Gender specified clothing is inherently segregative. So how ironic that when John Lewis announced that they will be removing 'Girls' and 'Boys' labels from childrenswear, suddenly the country became divided instead.
Stipulating what is appropriate to wear according to your sex is the 'norm'. It's been that way for one hell of a long time, too. After generations of kids being herded into a gender mould, John Lewis has become the first British store to let them choose whatever they like for themselves.
The glimpses we have been granted into the newest range of childrenswear at the department store present colourful, fun and crisp modern designs suitable for all. This initiative to move past gender confinement and towards individual expression has earned the praise of many parents and individuals across the UK who have taken to social media platforms to express their joy.
Campaign groups such as Let Clothes Be Clothes said: "It's fantastic news and we hope other shops and online retailers will now move in the same direction."
Let Toys be Toys added: "To us, this is a simple common sense move."
Just one scroll through Twitter and it's evident that a large proportion of the general public seem hopeful and positive about the changes. London Pride recently praised the news and hundreds of everyday users have also all publicly congratulated the store for listening to the voices raising questions about systematic gender roles.
Others have gushed over the collection itself, particularly the dress scattered with pastel dinosaur animations at the forefront of the campaign. Because so many of us grew up when dresses weren't available in dino print and probably still want one.
Despite receiving much widespread praise, John Lewis has also been faced with angry customers. Social conservatives everywhere have been blowing their lid over the changes, provoking the question to how the notion of boys wearing pink and girls playing with space ship toys could be so divisive?
Piers Morgan was (of course) one of those grossly offended by the prospect of genderless children's clothing. Kicking off the backlash, he declares that "Britain is officially going bonkers" to the dismal tune of 9,200 retweets and 22,000 favourites. Sigh.
Michael Heaver also slammed John Lewis and their new approach to childrenswear as (and I quote!) "extremely creepy". Allison Pearson advised the department store to "quit getting down with the kids" in a muddled Telegraph opinion piece where she confusedly seems to draw a direct parallel between gender-neutrality and transgenderism.
Unfortunately for this opposition however, this is a conversation that will only keep growing as children get the chance to decide what they like for themselves.
With a well-respected department store such as John Lewis shedding gendered labels and slogans, the nation is a step closer to a wider spread integration of a more gender neutral approach to children's 'suitable' interests.
The collection will include spaceships, toy soldiers and, of course, dinosaurs. The only missing component seems to be the incorporation of items that would usually be considered 'girly' or pink, for both boys and girls to enjoy. Maybe when we get that, the children of Generation Z can hop aboard our Millennial pink trend and keep it alive ∼ forever ∼.
For now, though, all that's left to say is good job to John Lewis for being the first to recognise how important it is to let children have the freedom to choose who they want to be for themselves.
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Originally posted on Wednesday 6th September 2017 on my personal blog Bleach.Suggest a correction