These Shoes Were Labelled "Sexist" On Twitter And Now They've Been Pulled From Sale
14 August 2017, 14:53 | Updated: 15 November 2018, 15:25
When will people learn?
You’d think, in 2017, everyone would be aware of harmful gender stereotypes, especially brands who make clothes and shoes for young children. Sadly, that’s clearly not the case.
Popular UK shoe brand Clarks have been forced to withdraw a line of school shoes for girls called “Dolly Babe” after users on Twitter called it out for sexism, especially as the equivalent version for the boys was called “Leader”.
As noted by the Guardian, both shoes are made from black leather, but the Dolly Babe has a pink insole printed with hearts while the version for boys – which remains on sale – has a football detail.
It was a Greenwich councillor named Miranda Williams that first spotted the shoe and tweeted the link to @everydaysexism.
Looking at school shoes from @clarksshoes - appalled to find a Dolly Babe range for girls but a Leader range for boys @EverydaySexism— Miranda Williams (@M_Williams07) August 6, 2017
She tweeted: “The idea that we should be bringing up a generation of boys to aspire to become leaders while the best hope for girls is to be Dolly Babes is just grim.”
Clarks responded by saying that they have a “gender neutral ethos” and that these lines were already being phased out.
We have a gender neutral ethos, these lines are being phased out and we are already changing the way we market our shoes for future ranges.— Clarks Shoes Help (@clarkshelp) August 7, 2017
Other parents criticised the quality of the shoes, claiming the girls shoes were not suited to outdoor activities. “In the boys’ section the shoes are sturdy, comfortable and weatherproof, with soles clearly designed with running and climbing in mind,” one person wrote.
“In contrast, the girls’ shoes have inferior soles, are not fully covered, and are not well padded at the ankle. They are not comfortable and are not suited to outdoor activities in British weather. To the best of my knowledge, all small children like to run, jump & play. If I thought she was sat quietly in the corner looking pretty & dainty all day, avoiding puddles or running games that might scuff her shoes, I’d be heartbroken.”
While it's great that Clark's are taking on a more gender-neutral approach to their shoes but it's obvious that we've still got a long way to go before all companies ditch these toxic gender stereotypes if examples like this keep happening.