No Labels No Limits - We Are With You Russell Brand

By Cheryl Rickman
on November 08, 2016

Russell Brand to raise child gender neutralI was invited to be on BBC Radio Scotland's Kay Adams show this morning to discuss gender-neutrality, after Russell Brand has said that he will be raising his first-born child gender-neutral. (I didn't go on in the end as they "already had a Southern voice, and wanted to keep some of the commentators Scottish"). Fair enough.

Russell told Jonathan Ross while appearing on his TV show that he doesn't want his child with Laura Gallacher to be restricted by male or female labels.

"We don’t know the gender I may not even ever impose a gender upon it, let the child grow up and be the whatever the hell it is, never tell it there is such a concept," said Russell on the show.

Anyway... this got me thinking.

Gender neutral is a funny old phrase because the use of the word 'neutral' makes people think of beige, grey and drab colours, which sounds restrictive in itself. And yet, what gender neutrality is REALLY about is getting rid of the limitations that gender stereotypes create to give children more choice, which is what and the campaign I'm an ambassador for, Let Clothes Be Clothes, are all about. It's about more choice and less limitation.

Russell Brand doesn't want his child to be restricted by labels.

Of course, if you say you are raising your child gender neutral, the connotation might be that you are not going to raise that child as a boy or a girl. Perhaps you might even consider using the word 'hen', the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun, intended as an alternative to the gender-specific hon ("she") and han ("he")?

Or, maybe, like me, when I use the word gender neutral, I am talking about removing restrictions and limitations that gender stereotypes perpetuate.

Often, as humans, we make choices in reaction to the extremes that we are opposing so, in opposing gender stereotypes, raising a child as 'gender neutral' is finding an alternative to the overt gender stereotyping that has smothered our stores, screens and magazine pages, since the relatively gender-neutral 1970s, the decade in which I grew up.

For me, getting rid of gender stereotypes is not about getting rid of pink princesses or snarling monsters at the extreme end of perceived femininity or masculinity, because lots of children LOVE pink princesses and snarling monsters. No, for me, the way forward is to cater for the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of colour and motifs; the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of what it means to be a child without the need to label any of it as 'for girls only' or 'for boys only'.

Why? Because labels are restrictive. They lessen choice and remove our children's freedom to just be children and like what they like and play with what they want to play with and wear what they want to wear. No labels = no limits.

With that in mind, a few of us who have taken a stand to battle gender-stereotypes, are joining forces to create a collective called NO LABELS NO LIMITS.

We are stronger together and our goal is ultimately to enable our children to be proud to be all that they are, wear what they wear, play with what they play with and be who they are, without restrictions. 

And, if Russell Brand wants to join us, he'll be more than welcome :-)

No Labels No Limits will include:

How Do You Search For Kids Clothes? Help Us Show Retailers How To Give Children More Choice Less Limits

By Cheryl Rickman
on April 11, 2016

How Do You Search For Kids Clothes? By Gender or Type or Age? And, if by gender is this because of your own preference or because it's the only option you have been given by the online retailers? We'd love hear from you.

ClimbingTreesKids is working closely with LetClothesBeClothes to show retailers how to give our children MORE CHOICE & LESS LIMITS

I met with John Lewis Head Buyers last week as a spokesperson for Let Clothes Be Clothes and Climbing Trees. The meeting went well with the Head Buyer taking plenty of notes and listening to all feedback. It was great to discover that we share a mutual understanding about the importance of offering CHOICE.

In fact, Caroline Bettis, Head Buyer for Childrenswear at John Lewis said,

"Meeting customer needs is our number one priority. We understand the importance of providing girls and boys with more choice and, as such, we have already rolled out GIRLS&BOYS labeling across much of our childrenswear range and have removed boy / girl from the stitched in labels. We have also designed a range of dinosaur themed clothes for boys and girls across both ranges. We are keen to continue dialogue with Let Clothes Be Clothes and Climbing Trees Kids and consider how we might take your points on board to implement some of the suggestions you’ve made in the future.”

One of our suggestions was about HOW they display their clothing so, we'd be interested to find out how YOU search for clothes when shopping online.

Is it by type? By colour/theme? Or by gender?

And, if by gender is this because of your own preference or because it's the only option you have been given by the online retailers? Interested to know your thoughts - please let us know via this simple poll here:

Jess Day, campaigner for Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys told us that their campaign also got the same answer from toy retailers to begin with, but gender categories are now much less common on toy websites and people are still finding dolls and trucks just fine. She says:

"Of the 11 sites which used gender as a prominent category when we looked at this issue in 2014, 4 have dropped gender from their toy sections altogether. So 'boys' and 'girls' toy sections on websites have gone from being the most common primary navigation, to relatively unusual, in less than four years. Obviously clothes and toys aren't exactly the same, but it's worth making the comparison: retailers thought these categories were indispensible to shoppers. They weren't."

Please help us to show retailers how to give children more choice, less limits by gathering more research and sharing this link:

Climbing Trees Kids also appeared on an Arabic blog where we talked about how to shatter the pink is for girls and blue is for boys stereotype.

You can read more here:

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