John Lewis has decided to remove gender labels from its children’s clothing.
They are the first UK retailer to do so and as well as removing the labels, they will combine the sections in the store.
John Lewis’ own-brand children clothing will now simply say ‘Girls & Boys’ or ‘Boys & Girls.’, reports the Independent.
They could have gone with ‘children’s clothing’ and saved themselves having to print two types of label there, but I digress.
There are no plans to change the clothes – there will still be flowery dresses and t-shirts, but they’ve removed the labels because boys might want to wear dresses and girls might want to wear t-shirts with dinosaurs on them.
Caroline Bettis, head of childrenswear at John Lewis, said:
We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead, want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.
I know some people might worry it could mess with kids heads or whatever, but seriously can you actually remember a single thing you wore under the age of ten?
I can kind of remember a jumper with a tractor on it my gran had knitted and the itchy glitter crown I wore when I was Three Kings aged five in the Primary School Nativity play – but literally nothing else.
Maybe it is more subtle? Just seems weird to me to tell people what to wear whatever their age.
There was some praise for the move on Twitter:
Well done John Lewis. Unisex children's clothing and no more gender specific labelling ? https://t.co/sFsxsUS8LL
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) September 2, 2017
But people with union jacks as prominent parts of their Twitter pages are unsurprisingly annoyed:
John Lewis pandering to the mentally Ill. There are two genders, male and female. https://t.co/onIzXbs78K
— Matt (@mtavp) September 2, 2017
A chap going by the name of BREXITNUTTER was so incensed, he didn’t have time to switch off caps lock before pounding out his tweet (I like to imagine him typing with his fists):
LIKE JOHN LEWIS … GENDER NEUTRAL KIDS CLOTHING !!! WTF?….. BOYCOTTED
— BREXITNUTTER (@hardbrexit1) September 2, 2017
It’s kind of weird we’re using children as a battleground for very adult concepts.
What do you think about John Lewis’s move? Is it a brave stride towards gender equality, a cynical PR move aimed at attracting Guardian readers to their already swanky brand, or a dangerous step towards a generation of seriously confused children?