Did you see the fabulous article in the Metro the other week with our lovely customer Shannon? It was all about why she and Jon choose to allow their son, Logan, to wear whatever he pleases, regardless of whether those are traditionally seen as 'boys' or 'girls' clothing. Needless to say there's heaps of photos of bright Beeboobuzz clothing in there, which we love!
While the article has gathered praise in some quarters, needless to say there has been some 'outrage' in others. In particular on the Daily Mail website, where the article was also published, but I'm choosing not to link to it.
Last week there was also a short clip on the BBC about a couple who have chosen not to tell anyone the sex of their child, preferring to use gender neutral pronouns they/ them instead. Their decision was based on wanting to avoid people's unconscious bias and stereotyping and they make it clear it's not about denying the child's sex.
Note the caption here, 'Charlie wears both boys' and girls' clothing'. Or as we call it 'clothing'!
So what's all the fuss about? As a clothing company that makes unisex children's clothing, clearly it makes perfect sense to me. Clothes are simply clothes. As adults we choose to wear what we like in terms of clothing and colours, although there are societal norms. But remember these have changed over time.
It's fairly common knowledge that blue used to be for girls and pink for boys, but now it's the opposite. At one time it would have been outrageous for a woman to wear trousers or show any ankle. I also remembered the media scrum when David Beckham was photographed wearing a sarong. But men wear skirts and dresses in many situations and cultures - a priest in a frock?
The faux outrage seems to be the assumption that the parents are trying to deny, or worse change, a child's gender. In reality, the opposite is true. Gender-neutral parenting is simply about trying to reduce the influence of unconscious bias and stereotyping on our children in the hopes that it will allow them to grow up being themselves, rather than to fit within society's narrow, and often damaging, gender-norms.
Have you taken any steps to reduce the effect of stereotypes on your child? Or do you think it's not a problem?
I’m not personally “ready” to go the full gender neutral route like Charlie’s parents but it also doesn’t bother me if people do. As long as the child’s interests remain the prime focus. I’ve chosen gender neutral clothing for my daughter because I want to be able to hand down clothing to any future siblings regardless of sex. Also because I dislike the dammaging messages on highstreet tee-shirts that perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes. Also because I dislike the overly pinkness of it. And finally because I dislike clothing that’s made without consideration of the baby’s comfort (skinny leggings) or abilities (skirts when crawling).