Shopping for baby clothing used to be a very easy thing. If you are shopping for clothes that are fit for males, you simply have to go to the boys’ section to choose some onesies or whatnot. If you are going to have a daughter, then you can certainly find some clothes in the girls’ section of the department store as well.
However, such gender stereotypes can be problematic in certain situations. For instance, a mother complained that most of their shoes are only fit for males and that there are no other shoes that are fit for her daughter that is also rugged as well. In such a situation, parents would argue that there is a huge lack of gender-neutral clothing and apparel, especially if you just want something that is robust and those that can last for a very long time.
However, implementing such a scheme is actually not that easy, especially since John Lewis, who happens to be the first UK retailer to ditch this gender stereotyping when it comes to clothing, was under fire and parents in the area threatened to boycott his stores because of it.
A blogger and a stylist known as Naomi Isted, said that merging these two clothing departments is not the answer. However, she does say that adding a gender-neutral section- whether on the storefront or on an online shop- is actually encouraged.
For instance, her son would sometimes tie his hair into a topknot and would sometimes be called a gay, despite him wearing boyish outfits. Conversely, her daughter would sometimes be wearing black or blue outfits (colors that are normally associated with boys) and she is okay with it.
In fact, Isted and her daughter would go to online shopping stores just to find the right clothes that her daughter wants. This not only eliminates the hassle of going to a physical store but it would also remove any notion or stigma that would give people the avenue to judge her daughter in a negative way.
A Broader Perspective
Jennie Miller, a psychotherapist, thinks that this issue is one that you cannot ignore anymore since it has become widespread and too mainstream. That being said, just implementing gender-neutral clothing is not the answer. For instance, when you look at BBC’s latest series known as “No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender-Free?”, boys and girls can actually behave in a really good way. It only goes to pieces when gender-conscious adults intervened in some way.
Although acceptance should be given to those children who want to express whatever gender they want to identify themselves with, it is important to note that we should be more willing to accept children who wear messages about being gentle and kind, for example, not to think about them as ‘weaker’ individuals.
I do agree that we should still keep gender-stereotyped clothing since our biology would dictate it to be so (for instance, women having smaller waists), it is important that we broaden our perspective on this matter.