For this post, I traveled to the store Anthology on State Street which features paper products, handmade goods, political buttons, feminist goods and a wide variety of other products. The store has a strong Madison and Wisconsin theme and much of its items are created by local artists. Additionally, the word Anthology itself means “a collection of literary pieces, such as poems, short stories, or plays, usually suggesting a common theme” so I believed it was a fitting place to visit given the nature of the course. The item I chose to analyze is this UW Madison inspired onesie featuring the popular saying “If you want to be a badger just come along with me”.
In the Keywords essay “Childhood” Karen Sanchez Eppler describes how childhood involves the child being “fed, carried, taught to speak and prepared to function appropriately within their particular social world”. This can almost be summarized as an “indoctrination” of the child into certain social values. Here in Wisconsin, the Badger Franchise is extremely popular and many children grow up watching football games, wearing badger merchandise and in houses with badger memorabilia. This item represents the socialization aspect of childhood, one that can manifest itself on children’s clothing. Much like children’s literature, children’s clothing is another way to “gauge” society’s particular views of childhood and also represents a way for older children to participate in the construction of childhood. It is interesting to think about how young children lack autonomy in their choice of clothing, much like the choice of literature available to them as it is chosen by their caretakers. However, older children are more able to choose which stories they parktake in and which clothing they choose to brand themselves with.