For years, fashion industries have been trying to tell us what we should and should not wear. Hence, when the fashion industry decides it must market clothes that are PC, it stands to reason that the masses have no choice but to follow suit and dress accordingly.
Such a scenario has most recently been on display in the arena of kids’ clothes. According to the Independent, British retailer John Lewis announced that it will be abolishing gender labels on its children’s clothing:
“The clothing style hasn’t changed – you’ll still find floral dresses and skirts, but the retailer is simply proving the point that they can be worn by both girls and boys.
They’ve also launched a new unisex clothing line for children, featuring dinosaur print dresses and spaceship tops.”
Not to be outdone, Clarks shoe company joined the fray. It announced that it will be switching to a completely gender neutral shoe collection for its young customers.
Such moves are undoubtedly in line with new ideas that gender is fluid and not necessarily dictated by the sex one was designated with at birth. Thus, it seems plausible to decree that gender neutral clothes are the new normal in order to not give offense to those who may exhibit confusion over whether they are a boy or girl.
But have you ever noticed that the rush toward gender neutral clothing for the vast majority of the population seems to be a bit at odds with transgenderism?
Consider, for instance, the fact that transgender activists often thumb their nose at gender neutral clothing, and instead encourage transgender children to embrace the “girly” or “manly” clothes of their new gender. Positive portrayals of transgender children depict parents who take their child out to buy a frilly skirt or put on makeup.
The question is, why do we seriously embrace the idea of gender neutral shoes and clothing for the vast numbers of straight children, but at the same time encourage transgender children to run wholeheartedly toward clothing stereotypes for their chosen gender?
The answer to this question might be found in Jeanette Kupfermann’s Daily Mail commentary on the John Lewis gender neutral clothing decision. Kupfermann, a self-proclaimed feminist, declares that such a decision is an utterly ridiculous attempt that mistakes sameness for equality:
“To restrict the terms male and female — as gender-neutral campaigns do — may have the aim of broadening options, but in reality it has the opposite effect.
Every time we try to eliminate a ‘stereotypical’ quality in one sex, we’re actually diminishing it for both. Introducing gender-free clothing is like imposing the Mao suit on everyone (and of course the Chinese eventually reverted too to male and female clothing).”
She goes on to say that gender differences in clothing encourage a sense of “belonging” to a group, a condition which is good and healthy for all individuals to have.
If such is the case, then we must ask ourselves why it is okay to advance this sense of belonging to transgender children by encouraging them to indulge in the clothes of their chosen gender, but not to the millions of children who identify as straight. Are we allowing our innocent children to be subjected to an unjust double standard?
[Image Credit: Flickr-TheeErin (CC BY-SA 2.0)]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.