dragonfly as well as they come in pretty colours, but most other insects are a bit 'icky' and thus more boyish.
But, there are also exceptions to the rules. Cath Kidston has a terrier motif that features on both boyswear and girlswear. I'm betting pandas would bite you, but they are quite girly, aren't they? But then again, maybe because they are vegetarian that knocks them down the ferocity scale. What do you think? Do you think it's the ferocity of the animal that determines which gender it is allotted to?