Baby Clothes Are Now Sexually Explicit

“Putting something that is slightly inappropriate on a canvas that is worn by something that is so pure…it’s kind of like spitting into holy water and I think that’s edgy and appealing for some people,” she said.

It certainly seems like people are buying these designs for the shock and humor factors, and that other adults are the main target of these slogans. In the reviews of one Etsy shop, buyers raved about a onesie that reads: “My Daddy Only Plays With The Box I Came Out Of!”

“Great gift for my baby! My wife was not amused! I received this in a timely manner and am happy with this company!” wrote one customer.

In another review, one aspiring mom laid out her plans for a onesie with the same “nuttin” slogan Pickar stocks.

“It’s so cute! My honey and I will be trying for a baby within the year and when I saw this onesie, I knew I found what I was going to surprise him with! … we have a joke between the two of us that this fits perfectly ♥️ I’m so happy with it!” she wrote.

Another seller, Janet Smith of LittleLillyBugDesign, also told me she has seen sales of irreverent baby clothing spike in recent months. Her shop sells children’s clothing, including a onesie printed with a drawing of boobs and the slogan “Eat local.”

“There seems to be a trend of doing couples baby showers so people like to buy a gift that will also include the new daddy,” she said via direct message on Etsy.

It’s likely that major retailers like Buy Buy Baby are similarly stocking these types of clothes because of customer demand (a spokesperson for the store didn’t respond to inquiries about these items).

I’m not a prude and I believe in free will. If you want to dress your baby in a shirt that declares they are a boob man, more power to you. (My baby will only be wearing neutrals, like an Instagram baby.) But what are we supposed to do with the cognitive dissonance of seeing this kind of hypersexuality signaled to us while culture wars are raging under the guise of “protecting children”?

Multiple states are introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation, and last month Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ people and their rights, among other provisions, in public school classrooms from kindergarten to third grade. It’s clear that many people have no problem with “sexualizing” children, as long as conservative gender and sexuality norms are firmly reinforced.

Social media is full of screeds claiming that affirming the identities of LGBTQ people is somehow exposing kids to sexual themes before they are ready to understand them. Yet, popular baby stores are chock-full of apparel that proclaims these same children to be raging balls of heterosexual lust, or that warns off potential suitors for literal infants.

Paoletti said that ultimately this type of apparel, and other hypermasculine or hyperfeminine clothing (trucks for boys, bows for girls), serves to reinforce the gender binary so acutely that it may subconsciously play into gender stereotypes as the child grows, especially if it’s part of “lots and lots of messages that this child was getting over the first several years of their lives.”

“We’ve accelerated the gendering of infants well before birth,” she said. “And we’ve been doing that for 40 years. So it’s not surprising that what happens is, when the little boy starts acting up and being aggressive and the little girl starts acting flirtatious or shy it’s [like], Oh, well, yes, because she’s a girl; that’s because he’s a boy, never imagining that you had anything to do with it.” ●