MEN Next.jpg

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

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


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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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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.


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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’.


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.


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

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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.”


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


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


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


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


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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