MONTREAL – What do you do when you’re shopping for your daughters and everything on the rack is pink and glittery? Or you’re shopping for your son and everything pushes them towards being a “real and masculine” boy?
One group of American mothers, tired of their limited clothing options, said ‘enough is enough’ and decided to take things into their own hands.
“We are all Mums who independently were inspired by our children and set out to create better clothing options for them,” said Jo Hadley of Handsome in Pink.
“Clothes that truly empower them and speak to who they really are and what they really love.”
The 10 women had already started individual companies to tackle gender clichés.
Upon meeting each other, they decided to join forces and create the #ClothesWithoutLimits campaign.
“Along the way we found each other, mentored each other, bought each other’s clothes and ultimately started talking about how we could amplify the message of our shared mission,” Courtney Hartman, Owner and Designer of Jessy & Jack and Free To Be Kids, told Global News.
#ClothesWithoutLimits aims at empowering children and helping them break free of gender stereotypes.
“Many people hold on tightly to an outdated set of beliefs about girls and discount anything that defies those beliefs as ‘an exception to the rule,'” said Gina Dobson, Founder of Sunrise Girl.
“Even when they see girls playing competitive sports, excelling in math and science, or otherwise defying old-fashioned, gender-based stereotypes.”
So, how is #ClothesWithoutLimits fighting gender stereotypes?
Jenn Neilson, of Jill and Jack Kids, explained the first step is to encourage children to develop a strong sense of self.
That way, kids can choose toys, clothes, book and more based on what they are truly interested in – and not what society dictates is meant for them.
“Clothing is an extension of our personalities revealing specific characteristics about who we are and, inevitably, judgements are made based on those choices,” said Michele Yulo of Princess Free Zone and Suit Her.
“For better or worse, clothing and accessories play a huge part in our daily lives.”
As with many campaigns, the mothers agree that there’s still a very long way to go.
“What is considered appropriate for each gender is clearly defined and widely accepted,” Martine Zoer, Owner at Quirkie Kids, told Global News.
“Liking something that is considered for the other gender is frowned upon.”
Zoer pointed out that not only are children told what they should like, but they are told what they shouldn’t.
“There are lots of ways to be a girl and lots of ways to be a boy,” she insisted.
The group told Global News they hope to one day be able to walk into a clothing store and see shirts, pants and even shoes that don’t box children in to categories.
Neilson sums up their misson this way: “When it is no longer noteworthy for boys and men to play nurturing roles and be in touch with their emotions, and for girls and women to build, research and lead.”
“[When] these options can be freely chosen without negative consequences for the lives or careers of those who choose them, we will have succeeded.”