THE BLOG
09/25/2011 08:29 EDT | Updated 11/25/2011 05:12 EST

One Mother's (Exhaustive) Search for Gender-Neutral Clothes

In days of shopping I was unable to find attractive colourful unisex clothing for my son in main street/mainstream stores. So may I say three words to the fashion industry: Get over it. It is soul-crushing and mindless to force children to differentiate their sexed bodies in such limited and limiting ways.

Guess what? If you want to find your male toddler something to wear that is not blue, grey, shit-brown, beige or black, you can't. Unless you also want flowers, butterflies, and ruffled or ruched sleeves. Yes, that is right, the thought-control police of children's clothing continue to do well for themselves this fall.

Plus ça change! I'm in Paris, and I headed first to Place d'Italie, giant two-year-old in tow, confident of finding a range of pretty, comfortable things in different colours and patterns. He loves purples, bright greens, and polka dots, for example. But no luck. Way to go, fashion capital!

In days of shopping I proved unable, time and again, to find attractive colourful unisex clothing in main street/mainstream stores. So may I say three words to the fashion industry: Get over it. It is soul-crushing and mindless to force children to differentiate their sexed bodies in such limited and limiting ways. It is also uncreative and unimaginative (I felt much the same about the utterly predictable Thylane Blondeau shoot in Vogue).

It may seem like a small complaint, but it is symptomatic of a world of facile assumptions, erasures and oppressions. Back in Canada at a Toys R Us -- I was already feeling dubious due to the apparent division of toys into 1) Pepto Bismol domestic vs. 2) the killing fields - - a salesperson once congratulated me on being pregnant with a girl when I bought a pile of receiving blankets in pastel colours. Really? You read my barf rags to sex the baby?

I have noticed significant growth in websites offering alternatives in terms of clothing, but that can be both inconvenient and (often) more expensive. Too bad, as from what other parents have said to me, the market is there.