Don’t gender-neutralise our kids

Sep 12, 2017 by

by Joanna Williams, spiked:

The more campaigners argue we should ‘let clothes be clothes,’ the more politicised children’s clothing becomes. Primark bargains and hand-me-downs from family and friends have, for some children, been replaced by wardrobes carefully crafted to reflect parental values. Once children’s clothes had to withstand playground dirt and a nightly scrubbing down; today they must work much harder signalling parental attitudes, particularly towards gender.

Unironically dress your daughter in a pink sparkly dress and your son in a blue ‘tiny terror’ t-shirt? You may as well carry a banner publicly declaring your Daily Mail-reading, Brexit-backing tendencies. The children of today’s new-left elite wear dinosaur prints, bright colours and dungarees – all strictly gender-neutral. Dresses are great on boys who are thinking of transitioning but still going through a genderfluid phase, but less so on girls. Shops like Clarks that label girls’ shoes ‘dolly babe’ and boys’ shoes ‘leader’ are ridiculed and shunned.

Until recently, school uniform was immune to parental taste. A great leveller, uniform eroded the distinctions of social class performed through fashion. No longer. Today, an increasing number of schools have introduced gender-neutral school uniforms. Now, parents used to signalling their opposition to sexist stereotypes through their children’s clothes don’t need to stop at the schoolgate. Praise for John Lewis’s decision to label all its children’s clothes as ‘for boys and girls’ was closely followed last week by news that an East Sussex school has ordered all pupils to wear trousers as part of the new gender-neutral school uniform.

What children wear to school is now considered a matter for lawyers. Parents of a Kent teenager hired a solicitor to argue that under the Equalities Act 2010, their chosen school must recognise that their son wanted to be known as Lily and ‘treated as a female student’. In response, more schools, fearing litigation, are now bringing in a gender-neutral uniform policy.

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