So I popped into Mothercare today and can you guess the slogans for the clothes?

(61 Posts)
kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:53:46

Boys clothes...for your little monkeys

Girls clothes ...Give us a twirl, all in this season's colours (as long as it's pink)

Just saying like.

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 12:57:23

Oh dear.

Little boys are naughty and we love them for it.

Little girls enjoy fashion. Isn't that nice?


UptoapointLordCopper Tue 03-Sep-13 19:11:45

I have heard it said, in RL, to a little girl, that she was not to be naughty because she's a girl. << faints >>

Is Mothercare still around? I thought it's gone belly up ages ago...

RubyrooUK Tue 03-Sep-13 19:24:35

Nice to see the CEO really listened to that Mumsnet web chat. Ahem. wink

heidihole Thu 05-Sep-13 09:55:30

Boy : " smile if you think I'm cheeky"

I despair.

gaggiagirl Thu 05-Sep-13 10:01:53

FFS mothercare, no no no no no no.

Pachacuti Thu 05-Sep-13 10:05:34

The odd thing is that (in spite of its reputation) Mothercare's always had a lot of stuff that isn't pink for girls. If you go to one of their smaller stores then they seem to only stock the pink bit of the range, but the large Mothercares have a wider selection (for example, looking online there are 28 dresses in this season's range and only six of those are pink -- ratios are similar or better in other clothing items). So they are actually going out of their way to push the "pink girly girl" message even though that's not what they sell . Somewhere there is a massive disconnect between their designers and their marketing people.

rainbowfeet Thu 05-Sep-13 10:06:16

None of the above would offend me... If you don't like them don't buy them!!!

I will not be judged for wanting my ds to look like a boy in traditional boys colours & the odd slogan top if it appeals & for my dd to look girlie if she chooses & at age 10, she still does. My kids, my money!! shock

TheBookofRuth Thu 05-Sep-13 10:12:02

In the park the other day I heard a mother tell her little girl not to play with sticks "because you're not a boy!"

A little boy came up to my DD the other week and pushed her over - his parents just shrugged and said "he's such a boy!"

And in a catalogue for a children's company the other day they were advertising the "girls" room as "fit for a princess" and the "boys" room as "perfect for your little explorers." Because heaven forbid we should want our daughters to explore the world around them, eh? Far better they stay at and dream of the day their prince will come.

TheBookofRuth Thu 05-Sep-13 10:13:20

You will not be judged, eh Rainbowfeet? How exactly are you going to stop me?

Pachacuti Thu 05-Sep-13 10:14:57

I think the issue, rainbowfeet, is that those are (if I'm understanding the OP correctly) the banner headings that were given to the entire boys' and girls' sections of the store. So all boys' clothes were labelled "for your little monkeys" and all girls clothes were labelled "Give us a twirl, all in this season's colours (as long as it's pink)" . It's not about what you want your children to wear or how you spend your money, it's about how a major national retailer chooses to summarise the two genders.

By the way, pink is a "traditional boys colour". Its use for girls is of fairly recent origin.

rainbowfeet Thu 05-Sep-13 10:16:10

By laughing at such stupid threads!!..

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 05-Sep-13 10:16:55

Yes, they used to have lots of unisex/bright baby stuff when DS was a baby but those headings are indeed vile.

shrinkingnora Thu 05-Sep-13 10:20:32

FFS Kim, you do realise that if boys wear pink they catch gay? And girls grow willies if they wear boys clothes.

DuelingFanjo Thu 05-Sep-13 10:21:45

I avoid 'mummy's little monster' and 'cheeky monkey' stuff for my son. Hate it.

Pachacuti Thu 05-Sep-13 10:43:51

I don't judge you for wanting your ds to look like a boy in traditional boys colours and the odd slogan top if it appeals and for your dd to look girlie if she chooses.

I do judge you for your ability to spectacularly miss the point, to make a discussion all about you, and your failure to engage with other posters in a sensible manner.

OddBoots Thu 05-Sep-13 11:05:18

Just as I feel there is some progress (The Toys R Us news yesterday) it seems like a step backwards again.

rainbowfeet I don't judge anything your children wear, it's not about what individual children and parents choose, it's about how it is marketed and the culture that creates.

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:19:52

It was a lovely big slogan on both parts of the shop. TBF, most of the children who go in there to get their clothes probably can't read them.

chocoluvva Thu 05-Sep-13 12:56:07

I think the problem is that the slogans send out a message that it is normal and acceptable, or even desirable for boys to be cheeky and naughty. At best this seems unambitious or thoughtless - don't we ultimately want our boys to grow up into respectful adults? And why is it ok for boys to be naughty but not for girls? That doesn't seem fair.

And while it's fine for little girls to enjoy being interested in clothes, it's not fair to expect that of them, especially in our over-sexualised western culture in which girls are under enormous pressure to be seen to be sexually available.

I say this as someone who was very happy for my DD to wear pink. I like pink and it suits her but she doesn't need any encouragement to waste a lot of her valuable time on thinking about her appearance.

rainbowfeet Thu 05-Sep-13 14:06:29

Pachacuti you are rude!

I am not attempting to make it about me at all & I do get the point that some people feel it is stereotyping genders by stocking these clothes but hey there are other clothes out there alongside this type, I am simply saying I have always dressed my dc's in said traditional set colours & styles & can't see any problem in it! And I don't get why if they are not your choice you wouldn't just walk past them & forget about it rather than create a post about it.

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:12:30


But it's not just Mothercare. There's so many slogans and messages that companies give off all reinforcing the same stuff.

I suppose we could ignore all companies that say all this stuff and just carry on confused

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:13:07


It's not about the clothes. It's the slogans.

grimbletart Thu 05-Sep-13 14:18:29

rainbow feet: I don't think anyone is against individual choice. What irritates is the sheer volume of stereotyped pink/blue/camouflage stuff.

I'm a gran so have the experience of how things were when I was a child (multi coloured), how things were when my dcs were children (multi coloured) and now, especially for girls - eyes assaulted by a sea of pink (generally). Such a lack of real choice.

chocoluvva Thu 05-Sep-13 14:18:48

"it's about ... the culture that creates" - OddBoots

That's the problem in a nutshell.

grimbletart Thu 05-Sep-13 14:20:08

And yes, the slogans - get back in your delicate little boxes little girls before you become too uppity and do something interesting! grin

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:20:45

I wasn't looking at the clothes. Just the car seats. But it was the big slogans that made me think of FWR.

I think of FWR a lot now. And AIBU grin

Rooners Thu 05-Sep-13 14:22:47

I was in there this morning and didn't notice any of the slogans. I was too busy running about after my little monkey while wearing my fashionable shoes, probably...

shame on MC for this though. I like the women at mine, I like a lot of the stuff but they really ought to have learned by now.

5madthings Thu 05-Sep-13 14:24:30

Ffs I hate this shit.

And yes we can dress oiur kids in whatever we like, but this advertising and the slogans and the marketing affects our children, I don't want negative gender stereotyping being reinforced on children. In an age where equality is ouraim and progress is being made in the workforce etc it seems crazy that actually the gender stereotyping and reinforcement in childhood is getting g worse!

melliebobs Thu 05-Sep-13 14:26:04

Oh for crying out loud. So bloody what?! It's not as if there's a bloody restriction that stops you buying monkey boy clothes or whatever for your lil girl or a pink tutu for a boy. I don't get why there's always such an outcry about this kind of stuff.

Fantastic thing about living in Britain is we do actually have a choice on how we live our lives. If my dd wants matchbox cars she can have them. If she wants a doll that's fine too.

Why oh why does signage matter. You make your own choices regardless!

chocoluvva Thu 05-Sep-13 14:26:54

Wow grimbletart - I didn't realise the "sea of a pink" is a recent thing. How depressing.

Rooners Thu 05-Sep-13 14:31:09

Mellie it matters because it makes a lot of young kids think they can't do stuff they want to do.

I think that's important. It also reinforces the opinions of some of the older generation which are very stereotyped and sexist.

Clothes are not the issue so much in themselves but it is the knock on effect - it goes beyond this and into the realms of girl toys and boy toys, then girls' hobbies and boys' hobbies and then sport and then before you know it you're into school subjects territory, and jobs/careers.

It matters...not so much as true oppression matters but still, it matters and we ought to say something.

5madthings Thu 05-Sep-13 14:32:59

The sea of pink is recent, my eldest is 14 and it was not as bad when he was little.

And mellibobs the signage, the marketing and the advertising affects children, hence all the threads about parents worried their son likes 'x girly thing' and that he will get teased. Children soak it all up and form opinions on what is right, they categorise and see it as wrong if a child goes against a stereotype that have learnt. Its a big problem and its getting worse.

melliebobs Thu 05-Sep-13 14:46:04

Right fair point. But isn't it up to parents as well to say it's ok to like xyz. Or you don't have to wear or do abc if you don't want to?

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:47:43

melliebobs Of course it is, but you're fighting a lot of messages from different sources.

Telling them they can do what they want is fine - but that doesn't stop what their peers think and say.

melliebobs Thu 05-Sep-13 14:48:29

I'm obviously only taking a real simplistic view on this cos I just don't get why it's an issue. When I was at school I asked if I could wear trousers in winter and was the first girl to do so (and not the last) I played footie and had proper short cropped hair. No one questioned it. I was just being me. I just don't get how/why it's suddenly changed. I'm sure back then there was boys/girls stuff much as it is today

fuzzpig Thu 05-Sep-13 14:52:24

What odd boots said, it's not the individual choices (of course I could - and did - choose blue baby clothes for my DD) but the overwhelming stereotypes that put pressure on children.

devilinside Thu 05-Sep-13 14:53:30

It matters to me because my 8 year old DD said this:

Mummy, why do boys get called 'cool' for wearing blue, and girls get called 'babies' for wearing pink. (that's what happens in her school)

Because anything that is seen as feminine is there to be ridiculed

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 05-Sep-13 14:56:33

A selection of Mothercare t-shirts from the 18mo to 8 yr range

Boys: Born to be cool, Born to ride, happy little dude, redwood camping-boys only, laugh out loud, little strong man, boys will be boys, make some noise, funny happy awesome,

Girls: Born to be cute, born to sparkle, (plus: born to be a star- marginally less bad), pretty little flower, little cutie, cute cute cute cute, princess in training (supervom), I want to marry a prince (super-aspirational, that one)

WTAF??????? I cant tell you how depressed this makes me

MrsMarigold Thu 05-Sep-13 15:01:25

I have a policy of "no writing or obvious branding"on clothes, I don't mind pink but I mix it up and only buy plain clothes - people frequently ask if my DD is a boy.

Pachacuti Thu 05-Sep-13 15:10:05

Well, rainbowfeet, you told the OP that this was such a stupid thread that you were laughing at it; I don't think you're in a particularly good position to be telling me I'm rude for judging you for that. And you're blatantly making it about you -- you said you wanted to be able to spend your money on the clothes you liked for your children, which no one was suggesting for one moment that you shouldn't. It's about the relentless stereotyping of "boys are like this, girls are like that" all over the place.

It matters because my DD comes back from school telling me that she can only like "boys' stuff" if she is a tomboy, and that if she is a tomboy she can't like "girls' stuff". These aren't concepts she's learned at home. Left to her own devices she just likes some stuff and not other stuff, scattered among the gendered categories (I suspect most children are the same), but the message she's getting outside the home is that it's one or the other, that she can either be a proper girl or a tomboy.

melliebobs, there may well have been boys/girls stuff at something approaching the same level when you were young, but I'm older than you and it wasn't anything like it in my childhood. Lego was marketed at boys and girls equally; pink was just another colour (if I look back through pictures of my childhood very few girls are wearing any pink). Yes, there were Barbies (etc.) but there weren't vast aisles of "boys'" and "girls'" toys.

Today we are in a position where the proportion of computing A-levels taken by girls is going down significantly; half of the UK’s co-educational state schools send no girls at all to sit A-level physics; between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of technology jobs held by women declined from 22% to 17%. Maybe that's a coincidence; maybe it has nothing at all to do with the increased gender polarisation of childhood. But it's an interesting and suggestive correlation.

extracrunchy Thu 05-Sep-13 15:21:38

I also saw this the other day. It makes smoke come out of my ears. I mean what hope do we have?!?

DuelingFanjo Thu 05-Sep-13 15:25:41

I took my DS around the block with his pink pushchair this morning and he got a very odd 'look' from an elderly man. Pic on my profile. He is almost three and I KNOW as soon as he gets into school (If not before) he will be made to feel ashamed/strange.odd for liking his pushchair and doll. At the moment I dress him in pink quite a lot.

rainbowfeet Thu 05-Sep-13 15:28:29

In simple terms its all about the financial side of it... Basically the gender stereotypical stuff obviously sells! On the other end of the scale the last time I was in MC (few months back) I thought some of the boys range from Jules Oliver & Mylene Class was a bit feminine looking for my tastes... Flowers & birds on if my memory serves, & this was the kind of stuff reduced in abundance in their recent end of season sale.

I can't see the link in how kids are dressed really determines how they develop & what they go on to do as an adult. shock If my daughter wanted to do what's seen as a traditional male job then I would encourage her to do it & I'm all in favour of breaking down boundaries.

Shockingundercrackers Thu 05-Sep-13 15:35:09

Personally, I haven't set foot in Mothercare since the CEO did his web chat. There was a whiff of paternalist BS about his replies that just tallied too much with this pink for little princesses / blue for our little funmonnkeys for me. It really does define the culture our chilfren grow up in and I find it opressive and a bit depressing.

For me, the naughty boy / passive girl marketing is not appropriate in a world where one out the 1 out of 4 women suffer some form of sexual abuse during their lifetime.

scallopsrgreat Thu 05-Sep-13 15:39:07

"I'm sure back then there was boys/girls stuff much as it is today" Well I don't know how old you are melliebobs but it wasn't like this in the 70s. At my DSs nursery there isn't a single girl with short cropped hair. At the local primary school the same thing. It definitely wasn't like that in my childhood. These messages have an effect.

HarumScarum Thu 05-Sep-13 15:39:07

>> Basically the gender stereotypical stuff obviously sells!

Yes, because they're making parents waste their money on two of everything lest they be judged for not conforming sufficiently to gender stereotypes.

Rooners Thu 05-Sep-13 15:52:46

'When I was at school I asked if I could wear trousers in winter and was the first girl to do so (and not the last) I played footie and had proper short cropped hair.'

That's brilliant - you were pretty fortunate in that case.

I was 9 when I tried joining in with the boys who were all playing football on the playing field...I was told off for it, in no uncertain terms - why, I asked - because it's a rough game and they are boys and you will get hurt, don't be so silly' sad

That was it for football. It totally turned me off even bothering to try if I had to fight so hard just for a kick around at lunchtime.

DuelingFanjo Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:43

I bought a few of the Jules Oliver things for my son and other children I know. They were lovely. At least I got them at a better price smile

Tabby1963 Thu 05-Sep-13 16:32:21

Some years ago I bought a t shirt for my son, then about 14, from TK MAXX, There was a stylised drawing of a aeroplane with some writing. I couldn't read it (too wiggley) but bought the t shirt.

About a year later I was ironing it (hate ironing so must have been very bored) and actually read the words - "Mile High Club". Oh bugger.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 05-Sep-13 16:58:55

The real problem is that (if you read those slogans) the boys are all about them enjoying their life, quite rightly, where the girls is all about pleasing others by being pretty to look at. WTF is that about? I don't care if other people think my (future) daughter is "cute", but I do want her to be happy. It may be a pretty traditional form of sexism but that division should be dead in the water by now.

I'm late twenties and pictures of my schoolfriends show no-one wearing pink, let alone gigantic princess party dresses. I remember a girl who used to wear quite puffy dresses and we all thought it was a bit OTT tbh, and they were in green or navy, not pink. Now I see little girls walking around like they're on their way to The Great Big Disney Princess Convention, and they're only off to Asda or whatever. It's bizarre.

grimbletart Thu 05-Sep-13 17:57:33

My experience spans the 50s (when I was 7-17) the 60s as older teen and twenties, 60s and 70s when my DCs were born and the 80s when they were teens, so pretty extensive. What was available to me and my DCs in our childhoods - thinking about clothing and activities - in an era that was technically pre second-wave feminism, though we are all in fact feminists as was my mother and grandmother, was much less stereotyped than today.

It seems to me that as women have become more and more independent, economically and socially and free (apparently) to be/do what we want the tendency to shove girls back into - for want of a better word - a princess box has increased. Girls today, for an example, seem to bother what boys think of them whereas I and my school friends and my DCs couldn't give a flying fart.

Is that my imagination or is there some sort of subtle backlash going on?

Conspiracy theorist - moi? Surely not. grin

devilinside Thu 05-Sep-13 22:34:44

No way was it the same in the 70s. I had short hair throughout my childhood, and it was the norm. I got my very first item of pink clothing aged 18.

kerala Fri 06-Sep-13 09:24:29

Read Susan faludi backlash abit dated but she wrote a book essentially setting out grumble tarts above theory

I haven't stepped foot in a Mother-fuckers-don't-Care since they sacked me. grin

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 10:20:47

The Jools Oliver things are beautiful. But by the age of 5 or 6 my boys are so conditioned by their mates at school that they are very very fussy about what they will wear. It's so sad.

I've also found some H&M baby clothes and Boots 'collectable' things are traditional and quite unisex...ds3 has been wearing some really pretty white cotton smocks and though they are lacy, he is a baby (8mo) and this to me is what babies should be allowed to wear - they were perfect in the hot summer we just had.

this set is gorgeous, he's sadly grown out of it now!

ModeratelyObvious Fri 06-Sep-13 10:29:18

Mellie, ds2 (3.5) likes pink, ds1 (6) is fine with it but a friend's DD who is also 6 comments on him having a girl's plate or whatever. And yes, I say people like what they like etc - but plenty of parents make comments too!

chocoluvva Fri 06-Sep-13 10:46:46

Ooh - spill Amazing! Why were you sacked - was it for defacing the slogans on their boards? [hopeful]

grin I was one of the many hundreds of staff made redundant when they closed most of the early learning centre shops!

So no defacing the slogans on the signage i'm afraid sad

We did write rude things about them in the dirt of their delivery lorries though!

shrinkingnora Fri 06-Sep-13 10:58:52

DS2 is currently wearing DD's old bike helmet. It's white with pink flowers on (because that was all there was that fitted her at the time) and the number of parents at school that make comments on it being a girl's helmet far outweigh the number of kids. He's really proud of it.

SkiSchoolRun Fri 06-Sep-13 11:10:29

My mil has 3 gds and v recently a new baby gs. The girls have all had the same crocheted newborn cardy made for them. It was a pattern she used for DH and his brother and sister when they were born. She was proud of said frilly cardy thing when she made it again for my dd1 (first gd). It wasn't really my taste but perfectly sweet for a new baby. I was quite sad when she and I went to see gs on day 1 and she said "oh, I won't take the the cardy I have made as its just not suitable for a boy these days" hmm Even 68yos are being conditioned.

chocoluvva Fri 06-Sep-13 11:15:29

I still miss ELC. sigh

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