“Let Toys Be Toys” is a campaign which was started by a group of mums that basically got fed up with the gender-stereotyping of toys. They believe that these gender-stereotypes in toys can limit a child’s choices and ultimately stop them from developing all the skills that toys in general should teach them i.e. action/construction toys for spatial skills and problem-solving, imaginative play for social skills and imagination and arts/crafts for fine motor-skills and perseverance etc.
The “Let Toys Be Toys” campaign has received a lot of publicity and retailers like Debenhams and Marks and Spencer have responded to the campaign by promising to remove their gender specific labelling on their toy aisles. No more pink aisles for girls and blue isles for boys (thank you very much). They aim to sort their toys by functionality and type, rather than gender. Hurray for that.
The question is, would it be possible to do the same with children’s clothing ?
When my Boy/Girl twins (Little Jake and Little Maya) were born, I never wanted to dress them the same so didn’t want to buy the same (white) outfit x 2 for them but nor did i want to dress one in pink and one in blue but often, that would be the only choices that we had.
I launched my first baby collection, back in 2008. Part of that collection was unisex because I always thought it would be a good idea but you know what, it didn’t sell very well.
Part of the reason ? Retailers didn’t know where or how to merchandise it. It wasn’t girlie enough for the pink and fluffy girl’s section and at the same time, it wasn’t boyish enough for the boy’s section. It was a bit in between. I learnt a lot through that experience and a lot has changed since.
Scandinavians, like Polarn & Pyret and Mini Rodini, are very good at unisex clothing.
In UK, we have Tootsa MacGinty and Boys and Girls.
They are all doing a great job making clothing more fun and giving kids real choices, not based on gender-specific commercialism.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see more pink dinosaurs, boy fairies and maybe some turquoise diggers ?
It is not about stopping girls from dressing up as princesses and boys as pirates, it is about giving kids a choice which is based on their actual likes and personality, not their gender.
An additional (big) bonus of unisex clothing is that it can be passed down to any child, whether it is a boy or a girl.
What do you think ?
Source: How Stuff Works, Gildan, Polarn & Pyret, Mini Rodini, Tootsa MacGinty, Boys and Girls, Let Toys Be Toys
Totally agree in the importance of not pigeon holing children into gender stereotyped looks and roles.
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It is quite a battle, as the majority of people have already been pre-conditioned by media, society, culture, upbringing etc and can not see it as a problem.
I totally agree. I refuse to buy clothes that are overly labelled – my kids are not adverts – and always opt for what looks good regardless of the gender it’s made for. My daughter is as frustrated as me that the best superhero tees are in the boys section – I mean, whoever saw a pink batgirl? My son happily plays dress up in princess dresses and wears a lot of his sisters handmedowns – I find leggings for her work brilliantly for him as looser style bottoms (because of the age difference). We also find when Nanny comes to stay that clothes are put in the wrong wardrobe because of her the way she thinks with regards to gender! I think times are changing again… that preconceived idea isnt what it once was, although it is still out there in force. Some of my daughters friend’s bedrooms are so pink it’s unbelievable….
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