Would you dare dress your grandchildren this way?

While babies and toddlers have no control over the clothes they wear, it’s hard to deny the fun of giving
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While babies and toddlers have no control over the clothes they wear, it’s hard to deny the fun of giving them cute “message” t-shirts.

But what if you don’t agree with that message?

Retailer Old Navy has come under a great deal of fire for a range of toddler shirts that seemingly discourage creativity.

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The shirts – since removed from sale – display the slogan “Young Aspiring Artist”. The word “Artist” is crossed out and replaced with “President”, “Astronaut” and other apparently-worthier life goals.

Kelly McKernan, a professional artist and mother, shared the following passionate words on a Facebook post, which has now been shared by more than 10,000 supporters.

Dear Old Navy, this is deeply disappointing. As a mother and a career artist, I'm astounded that a company as large and…

Posted by Kelly McKernan on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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“There is absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring to be a president, astronaut, and/ or artist,” she said.  “Each have their own merits and none is worth belittling in favor of another. Really, to each their own!”

“That said, here’s one for the young aspiring artists: keep working at it! I wanted to be an artist since as early as I can remember. I went to college, got my BFA, and then worked really, really hard to turn my aspirations into a real, full-time career. I work from home and get to do what I love for a living. I also get to travel, teach, and connect with thousands of amazing people that support my work.

“For everyone else: support the arts and art education! Creativity leads to innovation, expression promotes emotional intelligence, and exposure to visual language encourages critical thinking, confidence, and cultural awareness. Who would we be without these things? We’d be drones and paper pushers”.

The Internet has since hit back, offering some clever alternative designs such as this:

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Was the backlash to this design justified? Is it appropriate for children to wear a shirt with this message?

  1. David James

    Perhaps I am getting old but I hardly think a toddler would take that literally, most of them can’t even read at that age !!

    • Rosalind Battles

      most sensible comment here babies and toddlers cannot read, they just wear what their mums put on them

    • Brenda Lunsford Russell

      The fact the child isn’t old enough to read the shirt, isn’t the point. It’s a mindset the parents are instilling in a child. Suppose you have a left brain child but you Insist they be an artist, or a child who loves to sing or paint, and you insist they be a science professor. It’s the same as, only on a deeper level as making a left handed child write with their right hand. As my mom says, if we were all the same, this would be a pretty boring world!

  2. Narelle Hulme

    I would imagine a parent encouraging creativity in their child. I know I did. This was the backbone to their success into chosen careers and adulthood. Do people take T shirt slogan that seriously though?

  3. Heather MacGregor

    Where’s our sense of humour gone……remember the Tshirts saying….daddy’s girl….or little devil or this is all I got out of Italy….whatever…..lighten up folk!

  4. Janet O

    As an educator of many years I find it sad to be crossing out creativity. Was a frustration to me in later years that we were pushing children too fast too young and depriving them of those wonderful years of childhood exploration….. Just so their school could do well in NAPLAN testing. Let the kids be kids!!!!!

    • Don Walker

      Suppose you NAPLAN haters also think there should be no F grading for children only for them to grow up and coming to understand that they are failures because all you do gooders let them think they were perfect. Nothing makes kids perform better, in my humble opinion, then letting them know they have to work harder to succeed.

    • Julie Davies

      Me thinks you wouldn’t have a clue what you’re on about Don Walker, insomuch as having no experience in child education whatsoever. No child should be considered a failure at any stage of their education because the education system simply doesn’t suit all children or circumstances. You’re attitude is so archaic and detrimental, thank goodness you’re of a minority view.

    • Christa Caldecott

      I agree Julie that no child should be considered a failure. Some are slow learners. My son required remedial reading and was very slow at providing essays or homework, but the content was very good when he finally produced his work. He is now a lawyer!

  5. Judith Forbes

    OMFG get a life people, what is wrong with them, laugh, laugh, laugh that is what life is about, stop taking thing to heart……stop COMPLAINING!!!!!

  6. Anne Mitchell

    Oh, for goodness sake! Some people are really “precious”. I would sooner see a kid in such a t shirt, clean and well fed than in PJ’s having obviously had a bath for a week. Would the outcry be the same if “President” had been crossed out and “Artist” left intact? Anyway, as a grandparent is it not my place to dress the child.

    • Anne Mitchell

      Leone O’Sullivan Thanks. I get a bit dyslexic when typing. Somehow some words get omitted or the letters are back to fontn

  7. Julie Davies

    What I don’t like about those two slogans is that they are soooo American (astronaut/president). One minute the uneducated young parents are yelling “Aussie Aussie Aussie”, then they’re putting unaustralian slogans on their kids. And they don’t see it. This country is becoming too Americanised for my liking.

    • Wendy Atkins

      Mine too just hate how American we are becoming even notice how many young people speak through their nose !

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