Core aims

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.


One thought on “Core aims

  1. Just got around to reading this. They just don’t get it do they?

    I didn’t even mention toys!


    Mari Booker

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “Mothercare Customer Support”
    Date: 22 February 2016 08:35:13 GMT
    Subject: RE: Product enquiry <>


    Thank you for your recent [e-mail] relating to the colour of children’s clothes. We welcome all customer feedback and take concerns such as this very seriously.

    At the Early Learning Centre we believe in helping children to be all they can be, to be happy and confident individuals.

    We offer anyone who wants to buy toys so much to choose from that no one should feel disappointed when they walk into our stores.

    We have a huge range of toys in an assortment of colours. Customers can choose a red kitchen, a blue kitchen, a blue cash register, a yellow dolls house or a gorgeous multi-coloured farm.
    Our photography features boys ironing, girls playing with space aliens, boys playing with dolls, boys cooking and pushing buggies, girls building and playing with remote control insects.
    We strive to offer our customers a vast and varied range and we constantly review our packaging, catalogue, website and marketing messages.

    I hope we have been able to reassure you of the diversity and choice provided by our toy ranges, irrespective of the child’s gender or age

    Kind Regards

    Michael Pollitt
    Customer Care
    ELC and Mothercare

    — Original Message —
    From: No title Mari Booker
    Received: 21/02/16 17:33:18 o’clock GMT
    To: redirect email address
    Subject: Product enquiry

    Website Query
    Product enquiry
    No title Mari Booker
    Postcode: BN41 2ET
    I haven’t shopped in Mothercare for many decades as my children are grown up. Now that I have grandchildren, I have started buying children’s clothes again. In the late 1970s, children’s clothes were various colours. My son had purple and red baby grows and my daughter had navy and red outfits. Now all I can find is pink, pink and more pink for girls. Your designers seems to think that boys are interested in dinosaurs and buses and that girls have to be dressed in ‘delicate pink’ with butterflies and flowers on them. I have been a teacher for over forty years and studied and taught child development. Children have wide interests and dressing them in these gendered clothes from an early age is so unnecessary. I am going to get out my sewing machine and make some brightly coloured clothes for my grandchildren.

    —— Please do not remove your unique tracking number! ——


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