Any mom of girls knows the problems with the clothing options available for them at many retailers: jeans so skinny-legged they can’t bend their knees to climb at the playground, pants without functional pockets for all the goodies that kiddos like to carry around, and a sea of pink and purple options as if the rest of the rainbow doesn’t exist. And now frustrated shoppers have pointed out another infuriating difference between the clothing options for boys and girls: the gendered messaging printed right on the T-shirt choices.
One annoyed Australian Kmart customer posted her complaints on Facebook while another took to TikTok to complain about the gender stereotyping in Kmart’s current collection of children’s clothing, according to 7NEWS.com.au. The shoppers take issue with the fact that the boys T-shirts have slogans of “Adventure” and “Alpine Trails,” while the girls shirts are printed with “Take it easy,” “A whole lotta love,” and “Bright as can be.”
The concerned mother on TikTok wondered why clothing makers are telling young girls “how to feel” with the slogans:
“Why are we telling girls how to feel via their clothing? They see each other’s shirts telling them how to act — be happy, love, be perfect,” @Letsgoaussie said. “These (boys) shirts encourage boldness, adventure, fun. There’s no shirts telling them how they should feel or behave.”
While these complaints are about Kmart Australia, a quick search of girls and boys clothing available via Kmart.com in the United States tell a similar story of gendered options. And that is certainly not the only retailer selling such messages.
The new social media complaints come two months after an online petition calling for Kmart Australia to stop classifying children’s clothing by gender and to offer just one kids’ clothing section.
“Young children are told which colors, clothing styles and even interests they are permitted to have through the choices they have available in their respective gender’s clothing department,” the petition reads.
In response to the petition, a Kmart spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au at the time that the store embraces inclusion and diversity.
“At Kmart, we are proud to offer customers a wide range of children’s clothing in lots of different styles and it’s certainly not our intention to stereotype children based on gender,” the spokesperson said. “The store layout reflects a majority of the way our Kmart customers shop and the difference between our boys and girls apparel range (in terms of fit) is marginal, so all customers have the opportunity to shop both areas for children. Additionally, we celebrate inclusion and diversity within our marketing campaigns, product packaging and online.”
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