The Gender Unchaining of John Lewis
If I could hug a shop, I would hug John Lewis today. But the nearest John Lewis is 15 miles away and it's Sunday and it's raining and Friends is on. So instead, I'm going to give them a Strong Women Squad shout-out, based on their most recent announcement.
John Lewis have taken the move that I hope other shops will follow, by removing 'boys clothes' and 'girls clothes' labels inside their stores. From now on, childrens clothes will be... childrens clothes.
Gender labels on clothes for kids has always struck me as odd. I don't have children, but last Christmas I was shopping for something for my two nieces, and this is when I really became aware of how crushing gender labels on clothing could be to a child's self-esteem. Imagine being a little boy, four years old, who walks into the clothing department with a parent. His eyes light up, because before him are racks of taffeta and sequins and beautiful, sparkling, soft sweaters. But no, this is the girls' section. He has to like the plain t-shirts with the tractor. And the little girl who wants a Star Wars jumper but can't find one in the girls' department. She can buy one the boys' jumpers, sure, but she now thinks she's not 'normal' because she's having to dress like a boy. At such a young age they've been told what to like, and what it's appropriate to look like.
I had a mini-rant about it at the time:
And now John Lewis have stepped up! The sequins and the tractors are still there, but thanks to making all their clothing unisex, and crossing conventional prints so that dresses have dinosaurs and such like, you and your child can now choose what you want to wear based on what you like. Not what you're told to like. Hoorah! Take all my money, John Lewis!
There's no such thing as dressing like a girl and dressing like a boy. Wear whatever the hell you want to wear, whatever gender, whatever age