American Super Pro! (made in china, patriotism not included)
American Sports Co.
American Super Pro
What do these words/phrases/places have in common? Two things- they're all American, and they're all on boy's clothes at a local SOUTH AFRICAN chain store where we often buy our kids' clothes. I'm an American ex-pat living in South Africa, and when I first moved here seeing things from the USA was always fun- I thought it was funny and it reminded me of "home", so it always made me smile. 8 years and 3 children later, I'm finding it more irritating than funny, and here's why:
- We don't live in the States. These places and sports mean very little (usually nothing) to most South Africans. Most South Africans have only heard of these places and sports in movies/music/media. The general consensus on American football is that it's "something like rugby for sissies". No one knows how to play it. Baseball is similarly foreign. Even when I lived in the States, I wouldn't have bought most of these things. I'm just not a big fan of buying clothing that advertises places I haven't been or things I don't care about. If I'm going to wear clothing that advertises something, it will be a place, thing, or idea that means a lot to me. I generally prefer unbranded clothes for myself and my kids (exceptions being if it's something they/I really love. (Favourite disney character? I concede. Ben 10 or action characters they know nothing about? No.)
- This is South Africa. South Africa is a lovely country in its own right. Why are there no South African themed childrens' clothes in the shop? Sure, you can find a few in the more expensive boutique shops or tourist traps, but when it comes to shops your average South African can afford? Zilch. There are plenty of fun South African phrases, beautiful cities, animals, etc that could be used in clothing lines instead of American themes- things that both South African children and adults could connect to and appreciate. What happened to being proudly South African? This said though (and connected to my last thought), I don't want my children idolising any country, and I'm honestly quite happy with classic patterns and solids- I'd love to see more of those as well.
- What message is it sending? I love the USA. I really do! And I want my children to learn about the USA and love their heritage as well, BUT, I also want them to have an appreciation for where they currently live, whether we stay in South Africa their whole lives or someday move to another country. The fact that you can only find clothing pointing at other countries as being "cool" is discouraging. I hope they do get the opportunity to travel someday. I'm fairly well travelled and I feel that I'm better for that fact, however, I don't think it's healthy or right to always be longing to be somewhere else. It's important to be content where you're at, even if you do dream of traveling elsewhere "someday".
- They don't have Arizona. If I'm going to buy my kids some made-in-China USA clothes, they'd better at least get the State right :-P