His sentiments have been echoed by countless people, among them Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who said: “I have no idea what would possess John Lewis to do this. Boys and girls labels and signs are informative. I think removing them could be very confusing for the consumer. It appears political correctness continues to march and, whether it is going in the right direction, is a point for debate.”
The argument about whether this move signifies a trend towards inclusion or whether it’s pandering to upper-middle-class elitism raged on Twitter.
@johnlewisretail Shame on you John Lewis for bowing down to Political Correctness over a childs sex, there are only two MALE OR FEMALE.— lorraine (@lorrainewatmou1) September 2, 2017
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
Is John Lewis now really selling genderless children's clothing!! Who is coming up with this rubbish!!— Cliff Hagen (@tweethead) September 6, 2017
@johnlewisretail thanks, John Lewis, for eliminating silly distinctions btwn "boyswear" and "girls wear." this mama appreciates it!— Sheyda Jahanbani (@ProfessorSheyda) September 6, 2017
If you or your child's gender identity is reliant on John Lewis labelling policy, maybe it was never that fixed to begin with... 🤔— Gary Barratt (@garybarratt) September 6, 2017
#johnlewis is daring to label kids simply as kids - I'm so on this I might just have a kid to shop there (just kidding mom)— Lauren (@laurendkeefer) September 6, 2017
The retailer’s decision to do away with gender binary labelling comes on the heels of a controversy surrounding Clarks shoes. Last month, the footwear giant pulled a girls’ Mary Jane style shoe called “Dolly Babe” from the collection in the wake of accusations of sexism. The main issue plaguing the company was that the corresponding boys’ version of the “Dolly Babe” was named “Leader.”
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, called it “almost beyond belief” in a tweet, while Carolyn Harris, a shadow minister for women and equalities, described it as “blatant discrimination.”
Clarks responded to the outpouring of criticism by saying: “We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender neutral ethos. We apologise for any unintended offence caused.”
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