Sick of waiting for clothing retailers to finally showcase clothing for children without relying on tired gender norms? (Think rockets and dinos exclusively for boys, sequins and rainbows for girls.)
Why I don’t buy H&M’s apology for their racist sweater Two enterprising Norwegian moms who work in advertising and feel disappointed in the current way clothes are designed and sold decided to take matters into their own hands.
The result: they crafted a high-quality, ready-made campaign for the Swedish clothing giant H&M that is refreshingly gender neutral. (H&M has recently been in some hot water for racially-insensitive photography.)
In the ad, Torny Hesle and Ingrid Lea make it clear what’s bothering them, what’s at stake, as well as what they want to see. On their site Justyoucampaign.com they talk directly to H&M like a friend in need of straightening out:
“Dear H&M: You’ve always been a trendsetter, but when it comes to children’s clothing, you’re pretty old fashioned: girls dressed in pink, cute unicorns, puppies and slogans about looks, beauty and the small things in life. And boys dressed in scary dinosaurs, angry skulls, spaceships and motivating and rebellious statements.
It might not seem like a big deal, but these messages influence society and affects our children. It widens the gender gap. Because, yes, we still have a major gender gap issue. It’s still not socially accepted for men to cry, and there’s way too few female leaders in the world. No wonder, when girls grow up learning «it’s the little things that matter» while boys are encouraged to be «future stars».”
The images these women have created are fierce, fun, and totally without pretension or reliance on those tired stereotypes that can make kids feel penned in. The best part? The clothes they are using are H&M, simply mixed around — with the “boys” stuff on girls and visa versa.
Oh, and kudos to Torny and Ingrid: in doing this, they’ve created a great calling card of their work, all while sparking a much-needed conversation about clothing and gender stereotypes.