Thursday, 31 January 2019

Gender Neutrality for kids: Busting the myths.


Let’s tackle some ridiculous myths about not labelling kids toys and clothes with specific genders OK? Because flipping HECK, I’ve heard some bloody stupid stuff making the rounds. From people who really aren’t stupid and should definitely know better.

It’s over a year since John Lewis took down their signs for “boy’s clothes” and “girl’s clothes” in store but it seems there are still a lot of people out there who haven’t grasped the concept. I’m gonna break it down for you:


Gender Neutral Clothing / Toy sections aren’t full of beige clothes / toys or not trucks or dolls.

This is the silliest thing I’ve heard so far. That all kids clothes will become grey and beige…. akin to when you hedging your bets buying baby clothes pre birth. No. It means that we stop deciding for kids what colours they are limited to wearing / toys they are limited to playing with. If anything, the best thing any clothing or toy shop could do, right now, is add MORE colours to their palate. I’ve lost count of how many mums have complained to me about the lack of colour options other than pink or cream for girls. And boys like reds, yellows, greens, oranges and EVEN PINK. Just start widening the selection folks...it’s not hard! The same with logos…. Not all clothing needs to be fairies / unicorns vs superheroes / trucks. What about just having dinosaurs and pirates and cars and teddies in ALL colours?

YES IT’S OK IF YOUR GIRL WANTS TO WEAR PINK AND YOUR BOY WANTS TO PLAY WITH CARS. This isn’t the issue here. It’s to give ALL kids the choice of ALL the colours/toys. Both my kids play with Lego. Both play with the (pink) Walkie Talkies my daughter was bought for her birthday. (But why are they pink????)

Let’s not force stereotypes onto kids and start pigeon holing them before they can even spell pigeon! Not all girls want to play mums and dads, not all boys want to be policemen or doctors.

Gender Neutral Clothing sections aren’t going to make your kids become transgender.

This is a biggie…. unless your kid suffers from gender dysphoria …of which only an estimated 0.08% of the UK populationcurrently being born is, then they will not be “made” or encouraged or persuaded into becoming a trans person. This is very important. Broadening clothing choice and letting your boy play with My Little Pony is not going to have any impact on his life other than to make him happy.  Gender dysphoria is not common, it’s an inherent condition over which the child has no choice. Sure there are kids who want to experiment with different looks, clothes, toys…. Some of those will have gender dysphoria and will go on to seek treatment and possibly surgery once they are 18. Most of them won’t. 

But if your child does have gender dysphoria then the last thing you want for them is to be made to feel more at sea by clothing brands telling them what they should and shouldn’t be wearing to feel accepted and “normal” in society.

Gender Neutral Clothing / toy sections aren’t going to make your kids “gay”.

Again with the “breaking it down for the dumb”. Firstly, this section is purely for those who think homosexuality is in anyway a negative. Secondly, people are born with their sexuality. Just as they are born with gender dysphoria or not. So nothing external, like a pink fucking t shirt, is going to make your kid gay. Kids need to have access to whatever toys they want (within economic reason!) because it encourages their imagination and creativity. If you take that doll away from your little boy, then you’re an idiot and you’re doing your child a massive disservice.

Gender Neutral Kids Clothing isn’t about Androgyny.

It’s not about taking ANY gender away from kids. There are some schools of thought (and literal schools!) who think that taking any gender markers away from kids’ means that children won’t be constrained by the barriers of their gender. E.g. girls might be more likely to go on to study stem subjects, boys won’t grow up with toxic masculinity. Some may see this as a step too far, but as a general rule, just rallying for clothes/toys to be made and marketed with both genders in mind would be a good start.

Has Gender Neutrality gone too far?

Some people seem to take it as a personal affront that other parents let their kids decide what clothes they wear or toys they play with?! I’ve been met with the opinion of “taking this gender neutral business too far!” when a couple of friends saw that a little boy was ALLOWED by his parents to wear a dress in public. Why IS that though? Is because you are bringing up your kids to laugh at kids with different taste to theirs? No? What are the genuine fears they have of kids dressing how they want, based on?

So until any kids feels safe walking down the street with their friends wearing WHATEVER they want, then nope. The conversation about gender neutrality hasn’t gone far enough.
Cuddle Fairy

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