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.
— Dance Judge (@DanceJudgeProbs) December 29, 2015
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.
“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:
— Julianna C Avelar (@juliannacavelar) December 30, 2015
Was the backlash to this design justified? Is it appropriate for children to wear a shirt with this message?