Home > Uncategorized > Star Trek uniforms for everyone

Star Trek uniforms for everyone

July 16, 2015

When I was a young idealistic mother, pregnant with my first kid, I had this crazy idea that I’d dress my kids in gender neutral clothing, like they have on Star Trek. In fact my actual goal was to get them Star Trek uniforms, but I knew that might be slightly difficult. It was 1999 and we were all worried about Y2K.

Little did I realize, until after the kiddo was born, how difficult it would be to get anything remotely gender neutral. Especially because I was rarely willing to spend lots of money on clothes I knew would be immediately outgrown, I ended up shopping at places like Toys R Us and similar, and man oh man are those clothes gendered. There’s a pink section and a royal blue and red section. Nothing in between, and no overlap.

Well, things have changed in the past 16 years, and nowadays there are clothing companies deliberately creating kids clothing that doesn’t have the awful princess/superhero dichotomy embedded into every garment. According to this Bloomberg article, there are now pink and purple clothes for boys and dinosaur, pirate, and science clothes for girls. Svaha, for example, sets itself up as a place that makes “clothes that empower your children.” Here’s an example of a girls’ shirt:


There’s also a boys’ shirt, also pink, with flowers and test tubes. That would have been great for my first son, whose favorite color was, as he described it at the time, “light red.”

A couple of things. First, these shirts are $25. That’s approximately 4 times more than these shirts that are standard issue “boy” clothes. Partly that’s just because it’s not a concept that’s really taken off, so we don’t have huge factories in Bangladesh churning out these shirts at ridiculous rates. But even so, it means that, like organic food, open-ended gender categorical clothing is firmly within the realm of the well-off parent.

Second, I don’t think it’s all that reasonable to say a shirt “empowers” a kid. Most times, when a kid is defined externally, through a shirt or a social convention or an adult’s comment, or even another kid’s comment, it’s an exercise in limiting that kid, not expanding him or her. Kids assume they can do anything until we tell them otherwise. When you say to a young girl, “You can be a scientist too, you know!” she thinks, “I never thought I couldn’t. Wait, why should I think I couldn’t?”. It’s not until they’re teenagers that they get this stuff, and can have a critical mindset about it.

In other words, I’m going back to Star Trek uniforms for everyone. The great thing about them is how utterly vapid they are of style or message. If you had to pin a message on to them, it would be an awesome (but distant) future.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 16, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I am interested to know what you felt about Y2k? I didn’t personally have any concern or feel any way about it – so I find the concept intriguing. Nice post! Thanks for sharing.


  2. JSE
    July 16, 2015 at 7:43 am

    “In fact my actual goal was to get them Star Trek uniforms”

    Just make sure not to get them the red shirt!


  3. KatieS
    July 16, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I’m reminded of the Billy Joel lyrics, “You can’t dress trashy ’til you spend a lotta money.” Love this post, onesies for all, and all for onesies!


  4. July 16, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Avoid the Next Generation spandex suits, though. The actors found them really uncomfortable, not to mention revealing.


  5. PMP
    July 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    In some places in the world it is easier to have gender neutral clothes for children. For instance my children started their life, as do most other Finnish babies, in gender neutral colours, because of this fabulous thing, known as the Baby Box, (see http://www.kela.fi/web/en/maternitypackage) which you get from the government when you are still pregnant and don’t necessarily know the gender of the child. This is social security that everyone living in Finland is eligible and it is not means tested.


  6. July 16, 2015 at 11:35 am

    As devoted parents, we were committed to buying our kids the cheapest available duds to cover them to an appropriate level for the prevailing weather (a debate in and of itself).
    A parent has got to prioritize and zometool are expensive, so start saving early!

    That frequently meant that my sons were sporting onesies with “princess” or “fairy” on the front and a whole rainbow of colors (but they also had robots and rocket ships and dinosaurs, too). As the third, my daughter has inherited the whole collection. She mostly favors whatever outfit mom has decided against.

    The one thing I have held strict is not to buy character or toy branded clothes for them. Goodness knows they get plenty as gifts from relatives as it is.


  7. July 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Just not the Lieutenant Uhura/Yeoman Rand-type uniforms.


  8. Aaron Lercher
    July 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    For those desiring more information about Star Trek uniforms:

    For those who are particularly interested in male Star Trek officers dressed in mini-skirt uniforms, accessorized with black boots:


  9. July 17, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Gender neutral clothing? Never a problem! My got my daughter the same solid-primary-color t-shirts and sweatshirts and pants as her brothers. She seems to have survived.


  10. Badmommy
    July 18, 2015 at 4:45 am

    My older son went through what we called “The Superman years.” Literally, for a period of two years from 3 to 5, he refused to wear a shirt without a Superman S on it. It became a uniform. Later we learned that the poor kid has OCD and already was exhibiting signs we couldn’t recognize for anxiety: turns out, he just needed consistency and to take the whole “choice” issue off the table. He was wearing a kind of armor.

    It was just instinct not to fight him on it (although formal events required wearing the shirt under something else like the real Superman). I’m so glad now, knowing what I do now, that we didn’t give the kid a hard time. “Empowering clothing” can have lots of meanings, apparently, and might not always be visible from the outside.


    • July 18, 2015 at 7:11 am

      Wow that is super interesting. And I agree none of this is worth misery.


  11. elkern
    July 21, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Gender-neutral clothing, like Councilor Troi wore? It might be fun to imagine Ryker wearing one of those…. nah. Of course, we all come into this world wearing Troi’s mother’s favorite outfit.

    Or are you more into Original ST than STNG?


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