I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I was kinda into dinosaurs. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Those things are awesome. But I was also a girl, and quite a girly one at that, so pretty dresses were the name of the game, and I’m not sure if it would have been possible back in the ‘90s to get me a dress with a dinosaur on it. I was at the age where clothes just magically appeared in front of you and your mother dressed you against your vocal objections and your refusal to bend your f*cking arm into the damn top for god’s sake – but had I been born 25 years later (i.e. NOW!), John Lewis would have my back.

In John Lewis stores, they’ve ditched ‘Girls’ and ‘Boys’, or rather they’ve combined them into ‘Boys & Girls’ and ‘Girls & Boys’… and not a minute too soon! You can still buy a floral dress, like I wore to a family wedding in 1994 aged 2, and a smart suit for your little one to look dapper. But now, these things are no longer divided by pink and blue coloured signs and labels making sure you’re keeping your little ones in line with society’s gender roles. I could have worn pyjamas that featured a bear on a skateboard (which is just cool) without a label or sign telling us that this was somehow wrong (although maybe not to the wedding).

When we get older, in general cis women’s bodies change shape into a more baby bearing friendly configuration – that’s breasts and hips, in case you were stuck, they’re not just for your enjoyment – and so clothes are cut differently to accommodate for these changes, and to make them look better so more people will buy them (the clothing industry generally doesn’t get into the intricacies of trans identities – but that’s whole other article that I’m unqualified to write!).

I don’t know about the babies that you know, but all of the ones I’ve met have the same body type – small, cute, and a bit pudgy. There’s very little difference between them. Their secondary sexual characteristics don’t kick in until puberty, because why would they need to? And babies look cute in pretty much everything you put them in.

Now, thanks to John Lewis, you can put them in a dress with a dinosaur on it. Which is incredible. But where there’s incredible, there’s also some of this:

Relax mate. Stop typing in capitals. Nobody is going to force you to put your little boy in a dress, we all know that would be too hard on your fragile, toxic masculinity (by the way, don’t read this guy’s twitter feed, I did it so you didn’t have to).

Actually, you’re the problem. By being so against the mere idea that a shop won’t have ‘Girls’ on the label of an item of clothing – are you worried you’ll forget your kid has a penis if he’s wearing a skirt? – you’re reinforcing the gender roles that are leading to “dress wearing boys” getting bullied.

Very interesting that this guy calls himself a “Snowflake Melter”. Because you just can’t make that sh*t up!

I’m not sure ‘I don’t like that you’re saying my little boy could wear a dress if he and I wanted him to’ is a reason that’s covered under your statutory rights. I don’t understand. Nothing is different except a few words on labels and a few clothing designs. Nobody is going to stand in the clothing department and categorically state that for every pair of tiny trousers you get for a little boy, you must also get him a cute dress! Feel free to walk into John Lewis or any other store and shop for your little boy and buy him clothes that you consider to be ‘for boys’ – or are you getting yourselves outraged because the department store won’t make that decision for you anymore? It is obvious that these people can identify what they think boys should and shouldn’t wear, so are they angry that a label may include extra options? If you want to get angry about labels in clothes not telling ‘the truth’, maybe look at something like clothing sizes for women which are all over the place – measurements are set in stone, skirts vs. trousers is not.

I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but ‘gender neutral’ is not the same as a non-binary identity. Children, babies in particular, don’t generally have opinions on gender, they just like and dislike things. By there being a dress with a dinosaur on it that is for both boys and girls, you’re not enforcing any kind of non-binary identity on your child; in fact, you’re doing the opposite! You’re giving them all of the options regardless of what they go on to identify as. If your child is going to go on to identify as non-binary or feel their identity doesn’t fit with their body, then this is going to happen anyway; by being rigid in your categories, you’re only making it worse.

Now, don’t mind me, I’m off to buy a dinosaur dress for my friend’s baby!

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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