A few minutes spent perusing Etsy's collection of nursery signs for boys and girls is a good way to exceeded the FDA's recommended daily amount of sexist tropes in just a few excruciating minutes. While none of the signs are too troubling when considered individually (okay, while most of the signs aren't too troubling when considered individually), taken altogether, they paint an oppressively pink-and-blue picture.
There are about a trillion iterations of these two signs, neither of which really works for my household. Our would have to say something more like "Girl, n.: a velociraptor noise wrapped in cream cheese and bagel crumbs", and "Boy, n.: a chuckle wrapped in peanut butter."
You can find this sign in every variety of pink and purple hues, but none in blue or red or green, because signs intended for boys don't revolve around their looks as if it's the be-all-end-all of their interest to the world.
Yes, this is an Audrey Hepburn quote. No, that still wouldn't make me want to hang it on my daughter's nursery wall. I would kind of like her to be happy for the sake of being happy, not to give other people something nice to look at.
Another sign you can find in droves for boys--themed with Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-man, and whoever else a kid might love as a favorite hero. But searching an equivalent sign for girls turned up exactly two signs, one of which features no superhero logos at all (but which is at least non-pink) and one of which has a weird generic fake pink Spider-man sort of thing on it. Superheroes are for baby girls too! As long as they have really low standards.
Little boy signs are about all the things they're going to accomplish and do. Signs for little girls are about how they exist to be passively adored.
I don't particularly like the old "snips, snails, and puppy dog tails/sugar, spice, and everything nice" couplets, but what's out there today makes that nursery rhyme look like it was written by Gloria Steinem. According to what's available on Etsy, hunting and cars are a no-girls-allowed club. And what's out there for girls?
If you end up with a baby girl with straight hair, do you try to work out a refund or exchange with the Etsy shop, or with the OB/GYN?
And if you buy this nursery sign for your daughter, you'd better hope she's one of those girls. (I do give bonus points for the rare use of a shade of blue in a sign meant for a girl.)
Music, reading, and emotional attachments are for girls only. Sorry, boys! And girls, hope you don't like sports or the great outdoors--those might get your sparkly princess dresses dirty.
(Post-script: if you're wondering, my daughter's room is decorated with framed Lord of the Rings fan art, and my son's has red and blue cloth "balloons" that I totally made based on reading this Pinterest nursery post. There are no quotes on the walls, but if I did have to choose one to put up, it would probably be, "go the eff back to sleep".)
(Feature image: Paolo_Toffanin / Getty)