Posts tagged with "BuzzFeed News"

Sexual innuendo is everywhere—including … baby clothes

April 20, 2022

If you’ve tried to buy baby clothes lately, you might have noticed that the selection is, that some would say is interesting and inappropriate—with onesies gleefully announcing a baby’s raging sexual prowess, reports BuzzFeed News.

Whether it’s your own infant or a friend’s newborn, you can buy him apparel that suggests he is a “ladies’ man,” that “ladies love him,” and that he is a “lady killer.” You can put a baby in a shirt that says he’s a lover boy, too.

Predictably, items designed for girls are even more cringe. While baby boys can unknowingly boast about how well they will be cleaning up with women, baby girls get to convey that they are off-limits, because they are under the control of their fathers. Stay away from me! This baby is not allowed to date, EVER, because I already found the man of my dreams, and it’s my DADDY. (Gross.)

If you venture over to Etsy, things get even more WTF. What proud dad doesn’t want his infant to wear a onesie referencing his sperm? Or the fact that he impregnated his wife during the one brief moment he gave her the time of day? Or the speed with which he did so?

Then there’s the whole genre of boob merch for babies. Breastfeeding is, of course, extremely common and shouldn’t be stigmatized, but it’s a little jarring to see a baby’s onesie emblazoned with a joke about how many “tits” they suck. There are some gifts for an infant who aspires to be a milk-drunk mess or appreciates their mom for her, um, attributes (dad likes them too!). And what could be more fun than picturing your infant and your partner fighting over them?

While these jokes are mainly harmless, many of these clothes also reference a stereotypical view of high-libido, protective men and the hapless women who are mostly useful because they are both sexy and a source of food.

Jo Paoletti is a researcher and educator who has been studying gender expression in clothing for more than 40 years. She, too, has noticed the proliferation of sexually suggestive clothing for children, and told BuzzFeed that when examining what it all means, it’s important to remember that infant clothing is ultimately a type of expression for the child’s parents, or whoever bought the item for the baby.

In this case, she speculated that by dressing an infant in provocative clothing, a parent may be trying to signal to the world that they are rebelling against the culture of parenthood that pretends everything is all sunshine and rainbows, or the idea that people get boring once their kids are born.

“It’s like [a] reality check, I’m not taking this parent thing all that seriously,” she said. Some parents may relate more to this type of irreverent humor than the parental aesthetic centered on what a blessing a baby is, she added.

One Etsy seller, a woman named Jenn Pickar who runs a shop called BrainJuiceTeez, told BuzzFeed that she only started selling what she called “innuendo” onesies about nine months ago and did so because she noticed how popular they were on the site.

In fact, Pickar says that, since she started selling these items, sales of these types of clothing have risen by about 300%, and she also has noticed a glut of shops that have appeared on the platform selling the same thing. She isn’t sure why these clothes have skyrocketed on Etsy, but she suspects that one popular shop made them and started a trend. As to why some parents like them so much, she speculated that it’s “just going against the grain.”

It certainly seems as if people are buying these designs for the shock and humor factors, and that other adults are the main target of these slogans. In the reviews of one Etsy shop, buyers raved about a onesie that reads: “My Daddy Only Plays With The Box I Came Out Of!”

Another seller, Janet Smith of LittleLillyBugDesign, also told me she has seen sales of irreverent baby clothing spike in recent months. Her shop sells children’s clothing, including a onesie printed with a drawing of boobs and the slogan “Eat local.”

“There seems to be a trend of doing couples baby showers so people like to buy a gift that will also include the new daddy,” she said via direct message on Etsy.

It’s likely that major retailers like Buy Buy Baby are similarly stocking these types of clothes because of customer demand. (A spokesperson for the store didn’t respond to inquiries about these items).

Paoletti says that, ultimately, this type of apparel, and other hypermasculine or hyperfeminine clothing (trucks for boys, bows for girls), serves to reinforce the gender binary so acutely that it may subconsciously play into gender stereotypes as the child grows, especially if it’s part of “lots and lots of messages that this child was getting over the first several years of their lives.”

“We’ve accelerated the gendering of infants well before birth,” she said. “And we’ve been doing that for 40 years. So it’s not surprising that what happens is, when the little boy starts acting up and being aggressive and the little girl starts acting flirtatious or shy it’s [like], Oh, well, yes, because she’s a girl; that’s because he’s a boy, never imagining that you had anything to do with it.”

Research contact: @BuzzFeedNews

Not so nice? ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ workplace to be reviewed by WarnerMedia

July 29, 2020

Following rumors that the staff of the daytime talker, “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” has been intimidated, insulted, and otherwise mistreated; WarnerMedia has started an investigation into the workplace environment of the syndicated program, which has been a staple on the air since 2003.

Executives from Warner Bros. Television and the production company Telepictures sent a letter to employees of the talk show last week that outlined the company’s investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the letter, The New York Times reported.

WarnerMedia’s employee relations department, along with representatives from an outside company, will interview current and former staff members about their experiences on the program, the people said.

The decision to start the review followed the publication of articles that included allegations from current and former employees of discrimination and abusive behavior. Warner Bros. Television and a representative for DeGeneres declined to comment.

BuzzFeed News published an article this month that described what it called a “toxic work culture.” In the article, former staff members said they faced “racism, fear and intimidation” and laid most of the blame on three of the show’s executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner. DeGeneres also is a producer on the show.

Former employees said they were fired for taking time off for medical leave or bereavement. Black employees said they experienced racist comments. One said that one of the show’s writers had told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.”

In a joint statement to BuzzFeed News, Glavin, Connelly and Lassner said: “For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

Variety first reported on the WarnerMedia investigation.

Last year, DeGeneres—known as “the Queen of Nice” by her audience— renewed her contract to continue hosting the program through 2022. She also signed a deal to create three shows for WarnerMedia’s streaming platform, HBO Max.

Research contact: @BuzzFeedNews

Facebook gets grief for including Breitbart in News tab

October 29, 2019

Can Facebook do anything that doesn’t draw fire from users, regulators, legislators, and the media? After years of complaints from American news outlets that the social media site has The Washington Post reports that Facebook has agreed to compensate at least some news organizations as part of a specialized “News” tab meant to steer users toward curated national and local news stories.

But the project immediately raised new controversy when it became known that Breitbart News—a Web outlet linked to right-wing causes that was once run by former Trump adviser Steve Bannonhad been included among the 200 media outlets participating in the program.

“Given that Facebook is putting actual news outlets in the same category as Breitbart, actual news outlets should consider quickly withdrawing from the program,” Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal nonprofit media watchdog, told the Post.

At an event in New York to launch the project, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Breitbart’s inclusion. “You want to include a breadth of content to make sure all different topics can be covered,” Zuckerberg said.

Other outlets participating include The Washington Post, The New York Times, News Corp., BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Bloomberg News, Fox News, NBCUniversal, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

The News tab marks the latest iteration of Facebook’s approach to online news, the Post reports. Before January 2018, the company had been a leading distributor of news, but that role was dogged by the presence in its feed of false and misleading information, as well as by allegations that its news feed and other features tilted toward liberal viewpoints

Zuckerberg did not go into specifics about how different publishers would be compensated, and media analysts expressed skepticism that the arrangement will help the small and medium local outlets that have been most seriously undercut by the rise of online news distribution.

“The vast majority of local news outlets are not included, and that is part of the news ecosystem that’s most at risk,” David Chavern, the president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, a trade association of news publishers, told The Washington Post.

Chavern called Facebook’s agreement to pay at least some news outlets for their content a step in the right direction, noting that tech platforms have been “uniquely unwilling to pay for news and quality journalism.”

The News tab already is available to more than 200,000 Facebook users in the United States, with a broader rollout planned for early next year. The new service, Facebook executives say, should make it easier for users to locate the day’s major headlines, as well as stories geared toward particular topics or locales.

The initiative could reach 20 million to 30 million people over a few years, Zuckerberg said.

 Research contact: @washingtonpost