The Day I Tried to Buy Girls Underwear

Middle and I had a simple task to tick off our ‘to-do’ list this week.

Buy her some underpants.

Simple. You’d think. Unless, of course, you live on a planet where the high street manufacturers think that all girls TOTALLY lose their shit over cute animals and pale pink. Now, Middle is partial to the odd cuddly creature, and there is definitely a place in the world for pale pink. But seriously?

Our mission saw us visit the four big names in kids wear — Gap.com, Boden USA, H&M and Zara. This is how it went:

  • GAP.com — of the 11 sets of girls underwear that Gap are selling this week, 9 sets have pink in there somewhere. Of the 2 sets without pink, 1 set is literally covered in pear fruits. Because, y’know, us girls love our fruit.
  • H&M — of the 5 sets available in the girls underwear section, 3 don’t have a spot of pink on them. Those 3 sets are, however, all leopard print. Because, y’know, us girls have to remember to be sexy.
  • Boden USA — urgh, a total disappointment. Two measly sets featuring cupcakes and flowers. Get a grip Boden. You’re embarrassing yourself.
  • Zara — 15 sets — surely we’ll find something here! Sadly, only 5 sets weren’t dotted in pink and of those 5, 3 sets had images of a seemingly inebriated Minnie Mouse draped lovingly over a somewhat disinterested Mickey. I’m not joking.

Middle was understandably miffed until she spotted out of the corner of her curious little eyes, a set of “boys” boxer shorts in blues and greens with space invaders on. It’d be fair to say she lost her shit. Yes they’re a little ‘bulky’ around the nether region, but she bloody well loves those funky underpants and so do I.

It’s pretty shit though right, when our options for kids wear remain so archaically gendered. Shittier still when you try to explain the “why” to your confused daughter. Or have to respond to questions like “Mummy, is it weird that I prefer space invaders to the sexy intoxicated Mouse?”.

So, to Gap and H&M and Boden and Zara. I have a request. No, a wish. A get-down-on-my-knees-and-plead-with-you-wish. I wish that you would stop making our girls feel like they should to lose their shit over soft, cute animals that need to be cared for. My daughter has an innate nurturing side already, it’s really not necessary that you keep wanging on about THAT ONE THING. Her nurturing side is already evident in the way she tends to her younger brother in the same way she might tend to, say a vegetable plant. I agree that it’s important that she possess that quality (it’s important my sons possess that quality too). It’ll make her a great mother (or gardener) one day. So let’s assume that we’ve got that covered and start reminding our girls that they are OTHER THINGS TOO. Let’s remind our girls that they curious and adventurous. Let’s remind our girls that they are wild and strong. Let’s allow our girls to be tree climbing, video game players without labelling them “tomboys”. Let’s allow them to wear orange, black, green, hell, let’s even let them wear blue without prejudice. Let’s allow our girls to wear great underpants.

It’s not too much to ask is it?