by MIA FREEDMAN
Have you ever wondered who buys those really dodgy onesies or baby t-shirts with slogans that make you uncomfortable? I don’t think it’s parents, I really don’t. I just can’t imagine any mother buying her new baby son a teeny tiny “Tits Man” onesie. Or a Dad proudly dressing his baby girl in a 000 size top that says “I drink until I pass out” with a picture of a bottle on it.
A few years ago in one of the most popular posts Mamamia has ever published, I asked the rhetorical question: “Is Cotton On on crack?” in relation to a range of baby onesies it was selling. Many of the slogans were dodgy (Tits Man was one of the milder ones) but the onesie that incensed hundreds of thousands of people was the one in the top right corner:
Yep. Shake me. Written on a picture of an etch-a-sketch. Because shaking a baby violently is like, ironic and hilarious right?
Responding to the overwhelming response of Mamamia readers (the post went instantly viral and Cotton On were bombarded by angry consumers), the range was grudgingly withdrawn by Cotton On.
At least they listened to their customers. Props to them for that.
I hold no grudges. I’m a huge Cotton On Kids fan. Love their stuff. Bought a stack of it last week in fact.
In the months after we published the Cotton On post about the shaken baby, every time someone saw a slogan on a t-shirt they found offensive, they would email us here at Mamamia, keen for us to share their outrage with the world. We could quite easily have become the Website For People Who Are Offended By T-Shirts. But we didn’t. While there are plenty of objectional, appalling and cringeyworthy t-shirts out there that deserve naming and shaming, we felt joking about child abuse is on a whole other level.
Outrage is a very subjective thing. What offends you may be totally cool with your closest friend. And vice versa.
But there’s something that doesn’t sit quite right with me about babies being used as a billboard for people to show how witty, ironic or smart-arse they are.
In the US, there’s currently a controversy over this onesie:
According to reports:
A baby bodysuit with a woman’s silhouette printed on the front has parents in Southaven, MS outraged.
The bikini onesie is only one of the Wild Child outfits on Bon Bebe’s website with a questionable message. Another reads “Lock Up Your Daughters” with a graphic of a padlock printed underneath.
And, this isn’t the first time parents have taken issue with children’s clothing sold in their local retail stores. Last November, shoppers were horrified to find a pair of crotchless panties at ‘Kids N Teen’ in Colorado. A few months earlier, French brand, Jours Apres Lunes, sold a “loungerie” line for 3 to 36-month-old girls.
Here are some other onesies that don’t make much sense (and some that are completely appalling):
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