I’m sure you will have read something about John Lewis recently releasing their new clothing range. It’s had an incredible amount of press, seeing as they have decided to remove girl’s and boy’s labels in their range. This has sparked debate left, right and centre. Does it really matter what our children wear? What messages are we wending them by the clothes we dress them in?
Boys and girls ARE different. We’re built differently, have different hormone levels, our brains develop and work differently. I think our differences should absolutely be celebrated. Yes, girls show empathy at a younger age and may feel at home demonstrating that with a doll. And yes, boys need to destroy things to see how they work. My issue lies in the stereotypical boxes that we, as a society put them in. Your boy WILL love tractors, diggers and trucks and your girls WILL love princesses, ponies and fairies. As a young, impressionable child they will clearly notice what other children wear, what’s on TV etc and start to pick up on how they think they should look or what to be interested in. I bet that if a child was given no outside influence, regardless of gender they wouldn’t veer towards blue or pink.
When Isla was a baby I was ABSOLUTELY adamant that she would not wear marshmallow pink. If she had have been a boy then there would also have been no baby blue. Nothing to do with the colour, more to do with the idea that there are certain things they should be wearing. I struggled to find her clothes which were neither pink nor covered in princess nonsense. I find it far easier now, thankfully. The whole idea that a colour belongs to a gender is ridiculous. Blue is not a masculine colour, it’s just a colour. In fact in the Victorian times it was normal to dress boys in baby pink. It was said in 1918 that pink is a ‘stronger’ colour and blue was more ‘dainty’ for girls. Again, ridiculous.
I have a real problem with clothes that have any sort of writing on them. So a quick search online and I have found these gems for boys – ‘Little Monster’ and ‘I drive mummy round the bend’ where as the girls say ‘lovely little one’, ‘a spoonful of cuteness, a sprinkle of sweetness and cuddles with mummy’ and ‘pretty little petal. There is a clear difference in message.
I celebrate John Lewis for encouraging dinosaurs on girl’s clothes. If your girl is into football I would bet money on you finding it hard to find clothes to incorporate that on the high street. Why should she have to choose something from the boys section? John Lewis hasn’t named their clothing a gender neutral. That’s something that has been adopted by the media. Being gender neutral is a WHOLE different ball game of which I won’t voice my opinions. It’s simply become inclusive, ‘boy’s AND girl’s’ rather than ‘boy’s or girl’s’. It’s actually not anything new; H&M have their baby’s range grouped together in just ‘Baby’. It’s just that John Lewis are the first to declare it. If anything, it’s just a very clever media stunt. Will it get them more sales? I don’t know. They have probably pissed off the same amount of people as the ones they have encouraged. I for one will not be shopping there just because the lack of gender labels their clothes. It did however make me go and have a look on their website which I wouldn’t have usually done. Fair play to them!
I’m not about to put Reggie in a dress, BUT I am all about providing my children with choice and not labeling them in slogan covered clothes before they’re given a chance to develop their own likes and interests.