Gender socialization and t-shirts

Nice post over at Jezebel on the nature of t-shirts for boys vs. girls.  We all have heard, of course, about the most egregious examples, e.g., “I’m too pretty to do homework” or “allergic to algebra,” but the author took an admittedly non-scientific (but quite obviously reflective of reality) investigation of t-shirts on sale at JC Penney.  The findings are pretty disturbing and telling with regards to what society expects from girls vs. boys:

Here’s an entirely unscientific breakdown of a decidedly non-Woodward and Bernstein investigation:

For girls at JCPenney, 14 t-shirts mentioned or alluded to appearance — from the blunt, “Cutie Pie,” to the vague, “Fame, Fashion, Friends.”

For boys, guess how many alluded to appearance?


That’s fourteen “I make this shirt look cutes” or “Fairy Glams” for girls, and one “So cute it’s a crime” shirt for boys.

No big deal, you say?

Fourteen to one is not sooo bad?

OK, let’s take a look at what I call “action” shirts — shirts that focus on doing things as opposed to standing around waiting for “Justin Beaver” (yes, that’s a real t-shirt).

Boys had 26 of these action shirts — shirts featuring either sports equipment or racing cars or merely allusions to getting dirty.

Girls had six.

It should be noted here that the girls T-shirt collection stretched over 20 web pages, while the boys had 14. So with far more options available, girls had far fewer action shirts to buy. And I think I’m being generous with girls action shirts, counting “Girls rock,” “I Love music” and “I’m the rock star” in this category.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, in running her children’s clothing store, my wife is frequently amazed (and appalled) at how much more people seem to care about the appearance of their daughters as opposed to sons (and there’s some really cute boys clothes out there not getting bought).  Regardless of how far we’ve come towards gender equality in our country– and it is a long way– there are still very obvious and pervasive ways in which we have different expectations for males and females that have some very important implications.

Musical Interlude

It’s been so long since this song has come up when I have random play on my Ipod, I almost forgot it was on there.  Nonetheless, still makes me laugh ever time I hear it.  I realized that, sadly, many of my readers might never have heard this bizarrely funny and inventive song.  For your listening pleasure, I submit King Missile’s Detachable Penis:

Worth repeating

I’ve said it before, with Rick Perry announcing his new Flat Tax (on top of all the attention to Cain’s 9-9-9) this is well worth repeating again: there’s nothing the least bit complicated about having progressive marginal tax rates.  Nothing.  You compute your taxable income and then its just a simple step on-line– or looking it up in the IRS instructions– of seeing what you owe in taxes.  This takes into account the different marginal rates for each level of income.  Really not complicated.  What is complicated is figuring out your taxable income.  I’m all for eliminating decuctions, simplifying the tax code, etc., but there’s no reason that this implies removing progressive marginal rates.   I think Yglesias may have said this more eloquently:

Rick Perry apparently is hoping to revive his failing campaign with the old flat tax bait and switch:

Mr. Perry did not offer details of how his plan would work. He said he wanted to scrap “the three million words of the current tax code and start with something simple: a flat tax.”

“I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time,” the governor said.

Our tax code differs from what Perry is proposing in two ways. One is that the definition of taxable income is complicated because you can deduct home mortgage interest, non-reimbursed business expenses, a whole suite of small-bore tax credits, charitable contributions, and various other things. A second is that we have multiple tax brackets, such that a rich guy pays a higher marginal rate than a poor person. It’s changing the first that makes a tax code simpler. There’s nothing complicated about calculating how much you owe in taxes once you’ve calculated your taxable income. The second change just helps rich people pay less taxes.  [emphasis mine]

Feel free to make arguments against progressive rates, just don’t pretend that it any way actually simplifies things (or you might be a Republican presidential candidate).

Infographic of the day

US health care summed up in one handy image (via Ezra, of course):

What I especially like about this one is the use of amenable mortality in the top-left corner.  In many ways, I think that is the key measure of a health system’s success, yet it is a statistic must people are entirely unfamiliar with.  In short, how many people died that wouldn’t have with reasonable standards of health care treatment.   I think this figure puts the lie to “the US has the best health care in the world” better than any other figure.   Back before my health care wonkery days, I wasn’t all that familiar with this metric.  Now, however, I very much like to incorporate it into class lectures on health care policy and I’ve found that it is as persuasive as any other figure I share with my students.  Combine this with health care spending per capita (not in this chart, but the top right gets at the issue) and it becomes really hard to argue for essentially only minor changes to the status quo (the default Republican position).

Regulation amok!

It’s all well and good for Republicans to rail against “job-killing regulation” all the time, but the truth is, most of these regulations are there for a reason.  For example, Ohio has among the weakest regulations on exotic animal ownership of any state and we get this:

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Dozens of animals escaped Tuesday from a wild-animal preserve that houses bears, big cats and other beasts, and the owner later was found dead there, said police, who shot several of the animals and urged nearby residents to stay indoors.

The fences had been left unsecured at the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville, in east-central Ohio, and the animals’ cages were open, police said. They wouldn’t say what animals escaped but said the preserve had lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears. They said bears and wolves were among 25 escaped animals that had been shot and killed and there were multiple sightings of exotic animals along a nearby highway.

Yeah, sure it’s infringing upon your liberty to not let you have all the lions, tigers, and bears, you want, but I certainly don’t want to live somewhere with totally unregulated ownership of such dangerous creatures.  Alas, in Ohio:

Mazzola had permits for nine bears for 2010, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. The state requires permits for bears but doesn’t regulate the ownership of nonnative animals, such as lions and tigers.

Of course, if Ohio had better regulations they might have “killed’ Mazzola’s job.  Of course, I’d argue that’s a good thing.

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