Clothing and Values

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.

5 thoughts on “Clothing and Values”

  1. I think this connection is very insightful! It is interesting how a lot of infant/children clothes have certain sayings or writing on them that are mostly aimed at grabbing adult’s attention or displaying thoughts of whoever bought the clothing item. The notion of using children to display adult ideas is in a sense furthering the idea that the child is a reflection of their parents.

  2. Wow—I think this is quite a unique post considering you used a “cool thing” that is not something digital. THANK YOU! You write, “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 idea is completely familiar to me. Both of my grandparents and parents (as well as aunts and uncles) are UW—Madison alumni so I have seen plenty of photos of myself dressed in Badger gear. In addition, my family would often attend the Badger Football Spring Game each year as well as games throughout the regular season. Like you said it is interesting to consider a child’s lack of choice in many aspects of life.

  3. Interesting take on the project! As a Wisconsin native myself, I definitely didn’t realize growing up how much the Badgers were pushed on my. Having a parent who worked for the university, we were constantly attending sporting events or other badger-pride filled events. I wonder how my childhood would have been different if I grew up in a different city/state or if my parents had different interests.

  4. I love your connection of “Childhood” to the store Anthology, and specifically a onesie piece of clothing. I think you said it well that childhood can be depicted in the clothing as a type of “gauge” for society’s particular views of that timeframe and it encourages the older generations to participate in the narrative of what childhood means. It’s interesting to think about other everyday objects and how they further construct the idea of childhood. Clothing is just one aspect and something I had not thought about previously for its relation to the definition of “childhood”.

  5. Hi Christiane!

    Material objects are such a crazy aspect of childhood, and such an influential part of childhood. You grow up being interested in the things given to you, and the activities that, although you may have no concept of, your parents wanted to sign you up for. I think your essay really highlights how important it is for parents to expose their children to a variety of this and a variety of ideals, so children do grow up thinking that there is nothing wrong with a book such as “Little House on the Prairie”. Parents have so much influence in their children’s lives, even if you are simply looking at the things they chose to buy for them. I know that for me, my nursery as a child was a light green, and my childhood blanket was a blue, so it makes a lot of sense to me that, to this day, my favorite color is mint. There are simply so many connections that can be made between our childhoods and our passions and favorite things today!

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