First steps into sexism

You know, this kind of thing really pisses me off. Daughter is now walking, so we went along to Clarks to get her some shoes. I like Clarks products and I generally find their staff competent and helpful. But while browsing the racks of first shoes for boys (uniformly blue/brown, dinosaur motif) and girls (uniformly pink/purple, flower motif), what do I see but this:

In case it isn’t clear, the text under the boys’ shoes says ‘For every wobbly step’ while that under the girls’ shoes says ‘For every gorgeous outfit’.

That’s right, girls. Your shoes aren’t for walking. Silly girls!
I read those two apparently innocuous sentences, and then I looked at my one year old daughter toddling proudly around the shop floor, trying to climb on the seats, investigating other people’s buggies and generally being her forthright self, and I thought how dare you? Anyone who has watched a baby master the art of bipedal movement knows how amazing it is to see the focus and determination shine out of such an apparently soft and helpless thing. How dare you, marketing drones of Clarks, suggest that my daughter’s shoes are not to form part of the celebration of movement, when she has dragged, rolled, stumbled, crawled, bumped and cruised her way to independence?

And then I just felt depressed, because if this is the message that pertains to her at 1yo, how much more sexist shite is she going to have to wade through in her life?

Craven that I am, I still bought the shoes. They fit well and keep her soles safe and are mostly not pink. But I’ll be writing to head office about their marketing strategy, and I will be looking around for a decent supplier of children’s boots. After all, when wading through shite, cute maryjanes just don’t cut it.

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2 responses to “First steps into sexism

  1. It is indeed just beginning. My daughter is now 8. Somewhere between being clad in animal shirts and light up tennis shoes, she was supposed to become Lolita, according to retailers. Consequently we spend a lot time in boys’ departments. Good luck and nice post!

  2. As a mother of 3 girls I agree completely and hated having to buy the girls pale pink/white/sparkly shoes each season. Why couldn’t they offer up royal blues/pillarbox reds as bright as the boys choices?!

    Although I do fear dismissing every cute Mary-Jane is a tad harsh 😉

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