As my friend CJ would say, it’s “very pleasing” to see that PinkStinks’s campaign against supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has been successful; thousands of children’s dressing-up outfits have now been cleared from shelves after complaints (via a PinkStinks co-ordinated campaign) that they promote sexist stereotypes.
As reported here in the Daily Telegraph, Sainsbury’s (“Try something new today!” – indeed …) were merrily selling nurses’ outfits “for girls” and doctors’ kits labelled “for boys”, along with pilot and “superhero” costumes – but these have now been removed and will be replaced with a new range of gender neutral dressing up outfits.
Nice work, PinkStinks – and a great testimony to the strength of their pester power social media campaign (which I joined even though I don’t have children myself, let alone daughters or even nieces).
Whenever I hear stories like this, or read about manufacturers and retailers unwittingly promoting gender and/or inappropriate messaging and stereotypes (wasn’t it Woolworths – RIP – who hit the headlines a few years ago for launching a range of pink painted bedroom furniture aimed at little girls named the “Lolita”?), I remind myself of a small boy called John and how invidious and impactful gender images can be.
John is the son of a female friend who works as a GP; she is evidently from a very smart family, because her sister is also a doctor. One day, returning home from a visit to his aunt’s house, where my friend and her sister had been talking medical shop, John, then aged five, asked his mother:
“Mummy – when I grow up, can I become a doctor too, or is it only ladies who are allowed to do that?”