Richard Osmond, 30, from Hertfordshire, tweeted a photo of two sets of tops, which compared a boys’ “high flyer” top to a girls’ set with the slogan “adorable” on the front.
“At Asda the baby clothes aisle has a boy side and a girl side,” Osmond tweeted on 14 January. “Here’s a sample from each, because boys achieve great things for themselves and girls are sexy mice.”
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Osmond, who has an eight-week-old daughter, said: “The tops I showed weren’t just perpetuating a stereotype... they were almost acknowledging the stereotype and intentionally revelling in it, in a really self-aware way.
“The boy shirt wasn’t just reinforcing the stereotype of the energetic adventurous boy - it was literally making claims about that boy’s future life and career.”
Osmond said he received many comments criticising him for calling out the clothes, with people arguing that not all clothes need to be gender neutral.
“People have been saying that I want to dress all kids in grey jumpsuits, or prohibit people from calling their daughters adorable, or deny people the right to dress boys and girls differently, but I don’t,” he explained.
“All I would want is that particular types of value aren’t limited to one gender or the other.
“If you want your daughter to be all pink all the time, fine, but the problem is all these pink girls’ clothes reinforce a culture in which girls are not pushed to achieve anything except prettiness, adorableness and passive loved-ness.”
Osmond said he doesn’t think the problem is the fact that if a child wears a top that says “adorable” rather than “future high flyers”, their life course is going to be changed.
Rather he believes the tops are indicators of a culture in general, “an expression of problems which are much wider than Asda,” he added. “But I’d like to inspire those people to see that they can break the negative stereotype without taking away cute adorableness from their daughters.”
In response to the complaint, an Asda spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We offer a wide range of children’s clothing. Our intention is to make clothes people love, never to offend”.