Let Clothes be Clothes is asking retailers in the UK to rethink how they design and market children’s clothing. Just like many of our supporters, we’re concerned about how colours, styles and themes are split into for girls or for boys, and what message that sends out to children and adults. Children should decide their own interests, favourite colours, and wear the styles they find most comfortable and enjoyable to wear, rather than feel directed by retailers and pressure to conform.
Gender stereotypes are over-generalizations about the characteristics of an entire group based on gender.
When we talk about gender marketing, we refer to the use of exploitative gender stereotypes to sell more goods. The this is what girls like and this is what boys like bypasses individual choice by the notion that a child’s sex determines their interests and favourite colours.
In reality girls and boys are more alike than different, they are children, and we create inequality by convincing girls and boys that they are different to each other. When retailers only market Space themed clothes to boys, what message does that send to girls about the role of women in society? Why offer boys slogan tops describing the male wearer as trouble or bored? This cultural sexism exploited by retailers has to stop, because while it continues clothing is less about comfort, practicality and fun, and more an area where children are told to conform.
These gender stereotypes deny children the chance to freely explore, learn and make their own choices. As a society, we should allow children the freedom to choose their own interests, and make that choice as wide as possible.