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"Gender stereotypes are when certain characteristics, such as preferring a colour or an activity, are applied to an entire gender. For example, ‘all girls like pink’ is a very common stereotype.

 

Stereotypes like this can often be limiting to young people. They can split the population into male and female and can make people feel uncomfortable about enjoying things that are not perceived as being ‘normal’ for their gender.

 

This can influence choices of toys, colours, hobbies, subjects studied and even career paths."

Girl Guiding UK, Lets Talk about Gender

Pink for girls and blue for boys? It used to the the other way around...

Today's classic gender-coding is based around the assumption that girls like pink, and boys like blue. The fashion for these ideas have changed before...

"The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls" Ladies Home Journal, 1918 (right)

Girls will be girls, and boys will be boys?

 

Slogans aimed at girls are dominated by appearance, in particular themes around smiling and being pretty. 41% of girls aged between 9 and 10 believe that "women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability."

Girl Guiding Attitudes Survey 2016

Rigid ideas about masculinity are "narrow and constraining" say The Samaritans. In the UK suicide rates amongst men are three times higher than women. Toxic phrases like "Here come trouble" are all too common. Boys deserve better.

Different size?

Up until puberty, girls and boys are pretty much "child" shaped with similar waist, hip and height measurements. Most high street retailers have identical sizing charts for both. This includes shoes (with the same "standard" width) hats and yes - even pants!

Childrenswear is now following adult trends including shape and fit. Increasingly we are seeing shorter styles, slim fit, cap sleeves and low necklines for girls, while boys clothes reflects a more loose, practical fit based around the false idea that boys are more active.

Dinosaurs were all male?

Perhaps that's why the dinosaurs died out? When the Natural History Museum and M&S teamed up in 2015 to produce a range of t-shirts featuring Dinosaurs, many from the UK Science community were outraged that the partnership excluded girls. Girls should be encouraged to explore science and natural history - just like boys.

Unicorns are just for girls?

It seems unlikely that as a mythological creature and symbol for Scotland, that the Unicorn should exist to entertain girls and send boys running. So why not let children decide what they like? Boys should be given the same opportunities as girls to explore their imagination.

Try our slogan generators!

We think some of the slogans aimed at either girls or boys are pretty sexist, and to illustrate this we've created a way of mashing the most common words together to show just how silly these statements are!

Slogans taken from Summer 2019 T-shirt ranges at John Lewis, M&S, Debenhams, George at Asda, Peacocks, M&Co, H&M and NEXT.

Q. Which of these unicorn slogans found in Summer 2019 ranges come from the boys section?

A. None. There were ZERO unicorn slogans, prints or motifs offered to boys.

*We tried really hard to find some. We checked John Lewis, M&S, Debenhams, George at Asda, Peacocks, M&Co, H&M, Next, Boden, Mothercare, Lands End UK and Primark.

Slogans aimed at boys focus on action, skill and taking risks rather than say dreaming or being happy, both common themes in girlswear.

Boys are encouraged to OWN not just STEM themes (Science aimed at girls is near non-existent, with retailers like John Lewis still using outdated phrases like "spaceman") but also gaming, surfing, skateboarding and cycling. Where we did find examples of "girls can do anything!" these were without exception pink and/or glittery - everyone was pink, alongside a litany of other gender-coded messages that focus on appearance, rather than ability.

Pink & Blue, by Hollie Mcnish

Explicit language