Update: After removing gender qualifiers from their children's clothing sections, UK retailer John Lewis is facing some backlash. From customers on Twitter to Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, people are taking to the web to discuss their disapproval of the progressive decision.
From comments like "Let boys be boys! Let girls be girls!" and frustration with the "political correctness of the Left," to an endless amount of customers professing to take their business elsewhere, one look at the retailer's Facebook page is enough to remember just how averse the world is, even outside of the US, to the idea of widening our perspective on gender. Morgan, took to Twitter to express his "confusion." The television personality accused John Lewis of "trying to turn the planet into a gender neutral planet," which "should not be allowed to happen." Morgan believes that since none of his sons have shown any interest in wearing dresses, how many other kids could possibly be the contrary? Apropos of nothing, he added that his daughter wears upwards of "20 dresses a day."
It's important to look at this from the perspective that matters — the children themselves, who should be able to wear a dress or wear a head-to-toe blue outfit regardless of what gender they were assigned at birth. And just because the clothes aren't label as "for boys," or "for girls," doesn't mean that if a girl wants to wear a dress, she will be unable to find one. We should all be so lucky to be able to shop without the pressures of a society that conflates gender identity with sexuality.
This article was originally published on September 2nd, 2017.
John Lewis has become the first major UK retailer to go gender neutral with its children's clothing.
The high street favorite, which has around 50 stores nationwide, is now labeling its children's clothes for "Girls & Boys" or "Boys & Girls" instead of using traditional binary labels.
Caroline Bettis, the retailer's head of childrenswear, said of the change: "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."
The Times reports that John Lewis made the decision to go neutral after consulting with the Let Clothes Be Clothes campaign group, which is lobbying to "end gender stereotyping in [the] design/marketing of childrenswear."
Let Clothes Be Clothes said on Twitter this morning that they are "absolutely thrilled" by John Lewis's announcement. Parents and commentators have also praised the retailer's decision to go gender neutral on children's clothes.
John Lewis's decision reflects a swelling movement to end gender-stereotyping in children's clothes. Last month shoe retailer Clarks pulled a shockingly sexist girls' shoe range called "Dolly Bird" after being widely (and rightly) criticized on social media.