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June 2021

School skirts ban: St Martin's in Caerphilly changes uniform

A head teacher has banned skirts from his school citing "frequent" complaints that they are "far too revealing". In an email to parents at St Martin's School in Caerphilly, Lee Jarvis said from September both pupils and staff must wear tailored trousers or shorts.

The change proved unpopular with some parents, with one describing it as unfair and another saying the secondary school should focus on other issues.

Campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes said on social media: "The skirts are school branded only, so how can they complain they're not fit for purpose?

"This head is not showing good leadership but allowing unaccountable strangers to police girls and female staff bodies and dress."

BBC News

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May 2021

Furious parents blast Asda over 'sexist' school shorts which are 8cm shorter for girls

Parent campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes, which campaigns for all UK clothing retailers to stop gender stereotyping, hit out at the supermarket chain over the discrepancy with the shorts, which come in a size seven to eight years. The group insists shorts designed differently for pre-pubescent children is "totally unnecessary". Campaign lead Francesca Mallen said: "Most shops on the UK high street have identical sizing guides for girls and boys up until puberty."

Edinburgh Live

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August 2020

NEXT under fire for "ridiculous" gender labels on children's footwear

Let Clothes Be Clothes campaigner Francesca Mallen told the M.E.N's Manchester Family :

 

"Rainbow motifs are a common design in clothes and accessories sold to girls, whereas boys are often told to accept dark, dull colours. There is also a hint of homophobia that boys are often denied the commonplace Pride emblem, but I feel Next have tried to navigate this obviously dicey territory with the biggest and scariest of all of nature's sore losers - the dinosaur. It would be truly wonderful to see a simple rainbow design marketed to boys, because you have to ask - why wouldn't some boys, like some girls, like lots of colour on their footwear?"

Manchester Evening News

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September, 2017

Childrenswear goes genderless at John Lewis

JOHN LEWIS has become the first major UK store to remove boy’s and girl’s labels from children’s clothing in a bid to reduce “gender stereotypes”.

 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 that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”

Vogue

Alice Newbold

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September, 2017

School trousers or skirts for all: Children should experience equality

Cheryl Rickman, an ambassador for Let Clothes Be Clothes – which worked with John Lewis to remove its gender labels – are not in favour of forcing girls to wear only what boys were already wearing. “We need to stop girls feeling like they’re wearing a boy’s uniform because they wear trousers, which are more practical,” says Rickman.

 

She dislikes the motifs of sequins, hearts and flowers that are frequently found on designated girls’ school clothes and shoes because they perpetuate gender stereotypes, and is concerned that girls’ school trousers are often tighter fitting than boys’.

 

“It’s important to offer children a choice and recognise that each child is an individual. We want genderless clothing, not genderless children.”

The Guardian 

Donna Ferguson

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September, 2017

Why are social conservatives so triggered by John Lewis's gender-neutral kids' clothing?

“Can we call it John Lewis anymore or does it have to be Joan Lewis?” trolls Piers Morgan. “Wicked beyond comprehension,” tweets a Catholic priest. “There are two sexes, MALE and FEMALE, no inbetween. I have two girls who DRESS as girls,” declares intersex-denialist and CapsLock fan Sir Loin.

While I don’t wish to make fun of trauma deeply felt, the special snowflakery on display here is rather amazing. What do these people want? Content warnings whenever there’s a risk they might come into contact with a toddler of ambiguous gender presentation?

New Statesman

@Glosswitch

Newborn Baby

March 2017

This company wants your baby in high heels before she’s walking

A company selling pumps for infants is getting a lot of attention.

Pee Wee Pumps based out of Greensburg, Pa., sells high heel infant crib shoes for babies zero to 6-months-old.

Let Clothes Be Clothes, a UK group against gendered marketing of children’s clothes, posted about Pee Wee Pumps on Facebook earlier this month. The post attracted more than 100 comments, many saying the shoes sexualize children.

USA Today

Ashley May

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August, 2016

How a sexist T-Shirt harms us all.

Welcome to the world of everyday sexism in children’s advertising. Like advertising, and Gap, it is everywhere.

Watch any TV advert aimed at children and you will see girls in shiny princess outfits emoting into microphones and boys dutifully pushing fire engines. Go to the children’s section of any clothes shop and you will encounter primary-coloured stripes for boys and pastel polka dots for girls.

 

We are living in an age when even shapes are gendered. It is that ludicrous.

The Guardian

Chitra Ramaswamy

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August 2017

Debenhams Called Out Over 'Sexist' Gruffalo Pyjamas That 'Rewrite' The Story For Girls

Debenhams has been called out over their “sexist” Gruffalo pyjamas that are different for boys and girls.

Gender-neutral campaign group - Let Clothes Be Clothes - argued that the two different designs played into the “friendly” vs “daring” stereotypes of boys and girls.

The boys’ top features a darker scene with the words: “In the deep dark wood”, while the girls’ top is pink and has the caption: “I’m having a feast”.

“Debenhams has rewritten #TheGruffalo just for girls,” the campaign group wrote on Facebook on 15 August. “Spot the difference.”

The group used the hashtags #notbuyingit and #everydaysexism.

Commenting on the post one person wrote: ”We all know, there's no such thing as a female Gruffalo.”

A mum also wrote: “Aw whoops, I accidentally bought my daughter the boys’ version of the Gruffalo, where he’s scary, instead of the girls’ version where they all link arms and have a picnic together.”

Huffington Post Parents

Amy Packham

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June 2021

Mum blasts Marks and Spencer's ponytail pulling photo as it 'promotes violence against women'

Tracey Garcia says the photo is 'offensive on so many fronts' as it sends the message that violence towards females is OK. While the image has since been removed by M&S following Tracey's complaint, she says she feels let down by the 'family retailer'. 

 

Francesca Mallen, of Let Clothes Be Clothes, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, said: "Fantastic to see Marks and Spencer take swift action on this, and the image now looks to have been removed. We love the transformation and move to more unisex children's wear at M&S, but all retailers need to be cautious of using descriptions and images that are likely to cause great offence."

Manchester Evening News

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April 2021

River Island's high heels for five-year-olds slammed as 'dangerous and irresponsible'

Let Clothes Be Clothes campaigner Francesca Mallen told the M.E.N's Manchester Family :

 

"We all know heels and wedges are bad for our feet. They're bad for our toes, ankles, ligaments, posture and cause foot deformities and back pain.

"Now imagine those feet are new, soft, still growing and they're worn by a someone who wants to run with their friends, climb in the playground and jump in the mud. Heels for girls are dangerous, damaging and completely unnecessary."

Manchester Evening News

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September 2019

Pink or blue? No more! Parents are taking baby steps with gender-neutral upbringing

"The idea of gender neutrality took seed in the mind of New Delhi's Amita Malhortra while she was studying feminist theory as part of her English Literature course. When she became a mother in 2014, she took to understanding what it was like to raise kids unshackled by rigid gender roles."

"I was inspired by the work being done in the UK by pressure groups such as Let Clothes Be Clothes and their allies, and felt there wasn't enough conversation on the topic in India. In 2018, I launched Equalitee a gender-cool merchandise that encourages children to actively break gender stereotypes."
 

Times of India

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September, 2017

Cheryl Rickman, Let Clothes Be Clothes Ambassador, speaking on Good Morning Britain

Cheryl Rickman and Caroline Farrow join the studio to debate whether it is right for John Lewis to remove gender labels from children's clothing.

Good Morning Britain

Youtube

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August, 2017

Tesco and Mothercare called out for sexist marketing of childrens clothes

On Saturday, Let Clothes Be Clothes shared an image from a recent Tesco campaign which promoted the brand’s latest range of school shoes. Here, they spotted that the footwear had been divided into ‘Airtred Soles’ for boys and ‘Sensitive Soles’ for girls.

What’s more, the boys’ shoes feature a yellow dinosaur on the sole, while the girls’ versions are adorned with a pink butterfly.

Unsurprisingly, the image sparked outrage among parents on social media dubbing the move ‘damaging’ and ‘controlling madness.’

“Tesco, are you kidding me?” one person wrote.

“Well you clearly got educated in your basic sexism so lets see how you do with basic maths. Boycotting your products in 5, 4, 3, 2.”

The Independent

Sarah Young

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August 2019

Is there a gender size gap for childrens clothing?

Strides have been made recently in the bid to breakdown gender stereotypes within children’s toys and clothing, with many retailers moving away from the traditional pink for girls blue for boys way of presenting kids products.

But could there be a gender size gap within children’s clothing?

The debate has been fuelled after a Twitter user posted on the social media platform, asking why there was such a big difference in the sizing of Marks and Spencer PJs for a 3-4 year old girl compared to a 3-4 year old boy.

“Just wondering what you think the big difference between boys and girls is that you feel the need to size their clothes so differently?” the post read.

“Both sets of pyjamas in aged 3-4. Why such a difference?”

Yahoo News

Marie Claire Dorking

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January, 2015

M&S criticised over sexist clothes range

Campaigners have attacked Marks & Spencer for playing up to sexist stereotypes after the retailer excluded girls from a new Natural History Museum clothing range.

Let Clothes Be Clothes say the series of dinosaur-themed T-shirts and pyjamas made only for boys sends out the message that ''girls don't do science'' when both sexes should be encouraged to show an interest in natural history.

Francesca Cambridge, who co-founded the campaign and complained to the retailer and museum, said enforcing gender stereotypes places limitations on girls and boys, at a time when more girls are being encouraged to study science and maths.

The Telegraph

Press Association 

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July 2019

Sainsbury's under fire for "sexist stereotyping" in new Summer clothes range for children

Sainsbury's has been accused of 'sexist sterotyping' for the way its children's clothes are being promoted.

Campaigners are angry with how the retailer has branded its summer ranges as 'Playful Pieces' for boys and 'Pretty Adorable' for girls.

In a tweet to the supermarket, the Let Clothes Be Clothes group, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, said: "Lots of your customers are getting in touch with us to say how upset they are about your sexist stereotyping - boys are playful, girls are pretty adorable?

"Can you change this please? How about 'Summer Playwear'?"

Manchester Evening News

Emma Gill

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May 2021

Matalan accused by campaigners of 'sexualising' children with Candy Couture clothing range for girls

Matalan has been accused of 'sexualising' children with its girls' clothing range.

The retailer's Candy Couture range is for girls aged 9 to 16, but campaigners say some of the items are inappropriate for youngsters of that age.

Elizabeth Evans, an academic psychologist who has studied children's body image for more than a decade, stated: "Children aren't oblivious to the cues that these clothes involve, and therein lies the problem. Clothes that encourage self-objectification - and these ones really do - are a big deal in terms of the formation of girls' body image schemata, particularly for those aged 9 and over."

Manchester Evening News

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April 2021

Gary Lineker, Annie Mac and other celebs back school petition on trousers for girls

Celebrities have offered their backing to a petition for girls to be allowed to wear trousers at a Wirral high school. Wirral Grammar School for Girls has a strict uniform policy that requires pupils to wear skirts all year round.

Since the petition was started earlier this month, and following a report by the Liverpool ECHO, it has gained over 10,000 signatures including celebs like Gary Lineker, Radio One DJ Annie Mac, food critic Jay Rayner and author and columnist Caitlin Moran.

Francesca Cambridge Mallen for Let Clothes Be Clothes, who has been supporting the petition, said: "We are really proud of the pupils at WGSFG, and I am delighted the petition has passed over 10’000 signatures."

Liverpool Echo

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December 2018

Watchdog bans "harmful" gender stereotypes in adverts

The UK's advertising watchdog has said it will ban "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said harmful stereotypes in adverts "contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society", and can hold some people back.

The ban will cover men struggling with household chores or girls being less academic than boys.

The rules come into force in June 2019.

The change follows a review of gender stereotyping in adverts by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) - the organisation that administers the UK Advertising Codes, written by CAP.

BBC

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November, 2017

Parents slam dress for three-year olds that says "I'm sexy and I know it"

Only the other day, TK Maxx got into hot water for selling a range of bibs, with the boys’ option saying ‘Smarty Pants’ and ‘I woke up this cute’ being marketed towards girls. And now a dress has sparked controversy after being shared online by the Let Clothes Be Clothes group. A party dress being sold by Australian website Ozsale for £6.85 has got ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’ emblazed on the front.

Understandably, parents aren’t happy about a dress aimed at 3+ children having any kind of sexual connotations attached to it. It’s described on Ozsale’s website as being ‘beautifully designed clothing for your little one’ as well as ‘durable and stylish’.

Metro

Miranda Larbi

Running Children

January, 2015

Sexism aimed at children: Why its time to let clothes be clothes

he self-esteem and aspirations of girls is being eroded by messages that suggest girls are caring and shy, opposite boys who are strong and brave, according to the latest Girl Guiding Attitudes Survey.

 

What is equally clear is that we fail boys by diminishing the importance of empathy and kindness when we accept stereotypes that brazenly shout Troublemaker across t-shirts. It is an indictment of how our society devalues femininity when retailers fail to acknowledge boys are also capable of liking flowers and butterflies, dresses and skirts, love Frozen and idolise female characters like Princess Leia.

Huffington Post UK

Francesca C Mallen

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August 2016

Clarks sparks sexism row with girls shoe called 'Dolly Babe' and boys shoe called 'Leader'

Clarks has sparked a sexism row after naming a girls' shoe range Dolly Babe while the boys’ equivalent is called Leader.

The footwear firm removed the Dolly Babe shoes from its website and is withdrawing the name from its in-store products after “customer feedback”.

The shoes feature a heart print insole with the boys’ equivalent sporting a football pattern. 

The Independent

Ben Chapman

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January, 2018

Star wars fans are puzzled as to why these women's PJ's from Target have the Death Star firing hearts

Well, this is strange.

 

Dr Jen Gunter (whose name you may recognise as a gynaecologist and expert on all things vagina) was shopping in Target the other day when she noticed a set of women’s pyjamas.

 

These pyjamas were Star Wars themed, and featured the Death Star and little Darth Vaders on the legs.

 

Then Dr Gunter looked closer, and noticed that surrounding the Death Star and Darth Vader were… cute little hearts.

 

To be clear, the Death Star is the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon, capable of destroying a planet with one shot of its superlaser.

 

It’s basically a killing machine.

Metro

Ellen Scott

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June 2019

Boys can wear skirts at primary school as it introduces gender neutral uniform policy

A primary school is introducing a gender neutral uniform policy allowing boys and girls to wear either a skirt or trousers.

Pupils will be able to make their own choice from the beginning of the new academic year this September.

Francesca Cambridge Mallen, lead campaigner for the Let Clothes Be Clothes group, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, told the M.E.N: 

"We don't have work places where women can't wear trousers, why should that be acceptable in some schools? Plus for those who cry 'a boy in a dress!!' what is the problem? They're cooler in warm weather and it won't make their bits drop off."

Manchester Evening News

Emma Gill