People everywhere are protesting gender stereotypes, as they can be alienating to children who do not fit perfectly inside the molds they create. Recently, a New Jersey mom composed a letter to Lands’ End, a clothing company that unfairly suggested only boys are interested in science. The boys’ section of their catalog features t-shirts with science-based images, such as realistic diagrams of dinosaurs and sharks and the words “NASA Crew,” while the girls’ section features primarily sparkles, rhinestones, and the color pink. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the elements of the girls’ section, but to suggest that they could only be interested in things that are frilly and cute is completely off-base. This is what inspired Lisa Ryder’s letter, posted in its entirety on the Lands’ End Facebook page.
Part of her letter reads:
My daughter was very confused. Lots of her friends that are girls love science, too. Why were there no cool science shirts for girls?
So, Lands’ End corporate, how should I respond to my daughter’s question? In 2014, why are you selling “mighty” tees for boys and “adorable” tees for girls? (Descriptions taken straight from your marketing copy.)
My daughter is mighty and she loves science. And until you recognize that it’s not only boys that can fit that description, I’m afraid our family will no longer be shopping in your stores.
Ultimately, children should be able to choose their own interests, not be forced to follow an outdated, ill-fitting script. Ryder suggests that their children’s clothing should be put into one section of the catalog, not divided between a boys’ and girls’ sections, as at this stage, their bodies are not that different.
What do you think about Ryder’s response to the company? Is it a worthy criticism of the reinforcement of gender stereotypes? Respond below!