As students return to school after the long summer, it's hard not to shop for back-to-school clothing only to be bombarded by gender typecasts in the children's clothing departments. If your daughter has ever felt frustrated by the mostly pink fluffy unicorn or kitten dresses in the girls' section, or asked why dinosaur and space-themed print clothing are only in the boys' section, she's not alone.
A group of moms tired over the cliché of "girly clothing" is fighting back by launching the #ClothesWithoutLimits campaign to widen the definition of what it means to dress like a girl.
Sponsored by 10 rising "mom-preneur" businesses who make gender-neutral clothing, the campaign wants to raise awareness about clothing for children is largely restricted to gender stereotypes and how those narrow options can have a greater effect.
#ClothesWithoutLimits wants girls and boys to be able to express their broad interests through their outfits ...
Because science and prehistoric creatures are subjects that appeal to girls, too.
"When a girl walks into a store to do her back to school shopping, she's excited and wants to find things that will show the world a little bit about who she is and what she likes," said Sharon Choksi of Girls Will Be, one of the participating businesses, in the campaign press release.
"Unfortunately, many girls struggle to do that because the options at mainstream retailers are very limited. We want to help girls head back into their classrooms with confidence this fall, wearing clothes that better reflect their personalities, interests and abilities."
Children pick up on external cues on gender norms and having girls' clothing be limited to cute, fluffy things and boys' to trains and robots can have a dire impact on what they think they "should" like.
There is a huge gender disparity in science and math fields across the world, and studies have pointed to that having to be addressed in school, where it largely begins.
At that young of an age, children are subjected to unconscious gender biases from their peers — and even from unwitting adults: parents, toy makers, even their own teachers. #ClothesWithoutLimits aims at changing the game on the fashion front.
"Little girls pick up on messages in the clothing department," said Malorie Catchpole of buddingSTEM, another participating business."When girls don't see dinosaurs, space and other science themes on their clothing, it tells them that things like science and engineering aren't for them."