Clothing brand Boden has been forced to apologise to customers after they were accused of being ‘sexist’.
The brand came under fire after a picture of the Mini Boden catalogue was shared on Twitter by dad-of-two Sam Williams.
The snap shows a boy with his bike, alongside the words: ‘Boys start every adventure with a bike (or a pair of very fast legs)’; while a girl in a dress appears next to the words: ‘Girls, new clothes are in sight fill your pockets (and wardrobes) with flowers and race this way.’
Explaining why he decided to share the picture, Sam wrote: ‘Seriously @Bodenclothing? Keep up.
‘How we design and market children’s clothes, play, TV, and everything else can have a huge influence on how children perceive themselves and their aspirations in life. Children need to be allowed to grow, explore and form their own identities, to be comfortable with who they are.
‘Dividing things up as either for boys or girls is very limiting, and sometimes damaging. There are boys who want to stuff their pockets with flowers, and girls who want to go on adventures, they shouldn’t be made to feel wrong or strange.
‘We must challenge lazy attitudes and dated stereotypes. @bodenclothing is one of the more progressive and it’s good to see the fault is acknowledged, but we’ll wait to see the next catalogue and the next… Let’s keep things moving forwards!’
Many parents agreed with Sam’s views, and commented on the post to share their disappointment with the brand’s message.
One mum wrote: ‘We loved @Bodenclothing until this moment. Sending these kinds of messages to little ones makes our work as parents & teachers that much harder.’
Another said alongside a picture of her little girl: ‘I love flowers but my daughter prefers rocks… and adventures’.
A third also posted a picture of her daughter and wrote: ‘Well, this is how my daughter last ‘embellished’ her @bodenclothing dungaree dress. Delicate little flower, is she?’
A fourth also commented: ‘Whaaat! My boy loves picking flowers & filling his pockets with them too! #everydaysexism’.
Another added: ‘This is ridiculous!!’
Following the controversy, the brand issued an apology to customers – giving a nod to Mad Men’s character Don Draper, a man working in advertising in the fifties.
It read: ‘We’re so sorry for blotting our copybook in such style. Whilst it wasn’t our intention to ever stereotype the roles of boys and girls, we probably over-egged things a little her.
‘We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, and will ensure that such a mishap doesn’t happen again. Please accept our sincere apologies. And we will ask Don Draper to stop writing our copy.’