oh bother, part 7

As seen in the Kmart Blue Friday door buster ad: The Huffy Major Flirt Bike for GIRLS and the Huffy Major Trouble Bike for BOYS. The bikes are in the bottom right corner of the flyer.


There are many ways that I could discuss why the names of the bikes bother me. But, because this is an “oh bother” post, I won’t get into any lengthy dissertation on the bothersome reduction of boys to Trouble and girls to Flirt or the problematic way these labels, and the ideologies about “proper” boy and girl behavior that undergird them, hail us into existence as real boys who use our bikes to get into trouble or as real girls who use our bikes to flirt (yes, I did just reference Althusser and his account of interpellation!).

There is one point I would like to make. I was initially thinking of posing the question: Just who does Huffy (the maker of these bikes) imagine a 3-6 year old girl to be flirting with? But instead of focusing on that question and the problematic ways naming a bike “Major Flirt,” could contribute to the over-sexualizing of very little girls, I want to offer another way in which to bother/be bothered by the label. According to dictionary.com, flirt is described as: merely playing with, not taking seriously, and showing only superficial interest without commitment. What stereotypes of little girls do these definitions of flirt (as superficial, etc) reinforce? Oh bother!

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