This wasn’t how I was going to write this blog post. I was going to talk about the latest John Lewis Christmas advert, and how if you watch carefully there’s a shot of the small child running around in a really cute Gruffalo costime. About how when I was doing my Christmas shopping in John Lewis I had a look at the children’s costumes section and there was just one of those costumes left, in the perfect size for the geekdaughter. About how it was clearly fated that I buy it, and so I did. And about how much she loves it, and how she’s worn it pretty much all the time since Christmas day.
However, this is not that blog post. It is instead a bit of a rant about clothes labelling.
Because I went to the John Lewis website to find the product details page for the costume so I could link to it. And what did I find? The costume is sitting in the “Gifts for boys” section…
Why on earth should a Gruffalo costume be categorised as a gift for a boy? There are girl Gruffalos too you know (or else how else could they have had a child!?). And rather ironically in the John Lewis Christmas advert it’s the little sister who’s wearing the costume. So why oh why does it have to be categorised as a boy’s costume? Is it really so bad to call something “unisex” these days?
I had the same experience buying a new dressing gown for the geekdaughter. Her favourite colour is red, and so when I saw the lovely plain red, soft dressing gown I grabbed it without hesitation. It was only later when I got it home that I saw the label said “John Lewis boys” (I think it’s the same one that the little boy wears towards the end of the advert.). Again, it’s a plain dressing gown, does it really have to be labelled “boy”?
She still wears (and loves) her Thomas the Tank Engine T-Shirt (from the boys section in M&Co), and I’ve already blogged about her fabulous elf pyjamas from the boys section in Next… So this is not unique to John Lewis in any way. And let’s not forget the time that I bought her boys Pull-Ups because quite frankly she prefers Toy Story characters to Disney Princesses!
My daughter has already started asking me about whether things are “girl things” or “boy things”, to which I try to encourage her not to think like that. I’d like her to grow up without any preconceptions like that, although if she’s constantly being hit with the message that little girls things are all pink and flowery, how long will it take before she starts believing it? I know one thing – I’ll carry on buying her stuff like the Gruffalo costume as often as I can.