In light of the recent remake of the classic film Ghostbusters, retailer Old Navy has released t-shirts for toddlers, both boys and girls. Unfortunately, the products are negatively gendered.
The toddler boys’ section features gray tees with the classic Ghostbusters logo on the front. The girls’ section, though, only sells pink tees with the classic logo, but also text that reads “Ghostbuster in Training.” Both products claim to be marketed toward toddlers in general, but the sexism is clear as the shirts are split into gendered sections on Old Navy’s website. This is an unfortunate setback considering the film was all about empowering women with its all-female cast. With the internet’s backlash against the casting and the Twitter attacks on Leslie Jones, you would have thought the new Ghostbusters had taken enough guff without retailers getting in on it.
This is not the only evidence of sexism in Old Navy’s products. There is no Ghostbusters apparel for adult women, but there are products for adult men. Similarly, Thomas the Tank Engine gear is only sold in the “boys” section, while Frozen products are placed in the “girls” section. Old Navy has also embraced outdated gender stereotypes with a toddler shirt that says “Boys Will Be Boys.” Retailers really shouldn’t be encouraging young boys to think they can act however they please just because of their gender.
Luckily, Old Navy does have a few products that empower young girls. For example, tees emblazoned with the phrases “Girl Power” and “Strong Girls = Strong World” are available on the retailer’s site. The girls section also features a shirt that says “Born Leader,” while the equivalent in the boys section just says “Future Leader.” The toddler girls section also contains normal looking shirts featuring Batman, Superman, Captain America, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so it seems the Ghostbusters incident may have been an unusual misstep for Old Navy.