Mini feminist victory for Pink Stinks!

// 31 March 2010

Well done to the Pink Stinks! campaigners for persuading Sainsbury’s to stop the gendered labelling of their kids dressing up clothes. Doctors’ outfits are currently labelled specifically for boys, while nurses’ uniforms are for girls. Pilots, superheros and soldier kits were labelled “boy”.

Sainsbury’s customer director, Gwyn Burr, told Pinkstinks: “It isn’t acceptable to suggest certain professions are the reserve of any gender. This is an error and one I am seeking to address ASAP. The new labels which will be non-gender specific will go on the next allocation of clothing, so will be in store from July.”

Aside from the gender stereotyping, I’d suggest soldier outfits are inappropriate for children fullstop, but the marketing of warfare to kids – from toys to Army careers officers in schools – and the cultural glamorisation of imperialist murder is another issue.

Comments From You

Sarah // Posted 31 March 2010 at 4:32 pm

I remember seeing this in my local branch! The girl options also included ‘beautician’

I’m about to start med school, where the majority of entrants are female.

Fiona // Posted 31 March 2010 at 4:50 pm

Thank you. I complained about this to Sainsbury’s months ago. My 3 year old gets quite ratty with me when I suggest that girls are doctors – she insists they are nurses. I am laughed at by friends and family when I make these kinds of observations but who cares when you know you are right – they eventually see my side ;~)

FertileFem // Posted 31 March 2010 at 6:41 pm

Hooray! Well done to Pink Stinks. That’s a great victory. Now to address Tesco, Asda, Argos, et al..One thing at a time though, eh!

I’ve been getting it left and right this week in planning a superheroes party for my daughter. Every time I go into the party shop looking for items I get asked ‘Age? Boy or girl?’ and then shown the pink, princess things when I say ‘Girl, 4’. Or they assume I’m buying for a boy when I’m looking at the Superman or Batman items (no female superheroes, of course) and ask how old ‘he’ll’ be. Irritating.

Elmo // Posted 1 April 2010 at 9:37 am

Thats great well done :)

I saw my neighbours young son running around outside with a handbag yesterday, and some times he puts on her high heels. And a batman costume. She never stops him :)

Sue Gilbert // Posted 1 April 2010 at 10:14 am

Well done to Pink Stinks, and to Fertile Fem – every little girl deserves a superhero party! There are some ways around this stereotyping with smaller children. Elmo’s neighbour has got it about right, it sounds like their family has a ‘dressing up box’. It doesn’t have to be filled with tat from supermarkets either. Use some of your own family’s cast offs and buy interesting things from charity shops. Encourage them to invent their own super-heroes – an imitation army helmet gains a whole new look on any four year old when teamed with a sequinned bolero! It does get harder as they get older.

Anne Onne // Posted 2 April 2010 at 7:53 pm

YAY I can’t believe this was still the case! Well, I can, but it is still very disappointing. Good work, PinkStinks!

Horry // Posted 30 April 2010 at 11:32 pm

I emailed Sainsbury’s about this too a while ago. Then yesterday I was sitting with my sons having a treat in the café in the very store where I’d spotted the outfits, and a member of staff mentioned what a lovely little girl I had. When I said this was my youngest son, she asked me why I had dressed him in a pink bib and I ended up mumbling something along the lines of “I don’t know, it’s just a colour”, yet also feeling a bit ashamed, as though I shouldn’t have dared offend the nice friendly lady’s idea of gender propriety. It’s only later I started thinking how wrong it was of her to make that comment in front of my children, needlessly reinforcing the damaging, limiting value systems which are all around them anyhow.

Oh well. Just wasted part of this evening emailing Early Learning Centre about the “search by gender” function in their online store. Good to know that when you just can’t muster up the energy to be sexist, someone’s there to supply a drop-down menu which does it for you.

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