Tackling the gender gap for our children.
Children aren't all the same
Buying clothing for children is easy right? you head to the gender-specific area in the store and choose an item. But as my children are getting older, my frustration at the gender split is increasing. Whether its toys or clothes etc I always struggle to buy for them.
I have two daughters and a son. They could not be any more different. Izzie loves gaming, harry potter, history and science. Eva loves princesses, unicorns, puppies and everything pink. Teddy is car crazy and loves animals.
Learning to shop for our girls
We always struggle to shop for Izzie. We searched for over an hour, trying to find something she would like in the girls' section. We found nothing, every single item looked like a bubblegum explosion. We headed to the boys' section and there was everything we had been looking for. Harry Potter and Minecraft everywhere. Since when are these for boys only?. All boys clothing had quotes like 'i'm a little superhero' & 'I am legendary, epic, awesome, genius'. Whilst the girls' clothes said 'I'm a princess' & 'cutie pie'. I'm pretty sure women like Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie fit into the epic, awesome, genius category. Girls are superheroes too! It's not only clothes that are an issue. I was looking for harry potter Lego sets and I couldn't work out where they were. I finally found them yet again down the boys' aisle. Alongside other Potter merchandise, Minecraft toys, science sets the list goes on. The girls' aisle was full of pink boxes, dolls, makeup. No science sets at all. since when are girls not into these things too? should I not buy them for her because it doesn't come in pink packaging?
Shopping for our son can be as difficult, Boys sections are very often tiny compared to girls. Our local supermarket has a huge clothing department. They have around 3 isles all dedicated to girls clothing. In comparison, the boys have 1.
Why are the boys so limited in what they have?. All boys toys are of course packed in blue and grey, usually cars, trains and trucks. Which is fine for my son as he loves cars. Yet not all boys would agree, I know a little boy who loves Peppa pig. Finding any clothing that is Peppa related in the boys' aisle is going to cause you a lot of stress. Then you have the option of looking down the girls' aisle for Peppa, but of course, it's going to be bright pink. It would be nice to have an actual choice of other colours. I am so sick of buying everything in such a limited colour palette.
Horrible histories are for girls too right?
Izzie worked so hard the last few weeks, as her teacher was running a competition. Whoever was the student of the week would win a magazine. If you have children you know how exciting magazines are. Finally, Izzie came proudly out of school, magazine in hand and shouting "I did it! I did it!" but she turns to me and explains there was in fact 2 magazines available. one was Disney princess, the other was horrible histories. When her teacher told her that she had won she requested to take the horrible histories magazine home. The teacher said to her "no, this is a boys magazine, you're a girl so take the princess one." I understand that perhaps the teacher made this purchase with her own money. And bought two, one in case a boy won and one in case a girl won. But telling my daughter that the reason she can't have that one is because she is a girl, is wrong in my opinion. Izzie came home and quite upset saying, "horrible histories are for girls too aren't they?" I never want her to question herself like this again. I am very proud that she has such an interest in history and it upsets me that she was told its not for girls.
Encouraging them to be who they want
We were walking behind a little boy also walking to school, he was pushing a buggy with a baby doll. I heard another parent question the mother "why are you letting him push a buggy around?" The mother looked shocked. Then replied, "Boys can be great parents too, why is this not OK?." I wanted to cheer her on and give her a hug for standing up for her son. The way I am raising my children means they will know they don't have to fit into this box. I don't want them to grow up thinking they must like certain things to be a girl or a boy. I will continue to shop for what they love, not shop by the gender-separated sections. Next time I'm going shopping I will be sure to pick up the horrible history magazine. She deserves to receive the prize she had her eyes on from the start.
How would we fix the separation?
I feel that girls and boys items don't need to be split apart in stores. They can be merged and it would still work perfectly. Here is how I suggest we make a change
More colour options for a start, I am so sick of pink and blue. You have a whole rainbow of choice, make it fun!
Hanging all clothing in rainbow order Regardless of gender. Or grouping them by category. This will not only make it very pleasing to look at, but it would mean it wouldn't matter which gender you are buying for. You want a minecraft t-shirt, Great here they are in one section.
Toys can be grouped by category or brand. And those coloured boxes, pink and blue, have to go.
What do you think about the very specific gender split? Would like like to see more colour variations or are you happy with the pink and blue? Leave a comment here or on Instagram and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
@mummynumber7 - "I quite often buy boys clothes for my daughter, because I love the designs. Most girls stuff is pink."
@mama_eve_dada - "when my daughter goes to pick a toy its always out of the boys' section. It's usually a car or a train, are girls not allowed to play with them?."
@charlyannlouise - "I was never a girly girl growing up, I was into toy cars and harry potter. The things meant for boys. I would always be bought pretty dresses which I didn't like. I remember going shopping to choose a book. I wanted the horrible histories one funnily enough. Yet I was told to put it back and handed the princess fairy book instead. The book was later re-gifted as I never read it."
"If my son wants to wear pink I will let him do so, and if he wants a doll and pram I will get him one."
@mamarara1204 - "Girls can like cars and dinosaurs too!."
@bb_me_lotsoftea - "There aren't as much paw patrol items in the girls' area. I end up buying my daughters clothes in the boys' area. How is paw patrol for boys only? Like my nephew, he loves shimmer and shine but there is NOTHING in the boys' section for him."
@unfiltered_mumma - "My daughter loves being a typical girly girl. Frilly dresses, playing with hair and unicorns. But she also loves playing football, police officers and superheroes."
"I went shopping for a baby hat, boys on one side has loads of blue hats with teddy ears. On the girls' side, they had hairbands. They don't even serve the same function!."
@merlotandmilk - "I'm fed up of the boys' section being the smallest department in any shop. Apparently, boys only wear blue, green and grey. as a mum of boys is pisses me off."