In a recent Mumsnet thread titled “Am I being unreasonable to think that nothing is going to change for women while girls are still targeted with this b*******?”, an anonymous commenter described their experience of a recent trip to the retail giant.
“In Sainsburys this morning,” it begins.
“In the boys’ clothes aisle I noticed tops with the words UNLIMITED and UNSTOPPABLE printed on them. Took a quick detour down the girls aisle to see what similarly empowering messages were being directed at them…
“‘Let’s Stay Home.’
“Because the world belongs to men, who face no limits to where they go and what they can do. They’re unstoppable. But hey, smile and be happy with your small domestic existence, girls.”
Other users on the forum comented on how “normalised” gender stereotyping had become with children’s clothing.
“I’ve just been in Primark this morning and all hoodies in my daughter’s size were “be nice”, “always be kind” etc which are such f*cking dangerous messages to send little girls,” one commenter wrote. “In my son’s size he had dinosaurs [with the slogans] ‘I’m roarsome’ and ‘T-Rex expert’. I’m so tired of it.”
Another added: “Retailers are not mere passive suppliers, they have huge power to drive and influence society in order to create the mindset where people buy this sexist sh*t. And they choose to use that power to prop up the patriarchy.”
A third wrote: “I’m sure I’ve seen words like unstoppable on girl’s clothing, but now I think about it I’m sure I’ve not seen any male clothing whatsoever that mentions kindness. Ever.”
Other garments The Independent found on Sainsbury’s website included girl’s clothing with slogans reading “be kind” and “smile”, while boy’s clothing including text that says “Let’s go on a wild adventure”.
Let Clothes Be Clothes, a campaigning organisation calling for an end to gender stereotyping in children’s clothing, argue that gender marketing has become “a stalwart of the high street”.
It notes that in recent years, many retailers have tried to “side-step” the issue of gender stereotyping by rebranding their clothing for children as “kids”, rather than organised by gender - “while maintaining very specific gendered marketing design”.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told The Independent: “Our kids range includes a wide range of designs which everyone can enjoy and we do not label our items ‘boys’ or ‘girls’.”
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