Stop the gendered messages on kids' clothing!
Posted on 29 August 2015
A little while ago, I checked out the children's clothing aisle at The Warehouse. I was bombarded with gender stereotypes. I was astounded. I knew it was bad - but didn't realise it was quite THIS bad!
First up, the "BOYS" aisle.
What do these clothes tell kids about about what it means to be a boy?
What do these clothes tell kids about about what it means to be a girl?
Children are like little sponges: they absorb all the messages we subtly (and not so subtlety!) give them.
What does it mean for our communities when we are raising a generation of kids who are told that being a boy is all about having 'chicks' loving you, driving fast, being loud... ? What does it mean for our communities when we are raising a generation of kids who are told that being a girl is all about being pretty, loveable, cute, and obsessed with boys and shopping...? It is not that any one of these things is necessarily so terrible in itself - in fact some are great attributes - but en masse, there is a clear message being given to kids: there is one way to be a boy, and there is one way to be a girl. When that is the dominant message being given by one of New Zealand's biggest children's clothing retailers, we have a really big problem.
Our kids deserve more than being corralled into narrow boxes based on their genitalia. When children's body shapes are essentially the same until puberty, why are clothing stores even dividing their clothing by gender? Do retailers really think that if we don't clearly separate boys and girls clothing there will be a rampage of confused parents running down the aisles panicking without a clue of what to buy their child?