Shoppers slam Matalan for its range of ‘sexist’ children’s clothes


Shoppers have slammed Matalan for its range of children’s clothes which tells boys to be the superheroes, whie girls are advised to smile. 

Author Kate Long, 56, who lives in Shropshire, was the first to point out the ‘everyday sexism’ she came across while shopping in store with her family before England’s second lockdown. 

She slammed the choice of slogans in the collection as she raged: ‘We’re telling one sex here that they don’t deserve to have boundaries or a stake in the real world, and the other that their most significant relationship is with tech.’

The social media thread was met by a furious tirade from others who have had similar experiences, as one said: ‘It’s easy for people to dismiss concerns about the different subliminal messages boys and girls receive from an early age, but when you see it side by side like this it can’t be ignored.’

Author Kate Long, who lives in Shropshire, was the first to point out the ‘everyday sexism’ she had come across while shopping in store with her family before the coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Superhero range for boys

The 56-year-old slammed the difference in the choice of slogans which encouraged boys to be 'the boss' (pictured)

Meanwhile, girls were simply told that they should 'be kind' (pictured)

The 56-year-old slammed the difference in the choice of slogans which encouraged boys to be ‘the boss’ (left) as girls were instead encouraged to simply ‘be kind’ (right)

Kate, who has written is best known for her work The Bad Mother’s Handbook, took to Twitter with a string of images comparing the two collections that had been divided in store by gender.

The clothes designated for boys were emblazoned with superhero emblems, as well as phrase such as ‘the boss’, ‘game changer’ and ‘next level’.

Contrastingly, the sentiment issued to young girls was much more whimsical, as they were encouraged to be ‘dreamers’, ‘princesses’ and ‘to smile’.

Kate began the thread with a post that read: ‘While I’m on the subject of @Matalan, let’s have a peep at their children’s clothing. 

The clothes designated for boys were emblazoned with superhero emblems as well as phrase such as 'game' changer' (pictured)

The clothes designated for boys were emblazoned with superhero emblems as well as phrase such as ‘game’ changer’ (pictured)

One of the T-shirts on offer in Matalan encouraged young boys to be 'next level' (pictured) and strive to compete among their peers - something which was not carried over into the girls' range

One of the T-shirts on offer in Matalan encouraged young boys to be ‘next level’ (pictured) and strive to compete among their peers – something which was not carried over into the girls’ range

‘First, what messages are boys getting about themselves? Well, they’re superheroes. Boys like gaming! Tech! Camo! They like dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! More camo! Space!

‘Boys are monsters! They are THE BOSS. Did I mention they like DINOSAURS? Tech and gaming!’

She continued the thread before posting: ‘My husband joined me at this point, and he said, “What’s wrong with these messages? Don’t all kids like gaming?” And I said, “Come with me to the girls section and see how many of their clothes tell them they have ownership of games, tech, science”.

‘So he did. And here’s what little girls are being told about themselves.’

'Girls are urged to smile and be pleasant, compliant and decorative': Kate said that both she and her husband were stunned by the messaging they found on the clothing including a T-shirt ordering girls to 'smile' (pictured)

‘Girls are urged to smile and be pleasant, compliant and decorative’: Kate said that both she and her husband were stunned by the messaging they found on the clothing including a T-shirt ordering girls to ‘smile’ (pictured)

The sentiment issued to young girls in store was much more whimsical than their male counterparts as they were encouraged to be 'dreamers' (pictured)

Kate said they were being distanced from the real world and instead told to be 'sparkly princesses' (pictured)

The sentiment issued to young girls in store was much more whimsical than their male counterparts as they were encouraged to be ‘dreamers’ (left) or ‘sparkly princesses’ (right)

Kate then issued a second thread of photos of the shirts in the female section of the store.

She wrote: ‘Like their adult female counterparts, they’re being urged to LOVE. Nothing wrong with this message, except it doesn’t appear anywhere on the boys’ clothes. 

‘They’re *still* being urged to dream about fantasy animals rather than engage with the real world.

‘Girls are ordered to Be Kind, again not a bad message in itself but why isn’t it all over the boys’ T-shirts?  

One of the designs in the Matalan girls' collection included a white T-shirt which was emblazoned with the slogan 'I love to dance' and surrounded by stars and glitter (pictured)

One of the designs in the Matalan girls’ collection included a white T-shirt which was emblazoned with the slogan ‘I love to dance’ and surrounded by stars and glitter (pictured)

Kate wrote: 'Like their adult female counterparts, they're being urged to LOVE' (design for girls pictured)

She added: Nothing wrong with this message, except it doesn't appear anywhere on the boys' clothes' (design for girls pictured)

Kate wrote: ‘Like their adult female counterparts, they’re being urged to LOVE. Nothing wrong with this message, except it doesn’t appear anywhere on the boys’ clothes’ (designs for girls pictured)

‘I’ll tell you the practical application of this drilled-in messaging: if, in a classroom, there aren’t enough iPads to go round, guess which sex rushes to give theirs up? And guess which sex takes them without even a second thought? 

‘That pattern is replicated all the time. Girls are groomed to give up their spaces, time and possessions in a way boys are not. 

‘Girls are taken a step back from the business of the world. Girls are urged to smile and be pleasant, compliant and decorative.

‘More hearts, more insistence that girls need to make the place pleasant for everyone else. It’s like an order. Over and over again. 

‘Be perfect, girls. That’s your job.’ 

The theme running throughout the boys' range was science, technology, engineering and mathematics (pictured)

Girls were instead encouraged to focus on just being 'perfect' (pictured)

The theme running throughout the boys’ range was science, technology, engineering and mathematics (left) as girls were instead encouraged to focus on just being ‘perfect’ (right)

Kate concluded: ‘I could have made this thread as long again, but I ran out of time and anyway you get the point. 

‘It’s no good us ringing our hands about girls not taking careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics when we’re pushing them away from those subjects right through childhood.

‘It’s no good us wondering why so many boys grow up unable to reach out to friends, emotionally disconnected and vulnerable to mental health problems when we’ve told them plainly that love and positivity is just for girls.

Kate (pictured) was inundated with support from other social media users who had similar experiences

Kate (pictured) was inundated with support from other social media users who had similar experiences

‘We’re telling one sex here they don’t deserve to have boundaries or a stake in the real world, and the other that their most significant relationship is with tech.

‘My husband couldn’t believe what he’d seen. “It’s only one shop, though, yeah?” he said. I told him the same messages were being repeated in every high street retailer. 

‘”I see it now,” he said. “It’s not right, is it?Maybe things will improve. 

‘”Retailers will cotton on to the fact that lots of parents don’t want to label their kids in a sexist way. Maybe we’ll look back in a few years and this stuff will seem bizarre?”

‘You’ve got to hope so.’

And Kate was inundated with support from other social media users who had experienced the same thing.

One wrote: ‘Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s easy for people to dismiss concerns about the different subliminal messages boys and girls receive from an early age but when you see it side by side like this it can’t be ignored.’

Another said: ‘My daughter goes straight to the “boys section” we don’t even bother looking in the girls.’

'This enrages me': The social media thread was met by a furious tirade from others who had similar experiences

‘This enrages me’: The social media thread was met by a furious tirade from others who had similar experiences

One wrote: 'Thank you for taking the time to do this. It's easy for people to dismiss concerns about the different subliminal messages boys and girls receive from an early age but when you see it side by side like this it can't be ignored'

One wrote: ‘Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s easy for people to dismiss concerns about the different subliminal messages boys and girls receive from an early age but when you see it side by side like this it can’t be ignored’

Another said: 'My daughter goes straight to the "boys section" we don't even bother looking in the girls.'

Another said: ‘My daughter goes straight to the “boys section” we don’t even bother looking in the girls.’

Others commented: 'Be good to see shops simply have a children's clothes section and let the children decide what's right for them'

Others commented: ‘Be good to see shops simply have a children’s clothes section and let the children decide what’s right for them’

And a fourth simply added: 'Yep, the girls need camo, boss-wear and even more camo! And let the boys 'Be Kind' for a change'

And a fourth simply added: ‘Yep, the girls need camo, boss-wear and even more camo! And let the boys ‘Be Kind’ for a change’

Others commented: ‘Be good to see shops simply have a children’s clothes section and let the children decide what’s right for them.’

And a fourth simply added: ‘Yep, the girls need camo, boss-wear and even more camo! And let the boys ‘Be Kind’ for a change.’

FEMAIL has contacted Matalan for comment. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk