“Why is there a picture of a lady on the side, mum and not a picture of a man too?” Is what I was asked by my six year old son as he read the side of the shoe box he was holding.
The shoe box contained the wonderful new trainers he’d picked out for himself in the sports shop. When I told him I didn’t know, he suggested “I think they think they’re just for girls”. I replied that I thought that was odd as girls and boys feet are the same footish shape as far as I knew so there should be no such thing as shoes that only girls or boys could wear.
This isn’t unusual for us, we have had to venture into the ‘girls’ section many times for him to find the My Little Pony t-shirt he was desperate for, or the Shimmer and Shine dolls he had chosen to buy with his birthday money.
This time was different though.
The unintentionally intelligent question and self-derived answer my six year old had put forward made me realise, more clearly than ever before: this is a lie.
Every single time we see a ‘girls section’ sign in a toy shop or ‘boys’ wear’ on a drop down list on a website, it is a lie. These things are not for boys or girls only. There is nothing about them that would prohibit the other sex or gender from wearing or using these products.
So how are they able to label them as such?
My proposal is this; every single time we see that an item or group of items has been marketed as ‘boys’ or ‘girls’, unless there is something that explicitly makes it useable by that sex or gender alone (for which I can think of nothing designed for children), we report it to the Advertising Standards Agency. If enough of us do this, we could eventually see it being made illegal to falsely market something as being for ‘girls’ or ‘boys’.
It takes two minutes to complete a complaint form to the ASA online.
Let’s bombard them with complaints about every label, sign and catalogue page that we see.
Let’s make change.
Let’s not allow the lie to continue.
#letclothesbeclothes #lettoysbetoys #letkidsbekids #callaliealie
Report misleading marketing here: