“Because I Moved 5 Shirts”… Portrait Of An Unexpected Twitter Storm

FeminismGenderGirls 179 Comments

By Katie Hinde – Woooo buddy, it’s been quite the 34 hours. Sunday night I was looking for super hero t-shirts in the “girls” section at a Big Box Store, not finding them, and then unwittingly jumped down a rabbit hole.

From the home, to the classroom, to the store, our culture reinforces limitations on children due to their sex/gender. As a scientist who works on inclusivity in academia and science, I spend a lot of time thinking about the pipeline. I am particularly concerned about the scarcity and disparity of science & science fiction oriented toys, clothes, and outreach. A situation that reinforces, and is reinforced by, widespread gender norms. Parents underestimate their daughters interest in science and think science is harder for them- despite no differences in daughter and son interest or performance.  Female teachers anxious about their math ability affect the math abilities of their female students.  And girls are more likely than are boys to think their teachers think they are bad at math.  From childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, women encounter different obstacles to achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Across the world, lower national measures of gender-science stereotypes are associated with better representation of women in scientific careers.

And standing in that Big Box store aisle, surrounded by too much stereotypically gendered clothing, I had a George Banks is saying no moment. I took the NASA shirts from the “boys” section from where they were prominently displayed, and put them little kid eye level next to tank tops in the “girls” section 20 feet away. And shared a pic of my tiny-scale, subversive, nonviolent, direct action.

And then…

As of right now when I post this essay, there have been 115,111 hearts. 23,000+ RTs. & 3000 comments to my account on twitter. Cross-postings, links, writers, cultural critics, so many folks weighing in. So many people amplifying how meaningful it is to disrupt the ways in which we undermine our children through gender stereotyping.

Someday I hope to organize all the responses so I can calculate the proportion of tweets for each of the key themes that emerged. But until then & because of cognitive biases in the human mind, I spent much of today grappling with the responses that were critical of my tweet.

Some of these are *really* important. I RT’d key examples of them, they motivated me to do more information gathering, and have shaped how I will approach these actions moving forward (discussed at the very end).

Let’s address these in turn:

“This is a non-issue bc they have NASA shirts for girls”

Yes, Target has NASA shirts for girls (awesome!). But I never indicated which Big Box Store I was in, bc I was making a broader social critique of gendered children’s clothing. But apparently, Target should do some serious back-patting on brand recognition with minimal visual clues. In between the backpatting for the sustained effort addressing these kinds of gendered shopping experiences. Once folks started talking about NASA shirts for girls there, I went back the next morning to find them and check on some other things. The NASA shirts in the “boys” sections were placed in three different locations (2/3 were prominently on the main aisles visible from 20+ feet away) and positioned at three different eye levels for typical heights in early childhood, middle childhood, and adulthood. For the girls’ staff told me that they definitely had them in the store… somewhere. Turned out, the girls’ NASA shirts were in one location at the back of one section, facing a divider, away from the main path. Other folks have talked about how their local store has prominent NASA & science displays for girls. Sadly not so my store. Yet.

Having returned to the store, I did a more thorough exploration of the images & messages being marketed by gender. There were a lot of marine biology shirts in the girls’ section (yay!). On the other hand, lots of examples of gender stereotyping during toddlerhood: t-shirts for little girls telling them to smile, be kind every day, how to share, and that they can be anything they want (especially if it involves smiling, kindness, and sharing, eh?).

Toddler boys’ clothes mostly emphasized other traits.

Throughout these sections are posters and mannequins showing boys and girls in the clothing of their “respective” sections. Moreover, in the posters the little boys are very active while the girls are more typically stationary posing.

Many folks tweeting in response to my moving merchandise said “Just take daughters to the boys section to pick out clothes, nbd.” Except that by 18-24 months of age, kids are already sensitive to gender stereotyping. This means many girls will perceive that the “boy” clothes and the themes featured there, are not for themselves. But even for the girls who love transcending arbitrary stereotyping sections, there remains an issue. Because it is a two way street, clothing section differences reinforce gender stereotypes among boys. Stereotypes about their own interests and about girls’ interests. Similar things happen with toys.

There are more & more platforms and programs to increase girls interest and access to STEM, often involving women scientists as role models, mentors, and guides. But in so many ways it is important for boys to see and interact with women scientists, for them to spend time with girls as capable science enthusiasts. Otherwise women are more likely to experience gendered stereotypes in college, grad school, and later in their careers. And this isn’t just about gender. Inclusive interactions are essential across diverse identities along dimensions of race, faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, health, dis/ability, age.

“You should have done something different”

Yes, change happens many ways, in response to many tactics, deployed by many people with different skill sets, personalities, and approaches. But there is no one way. Some folks suggested that instead of disrupting merchandise it’s better or has more impact to write letters, make phone calls, leave comment cards rather than engage in direct action. Some suggested that these were better steps to take because moving merchandise impacts low wage employees but doesn’t get communicated to those who hire and fire (and incidentally can’t join the Wobblies).

But my phone calls don’t go to the CEO, my letters aren’t opened and read by the head of merchandising, the person who took my comment card wasn’t a major stakeholder- these tactics first reach lower-level employees within the corporate structure. And phone calls, letters, and comments cards aren’t visible at little kid eye level in the clothing section. And all of this is siloed within a particular company. The conversation is bigger than any one company. Seriously, the next time you are in one of these kinds of stores look around and think about how they set children on particular trajectories… and whether those trajectories are equal in prestige, income, and opportunity.

Thinking about tactics more broadly, occupying and marching that shuts down traffic disproportionately impacts shift workers on exact schedules- but such tactics can influence long-term gains. Modern organized boycotts typically risk brand reputation, influencing shareholder’s to pressure leadership before profits are too impacted, but when profits are impacted, folks get laid off. Shop-ins, penny exchanges, warning labels, repositioning merchandise, placing politician autobiographies in bookstore crime sections- these are all tactics that have been employed since the mid-1900s in stores & businesses to shape public perspective, consumer choices, and corporate approaches.

“That is some white feminist BS”

The most important critiques are the comments faulting the tweet for being unanchored to intersectional feminism. This construct was initially established to address the combined impact of simultaneously experiencing both sexism and racism of Black women in the US. For the many white women who amplified my tweet and are planning their own disruptive campaigns, please consider how white women feminists historically & contemporarily center white women’s issues within feminism. Anyone who visited threads in Pantsuit Nation or the March for Women encountered numerous examples of white feminism stubbornly disinclined to recognize or work to dismantle disparities or to include and prioritize diverse women within the central platform. Across faith, race, dis/ability, ethnicity, LBTQQIA, and poverty, addressing disparities of the lived experiences among women at intersections is too often delayed, disdained, and derailed by many white feminists. So when PoC confront something- like me making extra work for low-wage workers- I pay attention. Because it matters.

Please read the linked essays above because those voices are much more knowledgable than mine. I think, there are several elements of white feminism here (probably even more). My move to increase science as binned with girls is anchored around an agenda of equality whereas the intersectional agenda  more frequently centered in Black feminism is likely an agenda of justice. Justice in kids being able to safely walk home or to the park without being shot by police or citizens. The dialogue around #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe and more and more and more. Disrupting the “more prominent marketing of science clothing in boys section” has much lower stakes. So the combination of a white woman, seemingly impacting low-income workers (who are more likely to be women and in many states more likely to be WoC) for a performative bit of low stakes issue is pretty classic white feminism.

Thank you to the PoC, especially BW, who generously took time yesterday to address the importance of intersectionality in response to my tweet.

And to quickly address some of the other issues raised:

-Yes, I worked in retail for nearly a decade. Yes, I did merchandise display, customer service, and restocking. Yes, I have worked jobs at minimum wage and jobs below minimum wage.

No, I won’t go make you a sandwich.

-Yes men and women typically have differently shaped and proportioned bodies so clothing tailored by gender is typically sought by consumers… but the topic at hand is children’s clothing sections. And under 10, kids proportions and shapes are typically much more similar than are adults.

-No I didn’t move any clothes that created any confusion about price. There were no prices on racks, only prices attached to the garments moved and the garments adjacent.

-There was debate among tweeters in retail about the magnitude of the impact on workers of moving these shirts to the girls’ section- how late folks would have to stay, time spent away from their family, the risk to their employment, or employee reviews. For what it’s worth, when I got to the store on Monday morning there were no negative consequences for staff as a result of my actions on Sunday. The t-shirts were where I had put them (so no one stayed late to move them) and the inventory person had just arrived a shelf away. We chatted about my action, my tweet, and the merch set up. Her perspective on it differed from many of the folks commenting on twitter, but clearly no one person’s perspective is universal.

-Every few years I manage to touch the 3rd rail of the internet and I am reminded how aggressively histrionic so many men can be toward women disrupting the status quo. Since this tweet I have been called repeatedly (offensive terms warning) “idiot”, “ass”, “whore”, “piece of shit”, “dick”, “moron”, “twat”, “bitch”, “crazy bitch”, “asshole”, “motherfucker”, “garbage”, “cancer”, “psychopath”, “faggot”, “dyke”, “dyke ass”, “cunt”, and “retard”. I’ve been told to “shut up” and “fuck off”. I was told I should be “punched in the head”, “raped”, “euthanized”, that I “needed a bullet to the brain”, and “should kill myself”. I was sent cartoons of Nazis kicking women on the ground.

Because I moved 5 shirts.

25 feet.

And many times while they were cursing at me, they included the assertion that what I was doing was useless, didn’t matter, and was totally insignificant.

These men are sure worked up for something they say is so insignificant.

What now?

And after sitting with all of this today- the accolades and the ire- I think tiny-scale, subversive, nonviolent, direct action of moving merchandise around to disrupt gender stereotypes is possible without creating more work or trouble for retail workers. I can look for clothing items off their hanger, off their rack, discarded on the ground, and fix them. As many items as the number of items I want to move to push back on gender stereotyping. Already did 5 for the 5 shirts I moved. This makes my actions “work load neutral” for the person working in that section, that shift. I will then return the next day to submit a comment card describing what I did so that the customer is held accountable for the movement of the merchandise, not the staff. Then there is paperwork that may make it the headquarters, and science t-shirts at little girl eye level.

About the author

Katie Hinde is a scientist and professor at Arizona State University. She studies maternal and child health with a focus on lactation and early life development. In 2013 she founded March Mammal Madness, an annual online tournament that educates children and adults about animals, ecology, and conservation.

This article first appeared on Katie’s blog Mammals Suck…Milk!, and is republished here with the author’s express permission. 

  • Erica

    I love the Lego ad and notice that little girl is wearing blue! Another gender stereotype busted.

    • Patricia Munro

      Note the date on the ad: 1978.

  • Carin Slater

    Thank you.

    I think you bring up an excellent point: Moving the shirts, especially if you counteract it by helping clean up as well, has a larger impact locally than writing corporate. If even one girl sees those shirts where she wouldn’t have seen them before that’s a more direct impact than any letter writing of boycotting campaign. Yes long term, those may change things. But in the every day scale, these “tiny-scale, subversive, nonviolent, direct action[s]” will do more. At least that’s how I feel. Walking into a Big Box Store with my daughter and seeing red Pokemon shirts or NASA t-shirts in the girls section without having to go to the boys section would have a completely different impact on her unconscious than having to go to a completely different section to get that same shirt.

    Actually, I think my daughter is a perfect example. She already says she wants to be a boy because she likes boy things better. The “boy” things she likes are Power Rangers, Pokemon, and Avengers. Those aren’t “boy” things, but we try to tell her that and she doesn’t get it. All she knows is if she wants those things she has to go to the boys section so they must be “boy” things.

    This is the problem that is created when stores, merchandizers, and marketers genderize things and try to create a narrative instead of just presenting the product for consumption.

    • Cpt_Justice

      We always solved problems like that without children by saying “No, it’s for [insert gender here]. They’re just being stupid.” My kids were awed by the fact that *they* could be *smarter* than adults!

      Yes, some parents do not want to use the word ‘stupid” around their kids. YMMV. You can certainly come up with another word to convey a gentler descriptor of how stupid the company is being.

  • Tonya Coffey

    I find it extremely ironic that right below the comments for this article, this is the ad that I saw. “Warning! Don’t tell your girlfriend about this game!” Next to a picture of two cartoon females with very large breasts. One was grabbing the other’s breast in the pic.

    • Probably an error with the ad network that WYSK uses — not a value that they support themselves. You can generally choose the types of ads that will appear, but sometimes those networks screw up.

      I’ve never seen an ad like that here, I can’t imagine the would approve such advertising.

    • Hi Tonya – Thank you for alerting us to this. Even with the minimal advertising on our site, we have extremely strict filters (for content and category) on the ads that we allow, via Disqus (our comments system provider). Unfortunately, there is always the chance that a rogue ad can sneak past the filters as no monitoring system is fail proof. So we appreciate your comment and are looking into it. We assure you that what you saw is not reflective of the value of our site or brand. – The WYSK Team

  • Lee Rowan

    Stupid, insecure men are terrified at the idea of women having any power in their lives. They have never got over Mommy telling them to wash their hands before dinner.

  • Gah! I posted a link to the original blog post. I would have linked to it here if I had seen this earlier.

  • intheknow

    It is amazing how the internet has given horrid and crazy people a soapbox to spew their hatred. I’m sorry you received so many disgusting responses.

    • Kyle Myers

      ‘Murica. Propaganda was re-legalized in the beginning of Obama’s second term and I swear there has been an increase in the degradation of general intelligence of the American people.

  • Lisa Peppin

    Professor Hinde – You’re kinda awesome. Thanks for putting this into some perspective. Signed, a white feminist engineer, working at intersectionality

    • Kyle Myers

      What is your definition of a feminist? I have too many young female peers who seem to make feminism look like a prejudice movement.

  • WhiteMale

    Yeah, damn right! Freaking men, I hate them too.

    • AnotherMan2

      The point sails over your head so effortlessly.

      • littlebobbyrocker

        “You’re so dumb for not getting my weak and vague joke,” said these dudes who think they’re writing satire

    • Frank

      I feel sad for the women in your life.

    • Sandi Stonham

      This is not about hating men. This is about prejudging people because of gender.

    • Kyle Myers

      Troll is out on the red carpet

  • This is great, even if too many of your responses are not.

  • Thom Vickers

    Good work! 🙂 I’m always reminded of Joss Whedon’s speech at the Equality Now conference and the words “acknowledging someone else’s power does not diminish my own”. I think that is the sub-conscious insecurity and fear of many men who oppose equality, that their own power is somehow linked to another person’s and that their value decreases as another’s increases.

    • irena.bursova

      Very well said, my fellow human! In other words, some see strive for equality as plus-sum game (it benefits all) and some (men?) as zero-sum game, when someone else gets more power, attention, rights – they lose.

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  • Marc Poletti

    Sheeple fest

    • Fred_the_Dog

      RThis is the exact opposite of “sheeple”; I am so sad for you that you clearly do not understand such a simple concept.

      • Marc Poletti

        I was referring to the clowns that have a prob with this, because it is the opposite, I thought it was clear.

        • Jennifer

          It was not, but I truly appreciate the clarity.

        • Fred_the_Dog

          Got it! Not always easy to parse written communications.

  • Alt2ning

    Preach it, professor!

    I got my B.S. a long time ago (stereotypical white male geek, now a lawyer), and wish all my professors had demonstrated this kind of awareness, power, precision, and clarity in what they wrote. Thank you for the object lesson.

  • thwarted3

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this. Did a t-shirt check at JCPenney a few weeks ago — the boys got “adventure,” “brave,” “dominate the game,” etc.; the girls had “I’m a fashion blogger” and “look at my selfie.” It’s so depressing.

    • Jennifer

      Really? Gross. That’s so bad, I’d take photo and write JCP. Yuck.

  • Nstella25

    Love This! We not only need you, we also need to be more like you: Advocate for our young girls and, in these Times, for all women. Thank you for acting and sharing.

  • Catrina_woman

    One more comment. This past year I listened to a very interesting talk given by a Cisco executive who was setting up Hackathons for coders. The first one they held, all the participants were male. She was asked to go back and figure out why this had happened.

    Her team went back and revamped the program from the ground up. They changed the advertising, the type of food offered, and the times and dates for the sessions (allowing people to be more flexible in coming and going) Guess what–the next time they held a Hackathon, they guys still came but women started attending, and each time they’ve held it, there are more women.

    Yes, changing something as simple as food and the way you present an invitation made a big difference. Just like moving a few tank tops.

    • Candice H. Brown Elliott

      I suspect that the time was also an issue. Some hackathons are done such that they become all nighters with individuals dozing in corners. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that a fun idea… and when I was raising my daughter, neither would she.

      I also never liked the Friday night beer busts…

      • Catrina_woman

        I agree. The exec pushed for flexible times so that people could also leave and deal with school pickups and daycare. I was lucky during my years of on-call, I had a husband who covered when I had to pull all nighters.

  • Sandi Stonham

    What kind of crazy world we live in!! In the 60’s you had to get a bunch of women together to burn their bras just to noticed! And yet, nobody called out the hateful names you were called on the Internet for moving 5 shirts! But how many of those people have ever simply put down a shirt because they chose NOT to return it where they picked it up? This seems like a small act of defiance — but I’m glad it got so much notice. My daughter was raised to think outside the box, but HER daughters were raised to LIVE outside the box. Thank you for your work and for your follow up on your actions. Keep it coming.

    • HulkSmash

      It’s more that she did it and then posted a photo of it to make herself look like a hero. This wasn’t about the action or call to action; this was about HER. There’s a difference.

      • Robin Rosner

        Hero in the eye of the beholder? She did to share and make people think. Reminds me of an old bumper sticker. “Vote republican: it’s easier than thinking.” And now I can imagine what words and names will fly my way.

      • Toni Johnson

        This was about awareness and getting a discussion going. Looks like it worked quite well.

      • littlebobbyrocker

        Hey, here’s HulkSmash again, not getting it, and mansplaining stuff to people who use their real names online. I hope his mom calls him upstairs for dinner soon.

        • Jennifer

          ha ha ha!!! Meatloaf is ready, dude!

        • HulkSmash

          Sit down Cupcake, and let the grown ups talk.

      • ptjen

        A lot of discussion came about because she did post her picture. A lot of awareness was made. So although I disagree with you about her motives, why does it matter? She got a lot of people thinking about and discussing the issue.

      • Kyle Myers

        What an ignorant and arrogant view of this article. You formed an opinion simply from the click bait that you first saw and then pretend like you even read the article. You’re simply here to troll your retarded opinions.

        • HulkSmash

          Wow, using the “R” word. Way to go, SJW.

      • Kim Arnette

        Yes, how dare she be proud of something she did (others might call it confidence) and share the experience in order to encourage others to act, and promote conversation on it? She should’ve simply tip-toed back to the laundry room to scrub the skid marks out of her husband’s underwear, right?

    • Actually, in the 60s there was plenty of name calling against feminists. The only change is that now there’s an internet.

  • HulkSmash

    I’m with the people who pointed out you just made a low-wage, retail clerk do more work so you could be a slactivist and post your SJW nonsense on twitter. If the author actually cared about the store/supplier’s policies, they would’ve spoken to a manger or written a letter.

    You’re no better than the guy who takes selfies with himself buying a homeless guy a sandwich so he can brag to his friends that he’s such a humanitarian on FB. Seriously?

    • Robin Rosner

      I worked retail many years. Here’s how I see it…people move stuff all the time, throw stuff on the floor…and I’m scheduled to work and have to x number of hours anyhow…so what real difference does it make…unless I have to bend and get on the floor for it. Is it any different than stocking merchandise, or tidying it up? No. And it doesn’t mean she won’t take further steps to point the social messages out to management.

      • Aelfgifu

        That’s exactly what I was thinking. I worked retail for years too. If I was scheduled to be there, I was there. Moving shirts a couple feet would have been one of the easiest ways to spend my time while I was there.

        The only entity being hurt here is the big box store that has to hire people to clean up after customers and pay them for the hours they work.

      • Jennifer

        My take on that issue is also based on decades of menial work. HulkSmash clearly hasn’t had the “if yer leanin’ yer cleanin” boss. I’d rather have to move 5 shirts than have nothing to do, have the boss see that, and suddenly I’m scrubbing bathroom floors.

    • Tomiko Nichols

      Maybe you didn’t read the whole thing. She moved 5 shirts. She then fixed an equal number of things that a worker would have had to do. I think she actually did more because it would take the worker more time to fix the other random things than grab that one handful of shirts and out them back 25 ft. Your point is not nearly important as the one she made.

    • littlebobbyrocker

      The two people who replied to “HulkSmash” appear to use their real names on here. HulkSmash, I assume, is some dude who lives with his parents and uses a pseudonym to erroneously mansplain stuff to women who are actually lifting a finger to do something.

    • MHM

      Because you missed it “Katie Hinde is a scientist and professor at Arizona State University. She studies maternal and child health with a focus on lactation and early life development. In 2013 she founded March Mammal Madness, an annual online tournament that educates children and adults about animals, ecology, and conservation.”

      See she’s actually doing stuff about her cause and brings it attention. Her twitter photo generated a lot of interest and i bet there are individuals at a variety of Big Box stores trying to see hoe they can make money off this. The clothing variety in the girls sections had changed over the last 10 yrs (I have a 10 yr old girl) to offer more variety but still all in pastel and proper girl colors. See kids don’t care and we shouldn’t care either. Thankfully I’ve always have shopped in both sections so my daughter thinks nothing of going to the boy section to pick out a shirt. However, if I bought something from the girl section for my son I’d be more worried about how people in society being upset by it.

    • doctor_spaceman

      I’m sure this is getting the retailer’s attention much more quickly than a letter, and reaching people with more merchandising authority than the store manager.

    • Jem

      You missed where she said she’d go and pick clothes that had fallen off hangers, etc, in the same amount of work it would take to move her clothes back. You also missed where the staff didn’t put the clothes back, so it obviously did not affect them at all. You also missed the entire point.

    • Iain McDonald

      I’ve worked in clothing retail. It’d take less than a minute to put everything back. I would​ have found way more work in the changing rooms.

    • ptjen

      Did you even bother to read the whole article?

      • John Wright

        He doesn’t understand the big words

  • Robin Rosner

    When I see these types of shirts pictured with messages I have often thought the message was more to others that were reading them, rather than what the wearer should be…(i.e. be kind)…but then of course there are those that say I am amazing etc which clearly reflect the wearer…

    • Betty

      They are most definitely a reflection of the parents choices, not the child’s. A parent is the one purchasing them, not the child. The parent has ultimate control. Help your children make good choices. I would never have bought a tshirt that said SMILE on it for my daughter. Gag.

    • Kyle Myers

      Well… I can see where you’re going with this, but then there is also Betty’s response to your comment as well. If the child is old enough to read and understand it, then the can pick out their own clever shirts like I used to as a child shopping with Mom. Sure she bought me phrased shirts, but would at least ask me if I liked it or would wear it. I can understand if the child is young enough where they’ll just wear the shirt no matter what. But in response to your thought on the message being for the viewer and not the wearer, I partially disagree because people don’t get tattoos for the viewer right? It’s a form of self expression, just like the how adults pick their clothes or body piercings or color or their hair. It isn’t for someone else, it’s for you.

  • Suze

    I disagree that writing to a published customer service contact address has no effect. We have a Target as an alternative to Walmart here because people like me wrote to Target pointing out the potential. We have a larger Kroger here as well for that reason. And my favorite is Fresh Step recently started manufacturing a low-dust fragrance-free cat litter, in a sturdier box, after I wrote them pointing out the dust and fragrance and packaging issues. It sort of took my breathe away…well, not really, because there is less pollution in my indoor air now. And I probably wasn’t the only one pointing out the issue. I totally agree with you in theory…completely, absolutely. But not in practice. Big boxes want to sell a lot of stuff — tell them how to sell more. But then address the customer buying issues as well. I have two degrees in marketing behind my recommendation, as well as a lifetime of involved feminism.

    • Jennifer

      FYI Petco’s house brand kitty litter is the best for that issue, I have found. Yes, the smells of litter perfume knock me out! I’d almost rather smell pee.

  • Corie Skolnick

    Many years ago I was asked to teach an upper division course in Developmental Psychology at Cal State U., Northridge in LA as a “sub” for a colleague. Part of the curriculum included “data gathering” among various developmental stages. Instead of a boring lecture about experimental design I asked a student-mom to bring her 3 year old daughter to class one day and I brought my 3 year old son. We all brought in a small mountain of toys and separated them into “girl appropriate”, “boy appropriate” and “gender neutral”. I let the students devise some controlled “lab” possibilities and also some “natural field possibilities” and techniques and we critiqued the ideas on the spot. We used the kids as “subjects”. In one of the proposed techniques each child was presented with a choice between a “boy” toy and a “girl” toy. They could not see each other’s choices. The demo was really meant to approach data gathering and not meant to produce any results but the clear differences IN THREE YEAR OLDS was astounding. Sure, the studies they devised were flawed (oh, so flawed! When 70 of your research peers are critiquing your study you will tighten up your controls fast.) Still, the gross (and grossly contaminated) data revealed a lot of stuff to talk about. At the very end of the lecture we just let the kids randomly “play” with whatever took their fancy while we discussed experimental design, etc. over their heads. My son freely attacked the mound of toys until he found and actively played with “action” toys. His little female confederate sat demurely on the sidelines clutching a stuffed animal, watching him throw balls to my students and race toy cars up and down the aisles with complete abandon. The lesson was not lost on my female students I think. Like any instructor, I often wonder if the results of that demo changed any of my students’ parenting strategies.

    • Jennifer

      Excellent and interesting anecdote, thank you for sharing! #resist

      • Corie Skolnick

        Thanks for your comment. #resistindeed!

    • buzzlatte3

      This is so true.

  • Candice H. Brown Elliott

    YES! I just turned 60. I remember nearly every NASA launch sitting in front of the TV half in my Dad’s lap as he explained what was happening with the Mercury program, etc. My two brothers and I all had NASA astronaut flight suits and plastic space helmets. In ’69, I was twelve years old… While my brothers loved building (and destroying with firecrackers) model airplanes, I had build a model of the Apollo space crafts and used them to understand what was happening in space.

    I grew up in Silicon Valley, my high school boyfriend was already a programmer. His mother was the president of the SV chapter of the Society for Women Engineers. So naturally, I became a technologist / inventor (over 100 US patents and counting) and entrepreneur CEO…

    One can only become what one sees… we need to show more kids what they can become.

  • Jim Fath

    The store is going to look at numbers and the impact of making these changes. They might make some kind of gesture (more NASA shirts for girls, etc) but they chase sales not gender equality.

    • homasapiens

      If sales begin to reflect a desire for gender equality, these store will chase profits right the way we want to go.

    • Carole C

      There’s chasing sales and then there’s reinforcing narrow, gender stereotypes.

    • Kyle Myers

      You really think there are reported “numbers” to review from a customer moving 5 shirts? I never had those reports in my retail store.. I guess times have changes.

      • Jim Fath

        Sales numbers, I meant. They measure all that stuff. They only sell what people will buy and the forecast all of it. It’s not enough to shame the store into selling different items. You also have to shame people into buying different items. It’s a business first.

    • Libby Earl

      The numbers are never going to reflect what people want when their preconceptions mean they market the shirts prominently in the boys section, and deep away from traffic in the girls section.

  • RLisa

    I grew up on second hand clothes with a mother who did very gender neutral (though often male dominated) work. She always said being female was something to be proud of and encouraged a positive self image but never in the lens of how other viewed you or as fitting in any specific ‘box’. The result was that I developed my own view of what it was to be me as a female. I never really went for specific gender toys, just picked up what I liked (horses, cars, army men, active/athletic barber, puzzles, books and card games to name a few favorites). We didn’t have video games or TV and I spent a ton of time outside. I was encouraged to make my own choices.
    I say all this because I do think what we show kids as normal and the example we set is critical to what they adopt as their own beliefs (at least as a starting point). When you bring a young girl to the ‘girls section’ but she likes something from he ‘boys’ section, I don’t think it’s a big deal – there shouldn’t be ‘well no, those are for boys’. If she want to wear Batman, NASA, My Little Pony, Unicorns and plaid… they should be allowed to explore. I had an unfortunate love for wool vests when I was 8 or so. My mom never said a word about it. I kept finding them at thrift stores and loved them. Then I liked really baggy sweaters (mainly my older male cousin’s second hands). It’s about learning, experimenting and expression. They are finding out who they are. Don’t force a little girl to wear NASA if she doesn’t want to. Don’t stop a boy from loving ponies and the color pink. And when we stop caring which section of the store our kids go to, stores will learn they do t need to make two sections (if that’s where it goes). So no need to make the stores change, but our words and example go a long way in helping kids navigate choice and preference. Encourage them to think outside marketing, to feel free to try something that seems cool, fun or something they just like!

    • RLisa

      Barbie… not barber

  • LadyNai

    So basically another upper middle class feminist in her ivory tower making more work for the lower classes and not giving a single crap?

    ESPECIALLY when Target carries the NASA shirts for both genders.

    Yeah. This makes me respect the movement that much more. Just another day where I have to clean up the mess of someone who knows better than me about my own life.

    THEN she encourages more people to do it.

    If I didn’t know already that third wave feminism was an upper middle class movement this pretty much has sealed it for me once again.

    • Ahzoh

      Did you not read the rest of the article where she acknowledges this?

      • Carole C

        I’m guessing not.

        • Will Clark

          why should they read the article when it’s simply easier to troll and be a crazy person?

      • LadyNai

        Clearly I did.

        Also I CLEARLY read the original tweets where up until she got called on it on several points she only said that corporate would give extra payroll.

        As someone who has almost ten years in the business. Nope. Nope. Nope.

        • Ahzoh

          No it is not clear at all that you did. I’m talking about this post, written 34 hours after the twitter storm. Be relevant to that.

          Literally what she said:
          “So when PoC confront something- like me making extra work for low-wage workers- I pay attention. Because it matters.”
          Literally what she said:
          “I think, there are several elements of white feminism here (probably
          even more).”
          She especially said this:
          “So the combination of a white woman, seemingly impacting low-income
          workers (who are more likely to be women and in many states more likely
          to be WoC) for a performative bit of low stakes issue is pretty classic
          white feminism.”

          Why can’t you just own up to your mistakes? People already called her out and she accepted the criticisms as marked in this post. Yet, here you are hours after that, beating the dead horse and making the same criticisms that she already acknowledged in the very creation of this post.

    • Rachel Johnson

      Clearly you did not read the article.

      • LadyNai

        Yes, yes I did. It was justification for doing something that makes no difference whatsoever.

        Getting all over Target’s facebook would’ve been far better.

    • Kyle Myers

      Careful of the trolls lurking near by

    • Kyle Myers

      Even skim reading the article provides enough information to debunk the hubris of your comment.

  • Really? This is what these people are getting worked up about? This is what they choose to let them get hot and bothered by? She moved some shirts and made a positive statement. And so many commenters are blowing a gasket

    • Will Clark

      I wish those people getting so riled up about t shirts would direct that energy into defending universal healthcare or reforming gun laws. I’m not wild about the insane name calling, but the passion, if harnessed, would move the needle on these issues.

  • DGR

    Love you KATIE! Thank you. <3

  • Martha Reddick

    Thank you for your thoughtful and well written response. I very much enjoyed reading your deeper tjoughts about this! Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Pat Goudey OBrien

    Staying late to put the shirts back…. People were upset because someone might have to stay late to put the shirts back? [OK, maybe if you started a movement, but I’m not sure even a Move the Shirts Movement would be so bad for low-wage workers. I used to be one, and I think I could have handled it.]


    [Keep thinking hard, Professor. We need as many women to think as we can get. Clearly, there are a lot of people out there who don’t. And thanks. 😀 ]

    • francie

      move the shirts movement! i love it! next time i’m at target or walmart, it’s on!

    • Will Clark

      LOL yes. I kept thinking while I read that section – if it took the author a couple minutes to move them in the first place, why would it have taken store workers staying late to put them back… if they even noticed that they had been moved int he first place?

  • Davida Kutscher

    I’m so impressed with how you accept and integrate criticism and even present the opinions of your critics in a thoughtful and supportive way. I truly feel that you have elevated the level of discourse on this subject and I look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you.

    • Kit Rawson

      ” … even present the opinions of your critics in a thoughtful and supportive way …” Possibly this is due to this woman being a scientist. This is how science works, folks. Very nice work on this article, Dr. Hinde. Thanks.

  • Dylan Thurston

    I really appreciate this post and the deeper dive than the initial meme gives. I’m surprised no one has pointed out that the last sample shirt you posted in girl’s, “I can be anything I want to be”, is a themed Wonder Woman shirt, showing both her “WW” belt symbol and crown. So I don’t think the designers of that shirt had smiling, kindness, and sharing in mind when they designed that shirt.

  • Pxlchk1

    On this Father’s Day, in tandem with the theme of this treasure of an essay, I want to thank my dad for taking me to NASA, giving me the love of flight, computers, soldering guns, Legos, bikes jumping over mud puddles, and all the really fun stuff that girls weren’t supposed to be into. And CHEERS to everyone raising girls to know that you haven’t had a REALLY fun day unless you have to be hosed off in the backyard before you go inside. ❤

  • Rob Seaman

    The extreme negative responses are scary, but unfortunately not surprising. Once these are subtracted off there are various insightful talking points, especially regarding issues of intersectionality. Nobody asked me, but I’ll volunteer that this seems like an excellent bit of guerrilla sociology. Interesting how the value of this small retail protest was magnified vastly online, but so far none of the comments I’ve read are factoring that in. How many hundreds or thousands of readers will take note of their own stores’ merchandising and perhaps take add-on action? If only to move a few t-shirts. Perhaps also reject the underlying premise? Why should there be separate sections for girls and boys in the first place? Why not simply “Kids”? Also think it’s significant that the vast majority of responses on all sides appear to take it for granted that NASA is indeed also for girls/women, whether or not retail should celebrate this hard-won achievement.

    • Suzy

      Agreed! I wouldn’t mind sections being labeled as to what they contain, though: “Disney princess t-shirts” section, “Science-themed hoodies” section, etc., to make it easier for both girls AND boys (and their parents) to find what they’re interested in.

    • Patricia

      Guerrilla sociology! Great description!

    • Kyle Myers

      100% agreed. Logic seems to not have a home anywhere in the Internet these days.. Take a look at this woman’s comment just a couple above yours. Ashely Myrick seems to be judging the author for not taking perfect actions in contacting the retailer and all of these other steps.. your comment would have been a perfect response to her overreach.

  • strega2012

    ….aside from the continuing self-congratulatory tone of the pice I do wonder…those tanks are cut for boys, no? (the wider arm holes) If kids are sensitive to boy/girl clothes wouldn’t a girl notice that wasn’t a ‘girl’ shirt? And also…if they were still there the next day then…no girls bought them?

    • francie

      self-congratulatory? i didn’t get that at all. she was just reporting back to us the facts.. your comment, “no girls bought them” misses the point of the article

      • strega2012

        *shrugs* What can I say? That’s the sense I got from the author’s tone.

        • Dave Fedorko

          I think that’s you projecting your criticism on the author. I did not get that from her tone, at all.

          • strega2012

            And that’s fine.

        • dreamfall

          I didn’t get a self-congratulatory feeling from it either but even if it was? So what? What’s wrong with a woman feeling positive enough about something she’s done to feel a little self-congratulatory about it?

      • Ashley Myrick

        It was self congratulatory. The idea of getting STEM products to girls was good but nothing this woman did made any real lasting impact. But it made her “feel good” about herself.

        • theclearheadedone

          The reactions of people, especially people such as yourself, say otherwise.

          • Ashley Myrick

            What reaction are you referring to? Are you referring to the part about little real impact? That is true. What exactly did she accomplish? Did the store change anything? She didn’t even bother to try to contact corporate to try to effect change. Her contact at the local store was minimal. In the end, she moved some boy shirts to the girl section, which means if anyone had bought one of those shirts all the corporate bottom line would have seen is that a boys shirt had been bought not that it had been bought by a girl. She would been more effective to move the girls NASA shirts out in the open or to buy some of the girls NASA shirts . If she had done that she would have killed two birds with one stone. She would have shown the store that people are interested in the girls NASA shirts and she could have given those girls NASA shirts as gifts which would have encouraged girls in STEM pursuits. In the end all she did was make herself feel good by moving the shirts from one section to another and then she posted an article congratulating herself. The idea was nice but if she wanted to make some real impact she would have actually taken some real long lasting action

          • Kyle Myers

            So should we never share our little ideas and only share our HUGE accomplishments and momentous actions? She only wrote the article in response to the overload of criticism she received from her MILD social media post. She moved the shirts and made a post on social media as a cute idea to a larger issue. Do you contact manufacturers and retailers on every concern you have or have you ever posted a mild opinion on social media like the rest of do? Your comments here seem a bit strong and are over reaching a little bit. It just sounds like your critiquing in pursuit of perfection.

          • Ashley Myrick

            Oh and the fact that someone gave a response that wasn’t fawning all over this article doesn’t mean that this woman had an impact. All it means is that I read the article, I thought it was a nice idea, but I was less than impressed with her lack of real action. Chit-chatting about something on social media is not real impact which unfortunately is something that today’s society doesn’t Seem to get.

        • Jan Downs

          Oh Ashley go home. You’re part of the problem. Isn’t there some 4chan forum you need to immolate yourself in?

    • Kyle Myers

      They didn’t read the article… Isn’t there more to cry about contained in your picture of the Oz witch? Isn’t there some social justice crap to scream about there?

      • strega2012

        i did read it. I’m not crying about anything. And my avi is awesome.

    • Jan Downs

      Lol right little boys are YOOGE and need huge armholes for their massive pecs. GTFO

  • jill

    I am moving to Arizona and am happy to know there are people like Katie living there.

  • Betty

    This is So well thought out. Thank you! Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Dave Fedorko

    This reminds me of when my daughter was born and I went to the hospital gift shop to buy something and I saw medical scrubs for boys and girls. The pink scrubs were for girls and had “Nurse” written on it and the green scrubs for boys, said “Doctor”.

    This infuriated me, since a female doctor had earlier saved my daughter’s life (stopped my wife’s early labor), and then a female doctor once again treated my daughter in the emergency room as a newborn. And not to mention that I have several male family members who are Nurses (and they don’t wear pink). lol

    The solution is simple. This unconscious gender-stereotyping needs to stop.

    • Kim Arnette

      Agreed. Be aware, though, that a lot of gender stereotyping is not unconscious. Marketers study every aspect of sales carefully and know damn well what they’re doing.

  • Patricia

    Kudos for what you did! I was a science major in college and was told by the person who counseled students near graduation that I could not get a BA since my major was a science. Took her to task on that one. I was awarded a BA in biology when I graduated at 35, 3.5 GPA and the mother of 5. Still pushing science, math and technology to this day. You go girl !!!

  • Leslie Ann Bowers


  • Ashley Myrick

    Interesting article. I don’t disagree with STEM for girls but something rubbed me wrong though and giving it some thought, I think what bothered me was the over analysis. By that I mean it seems a prime example of society today where every action seems to have suspect motives and must be analyzed to death. Why did the store have shirts here but not there. Why were shirts in one place “hidden” and others exposed. Why have shirts that encourage sharing and kindness for girls – what is the hidden meaning there. Why do posters have girls standing but boys running. What will black women think of her moving the shirts and does that show some sort of insensitivity on her part. Some things just are and there is no hidden message until we make one up. The other issue I saw was what I call the “feel good immediately” need so important today. I do think she missed out on a few opportunities. She should have gone to corporate. A resourceful woman like her could have with minimum effort tracked down the number to their corporate office, bypassed customer service, and talked to someone with authority to make changes. The store looks at the bottom line. If the “boy” shirts sell, that is what the store sees and so they order more boy shirts. If the “girl” nasa shirts don’t sell because they were hidden, then corporate doesn’t know that they did not sell because the display person for the store stuck them at the back of the rack. Corporate just sees the bottom line and discontinues selling the shirts. The way she did it, there is no room for real impact but it makes her feel good (another problem I see prevalent in today’s society). She seemed to see two extremes, low action (moving the shirts) vs high action (protesting, shutting down traffic). I would suggest that somewhere in the middle would be more effective – hitting both corporate and local stores with action. It might take longer and certainly doesn’t give one the immediate “feel good” reaction, but sometimes slow and steady can have more of an impact and a more lasting impact.

    • Ashley Myrick

      True. It could be too that the display person for boys clothes could be different than the display person for girls clothes. Quite frankly if I were in charge of the girl clothes I probably would put all the frilly fancy stuff out front. It has nothing to do with thinking girls should not have play clothes or clothes that espouse science or math. It’s just that I love the fancy clothes. That’s one reason I suggest that this author would have been better served approaching both corporate and local. On the local level it might be helpful to find out who does their displays and make them aware of the disparity and how the displays are done or finding out why the NASA shirts were hidden in the back for girls. I had another thought later that another way she could have made an actual impact would have been to buy five of the “girls” NASA shirts. Like I said before buying the “boys” shirts or getting someone else to buy them by moving around the display just shows the store and their corporate that someone bought the “boys” shirts. It does nothing to get those shirts into the girls section. But by buying five of the “girls” NASA shirts, that puts it on the bottom line for the store and not only does it then encourage them to perhaps display more STEM themed “girls” shirts but in giving those as gifts she would be encouraging girls to become interested in something like NASA

    • Ashley Myrick

      It could be too that the display person for boys clothes could be different than the display person for girls clothes. Quite frankly if I were in charge of the girl clothes I probably would put all the frilly fancy stuff out front. It has nothing to do with thinking girls should not have play clothes or clothes that espouse science or math. It’s just that I love the fancy clothes. That’s one reason I suggest that this author would have been better served approaching both corporate and local. On the local level it might be helpful to find out who does their displays and make them aware of the disparity and how the displays are done or finding out why the NASA shirts were hidden in the back for girls. I had another thought later that another way she could have made an actual impact would have been to buy five of the “girls” NASA shirts. Like I said before buying the “boys” shirts or getting someone else to buy them by moving around the display just shows the store and their corporate that someone bought the “boys” shirts. It does nothing to get those shirts into the girls section. But by buying five of the “girls” NASA shirts, that puts it on the bottom line for the store and not only does it then encourage them to perhaps display more STEM themed “girls” shirts but in giving those as gifts she would be encouraging girls to become interested in something like NASA

      • francie

        the point of moving the shirts was to get people to think about how silly it is that we gender every single thing in society. from dog leashes, to children’s clothing, to luggage, etc. everything we buy in gendered. her moving the clothing was a simple way to get people to think about this issue, just like when i bought a pink leash for my male dog. it got people to think and talk. i think you missed the point of what she was doing

        • Ashley Myrick

          And so what. Having people talk about something on the internet is not indicative of actual change. And in any case what is silly is saying that things shouldn’t be gendered. Having things gendered is not the problem. Some people actually like gendered items, and so do some dogs. The real problem is that the NASA shirt for girls were hidden in a back corner where no one could find them. And nothing this woman did changed that. All she did was heighten the possibility that one of the boys shirts would be bought by a girl, showing corporate that the boys shirts sell. It is sad how such little effort passes for actual results these days.

          • francie

            discussion and dialogue is essential for social change. and i don’t see why anything needs to be gendered? why is pink a girl’s color? why is blue a boy’s color? who decided that only girls can wear dresses and heels? who decided that boys like climbing trees and girls that like climbing trees are tomboys? or that boys who love ballet are sissified. who decided girls arent good in math and science? all these gender rules put people in boxes that society has created. they are stifling to one’s growth as a human being. sounds like you’re just being contentious to get attention. i’m done .

          • Jan Downs

            Ah based on this and the other claptrap you’ve posted, the obvious conclusion is that you’re missing the point, almost deliberately and that your comments are pretty useless.

          • Kukkialla

            And yet by her small act, she’s done more than you have. It is sad that you put so much effort into putting down someone else.

    • Typically, for most retail stores, they have specific “sets” sent down from corporate in order to keep displays standard from one store to the next. If the girls’ shirts were hidden in the corner, that’s likely what corporate piped down to have done. There’s still a pervasive separation of genders with regards to what “sells” for children by several corporate heads, including what clothing and toys are marketed to whom. I saw notes from someone who worked in a Disney office once that said that they didn’t intend on making much in the way of female action figures, because “girls don’t want to buy action figures”, and they “already have the princesses line”.

      • Ashley Myrick

        I’ve worked retail and I’ve set up displays. I generally was given freedom to do that. But either way it doesn’t matter. The question still stands what did she do that had any real impact. She moved boys shirts to the girls section which means that if a girl had bought them all corporate would have seen is that a boys shirt had been sold. It would have been more effective to move the girls shirts to a more open area or to purchase five of those girls NASA shirts and giving them as gifts. Either of those options would have had more of an impact than what she did

        • Jan Downs

          The impact was directed at the kids. How can you put do much effort into an analysis of one small subversive act and miss that key aspect?

          • Nnightingale

            Also, now we’re talking about it. So, it had an impact.

          • datagirl314

            The impact isn’t at the store. It’s on social media. Quite frankly, the reach of twitter is much better than some corporate help line or report generated weekly for sales tracking. I know. I work in data analytics and merch portfolio analysis. THIS will get stuff done. The analyst saying, “Hey. This does well for boys. Maybe we should highlight it for girls too,” gets ignored unless there’s a merchandiser who cares to test it.

        • Dawn Smith

          How do you know what have been more effective? Have you tried any of the things you suggest? Would you even notice the points that were brought to light in this piece? I doubt it since, even with all of the “over analysis”, you have missed the point completely. Look around. Pay attention. When you take some action, you can criticize the action taken by others.

        • Greg

          I agree about buying the 5 “girls” NASA shirts.
          I still like what Katie did for kids and parents, BUT you have a good point in terms of effecting corporate buying/marketing habits!

    • Kyle Myers

      The over analysis got to YOU?! Look at all of your over analysis of the subject at hand, and the writing of the article and ESPECIALLY the author herself. You’ve over analyzed the piss out of everything here. You need to back up and take a breath. You’re exhausting to read and even see in these comments anymore. Good lord.

      • Ashley Myrick

        Sad. Reading negative hidden meanings into the every word or action of others is quite clearly what I’m referencing. I show that through the examples I give, which by the way I didn’t have to analyze. I just pulled the examples out of her article and typed them out. I never say one shouldn’t think about or consider issues and effective strategies.

        • Sunnisong

          That’s the point. It’s not about “negative hidden messages.” It’s about the fact that we don’t even think about it. Few are purposely encouraging boys to take on the world and girls to be pretty and nurturing. We do it without thinking, including in merchandising. And, I read quite a bit of analyses in your comments… from “She should have gone to corporate” on.

      • buzzlatte3

        Hasn’t PC ideology over analysed the piss out of everything to the point of absurdity? This article is just another example.

  • buzzlatte3

    Did anyone ask the the small girls which shirt they preferred? No?!

    • Ahzoh

      That’s the problem. Society as a whole just forces gender ideology on their kids.

      • buzzlatte3

        Meaning little girls can’t choose what they prefer? They have to choose boy stuff to be PC or to assuage mommy’s need to promote ideological agendas?

        • Darwin

          No it means that if they go to the girls section to choose, they don’t even have the option to choose certain shirts. That decision was made for them by the store

          • buzzlatte3

            Then back to the original question. Did anyone ask the girls in the first place or just push a PC agenda?

          • Darwin

            Are you asking if anyone asks the girls if they would like a choice? Not quite sure what point you’re making.

            My point is that having the shirts in the girls section gives the girls a CHOICE. They don’t have to choose it but now they have the option.

          • buzzlatte3

            Still pushing an ideological agenda…sad.

          • Darwin

            I’m sorry if giving people more and not less choice is an ideological agenda. We’ll fundamentally disagree on that, have a good day

          • krocknroll

            I totally understand this. I was raised by a dad who thought my older brother and I should do the same things (we both learned to work on cars, both watched musicals, etc.) and respected whatever interests/talents we had as unrelated to our gender. My mom was a tomboy who dressed like Annie Hall and worked in a science field. And I rejected all of my pants and gender neutral clothes and just wanted to wear skirts, crimp my hair and embrace femininity. And they let me. And wearing those clothes, that I chose, did not prevent me from being a math superstar or loving sports.

            Retailers are a reflection of society, not the other way. It’s all about the parents, and most of the country is subscribing to religions where the “holiest figure” is a man and women are secondary citizens. Start disruption there

          • buzzlatte3

            Ta da! Someone who sees this push as a means of repression for females and femininity. Not trying to change the world here. Just trying to turn on the light switch of a different viewpoint.

        • Sharon

          No, they can choose, but from the whole spectrum of choice, instead of the “non-PC, non-choice retrograde agenda” you seem to prefer. See, we can namecall just like the boys, and it’s no more pleasant coming from us than from you.

          • buzzlatte3

            Ohhh, must have struck a PC nerve. You need PC to fill enlightened. Got it. Will you resist letting girls have a choice not to choose STEM and NASA?

        • Greg

          They don’t HAVE to; Mom didn’t move all the “girl” stuff did she?
          Based on Mom’s action little girls have MORE choice not less. This is an exercise in giving choice to girls (and parents) who don’t think they should have to walk through twice as much store to find what they might want.
          We have ALL had experiences in life when a *choice* (not an obligation) wasn’t obvious to us before someone else pointed it out to us.

          • buzzlatte3

            Lol! Still missing the point. Oh, well. Self righteous parents will always miss the point by pushing agendas made popular by their ideology.

            This “mom’s” gleeful gloating is a giveaway.

          • Greg

            YES! Clearly Katie loves her family and enjoys what she is doing.
            Acting on your beliefs should be fun; if you (everyone, not “you”) are not experiencing joy and Glee, you need to change your attitude.
            Don’t you kinda hate morbid Christians? Imagine if there were morbid dancers… YECK!
            So: I hope you are gleefully arguing with us all; even when you are missing the points that so many people are making for you, I hope you are having fun and enjoying your life.

          • buzzlatte3

            Oh, Miss Cleo and her crystal ball have risen from the dead! You’re psychic! Yoh know Katie’s mind!

            I’ll pose the question again. Did anyone ask the girl what she preferred?

      • JessL

        Imagine if we had just ONE section for kids. Why do they need to be segregated anyway (aside from indoctrination?)??

  • Richard Ross

    I think it’s great. When my daughter was younger and I was the stay at home parent I used to do stuff like that in the stores because it made me crazy to see the stuff stores thought my daughter should wear. Anyone giving you grief over it is silly. Thank you!

  • Michael Brand

    Retail uses mountains of data to analyze what sells to different demographics. What the author did was mess with another’s business. Wonder how she’d feel if someone surreptitiously rewrote her research cause they disagreed with the data.

    • Michael – look up. Way up… way, way over your head. See that thing up there? It’s the point and, unfortunately, you missed it.

    • Dawn Smith

      WRONG! Sorry, I just disagree with you.

    • Sharon

      Michael, you need to work on your market analysis skills. One of the data skews is lack of availability and/or visibility of product. Analysis that shows you how much you’re not selling is not nearly as valuable as a disruptor that opens up a whole new market.

  • Andrei Ramanovich


  • Iryssa

    Honestly? As someone who STILL works retail, moving a handful of shirts still on the hangers back to another location is about the LEAST of my concerns. Not getting chewed out by some middle-aged white lady with a coupon two months past its expiry date is a bigger concern. As are the people who can’t put their gum in the trash and instead stick it to the bottoms of shelves. Move your shirts.

  • Carol Dentinger Rozier

    My son was born in ’75, and my daughter was born in ’84. I fought gender stereotyping for many years, and it pisses me off we still have to fight.

  • Gm rosson

    I love this on so many levels, from the initial action to the in depth analysis of the response. The analysis is both fascinating and depressing. THANK YOU for the post.

  • Monica Bradshaw

    I work in higher education advising primarily 30+ year olds on the proper MS degrees that would best fit their professional goals. It amazes me that women still say they “dont like math” or they can’t “do math” . I NEVER hear that from men. I think that encouraging girls in even little ways such as tshirts can have long term effects on dispelling gender stereotypes. We, however, cannot look to retailers to dispel myths around gender lines. We must make this happen in our daily interactions with children as parents, mentors, advisors.
    (I might switch some shirts around in a few stores to make a point though.. lol)

  • Charmas

    I don’t want a sandwich, I wanna sammich.

  • Dawn Smith

    I have two teenaged girls and noticed things like this for years. Wish I’d done what you did. People need to wake up and smell the stereotypes!! It effects all of us, but most are too oblivious to see it. Stores just need to put clothes out, no Boy Section/ Girl Section. Just put them out there, let people decide for themselves. Thank You!!!

  • JessL

    Something the author hints at—this hurts boys too (not in the STEM achievement sense, but in the life sense!). How about we start putting boys in “smile” and “be kind” shirts? Imagine the change in our society if we were all encouraged to be both brave AND kind??

    • juliazale

      A shirt in the boys section did have “Always be kind” in the images pictured.

      • JessL

        Great. All I saw was the massive #10!

  • My Mother dressed me in boys clothes for several reasons. One was that they cost less than girls clothes. She also hated dolls and got me Tonka trucks instead.
    However I was mistaken for a boy frequently, called a tomboy and became super sensitive over “boy clothes.” Even now as an adult I like dressing girly. Lots of dresses, flowers and pink.
    I liked my Tonka trucks, just not the teasing that came with it.

  • Jonathan Dore

    Excellent action, and excellent response to your critics, though perhaps you were too accommodating to the “white feminist BS” critique, which it seems to me could be not unfairly summarized as: “Your concern is less important than my concern. Therefore you should shut up.” Even if you accept the premise of the first sentence, the second does not follow from it.

  • Mountaingirl49

    I salute you, Katie! Great job!

  • LindaRobin

    Katie is AWESOME. I can do the same thing at my local store. There is both a Target and Walmart in the town where I live. I see a visit to them in my immediate future.

  • Timothy Whitler

    100% with you Katie! We are raising our girls to pursue their interests no matter what they are. Keep up the good fight!