John Lewis are to recognize kids as individuals! Finally, a high-street brand has seen children for what they are, real people – not just a set of genitals. Hurrah!
So What is Happening?
John Lewis will now be labelling kids clothes with ‘boys & girls’ rather than ‘boys’ or ‘girls’. They will now also have one big section for kids clothes in store. Nothing more, nothing less. They won’t stop selling clothes in styles traditionally worn only by boys or only by girls. By removing gender labels John Lewis are making the point that any item of clothing in their children’s range can be worn by either girls or boys.
They will also be selling a new unisex clothing line where designs will mix elements traditionally associated with either gender for example dinosaur dresses and spaceship t-shirts.
In a week where one mother shared the awful sexism suffered by her princess-loving son by Disney, this is a welcome change on the high-street here in the UK.
Why is This a Good Move?
Often when parents criticize the lack of choice for girls clothing and shoes, others respond by saying that they should just choose from the boys’ section instead. Beacuse it’s that easy. I can tell that it isn’t.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, it’s not that straightforward. Speaking from personal experience, I know that it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd as a child. Often girls and boys are bullied and made to feel ashamed for wearing clothes or having interests traditionally associated with the other gender.
By removing these labels we give kids the freedom to choose whatever they like without fear of ridicule by others. Kids will be able to look at clothes in a shop (or online) and choose what they truly like, not just what society says they should like. If the end result is that girls prefer to wear pink floral dresses that is totally fine. If boys decide that they prefer to wear blue dinosaur t-shirts that is also fine. I don’t care what kids like as long as it is a free choice and not one they have been forced into due to a lack of alternative.
There has been some negativity surrounding this issue and I would like to address it. John Lewis are to recognize kids as individuals! They are not stripping children of their identities, they are trying to give it back.
I saw one message left on John Lewis’ Facebook page stating that by removing gender labels John Lewis’ is effectively labeling a child as ‘A Thing’. The person whp wrote the message has obviously misunderstood the point that John Lewis’ are trying to make with this change. John Lewis are to recognize kids as individuals with their own personalities rather than try to dictate to them what they should wear based on nothing more than the genitals they were born with.
I would also like to make one thing clear. No-one is pushing little boys into wearing dresses or skirts. Not unless they want to. This is a move only to promote freedom of choice. Do our children not deserve to have a choice?
A Long Way Still to Go
Gender stereotypes won’t disappear overnight. It’s very likely that if a boy chooses to wear a dress from John Lewis next week he will be laughed at because as a society we still believe that dresses are for girls. It’s likely that if tomorrow a girl chooses to wear a pair of shoes that would have appeared in the boys section that some girls in her class will tease her because they aren’t ‘fashionable’ for girls.
There is a long road ahead, but you don’t get anywhere without taking that first step. I hope that now John Lewis are to recognize kids as individuals that other kids clothing retailers will follow suit. Lets hope that soon the high-street will be full of clothing ranges with something for every child.
All images in this post were sourced from Pixabay