"I'm a Princess": The Gendered Marketing of Children's Clothing

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MacNaughton, Carly
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The focus of this research was to examine the messages conveyed about gender through children’s clothing. Content analysis was used to analyze graphic t-shirts from a popular children’s clothing store, “The Children’s Place.” The graphic t-shirts available on the stores website were analyzed in terms of colours, decorations, images, text and other points of interest. Data was taken from the girl, baby girl, and boy sections within the graphic t-shirt section of the website. The data was analyzed for similarities and differences that were present within each gendered category, and whether they were congruent or noncurrent with traditional gender stereotypes. The themes that emerged from the data collection were discussed in regards to the messages the clothing sends to children about their gender identity. Another aspect of this research was to study how clothing stores market gender through the clothing, as well as through the set-up of their stores in gendered ways. The physical space of “The Children’s Place” was examined on one subsequent visit to document how the store’s space sets up a divide between the genders making it virtually impossible for adults and children to make non-gendered purchases. The theoretical framework of discourse analysis was used to discuss the pressures adults face to make appropriate clothing choices for their children, as well as the pressures children face to wear gender appropriate clothing.
Gender, gender marketing, The Children’s Place,