(ALLTHEMOMS.com) - The Twitter-universe recently exploded over a popular United Kingdom department’s store decision to remove “girls” and “boys” labeling on tags and signs in it’s children’s clothing section.
John Lewis department store’s controversial move was part of a new release of a gender-neutral clothing line for children called, ‘Boys and Girls’.
Britain is going officially bonkers. pic.twitter.com/tncRdoaejX— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 2, 2017
Why the decision?
We are absolutely thrilled by this announcement from John Lewis!
Alongside changes coming at Clarks Shoes, THIS... https://t.co/3mDf87A4vK— LetClothesBeClothes (@letclothesbe) September 2, 2017
In an email statement, the company said:
“We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes and instead want to provide greater choice.”
The National Center for Transgender defines gender-neutral as, “people whose gender is not exclusively male or female, including those who identify with a gender other than male or female, as more than one gender, or as no gender, identifying as a combination of genders or not identifying with either gender at all.”
Greater variety for kids
John Lewis's introduction of 'gender neutral' kids clothes is a worrying sign of the times. Expect mental health issues to rocket. pic.twitter.com/cP3ayQCwd7— Rob Howland (@HowlandRobin) September 2, 2017
Caroline Bettis, who heads up John Lewis’ children’s clothing division said the company does “not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our …collections.”
“Instead (we) want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
The company also launched a unisex baby and toddler clothing line along with the older children’s line.
A core reason John Lewis chose to make this decision was hearing from customers who said their daughters, “felt embarrassed to ask for a dinosaur shirt.”
But not everyone was ecstatic about John Lewis’ choice.
Boisterous chatter on Twitter
Some parents threatened to boycott the company, while others praised the decision.
John Lewis executives say they weren’t expecting the controversy because the clothing line at the center of the debate actually debuted in 2016. The decision to formally remove the tags/signs in stores is what’s new..
A spokesman for the company said, “We’re surprised by the reaction these changes have received this weekend because they were introduced over a year ago.”
This is not the first time a major retailer has backed away from gender-based merchandising. Target removed gender labels in several departments — including toys, bedding and entertainment — back in 2015.
That decision also caused an uproar.