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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

Clarks are pulling the controversial shoes that caused a scandal over sexist marketing last week

Even Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks that Clarks are being ridiculous.

20708429_10159227290625594_1626474151809289317_n Source: Jemma Moonie-Dalton/Facebook

LAST WEEK CLARKS Shoes came under fire after a customer called them out for the impracticality of school shoes for young girls.

Jemma Moonie-Dalton received 43,000 likes and 18,000 shares on a complaint she made to Clarks Facebook page about the ‘persistent discrimination’ that girls face when it comes to shopping for school shoes.

I am dismayed by the choice of school shoes for my daughter in Clarks. I understand, of course that anyone can choose any style – but children are not stupid and my 7 year old daughter does not want to choose shoes from a section aggressively marketed at boys and clearly not intended for her.

Many parents who know the pains of shopping for school shoes in August agreed and shared her post, offering comments of support and agreement.

Others argued that she was being too fussy and should shop somewhere else. However, the conversation brought to light that the offerings in other shoe shops are equally as dismal.

People began to share how astounded they were by just how sexist the marketing of Clarks shoes was.

Twitter user Miranda Williams shared two photos from the Clarks online store that highlight the stark differences in how young boys and girls are targeted by the company.

A popular line of their girls school shoe was called ‘Dolly Babe Jnr’.

DGj0BbkXoAAGGYB Source: Miranda Williams/Twitter

Little girls are aspiring to be little delicate ‘Dolly Babes’ (which makes them sound incredibly passive and like they only exist to be looked at). And the boys? Well, of course their shoes are called ‘Leader Play’.

DGjz691XgAAA5-J Source: Miranda Williams/Twitter

The differences in the two shoes are immediately clear. The boys shoes are clearly designed for a bit of wear and tear, they have appropriate soles for running and climbing and they are considerably more suitable for Irish and British weather than the Dolly Babe Jnrs.

Clarks responded to Miranda Williams after she contacted them on Twitter to draw attention to the differences between the names of the shoes.

Now, according to The Guardian, the shoes will be withdrawn.

Clarks responded that they are to remove the old line from stores and discontinue it. In Jemma Moonie-Dalton’s original post she wrote:

As market leaders you have an opportunity to lead the way by designing and marketing shoes for twenty-first century children.

It seems that after witnessing this much disapproval, they have been steered towards taking her advice. Hopefully other shoe retailers will follow.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon even shared her disbelief.

PastedImage-74465 Source: Nicola Sturgeon/Twitter

School shoes aren’t the only forms of sexism inflicted upon women when it comes to clothing.

Anyone who has had a close look at women’s jeans and trousers will notice the distinct lack of pockets. If there is a pocket, it’s hardly big enough to fit a phone into, let alone a purse or wallet.

Nicola Sturgeon visit to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Nicola Sturgeon Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Why? To encourage women to buy more handbags. However, not every woman wants to carry a handbag around with them all day.

Very few men are willing to put themselves through the effort it takes to carry a handbag and be on constant alert that it could be stolen at any moment in public, so why should women?

Street Style - London Fashion Week 2017 Does this pocket look like it could comfortably accommodate a phone? Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Of course there are plenty of women and men who will happily carry a bag around with them for all of the belongings that they need in day-to-day life.

However, there are plenty of women who carry little more than their mobile phone and a bit of cash who would benefit greatly from a realistic allowance of pockets.

Even the ‘most unbending upholder of traditional values’ in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, told BBC “To call a pair of shoes for a girl Dolly Babe is dreadful. It’s wrong in all sorts of ways… This is just really silly.”

Bruges Group event - London Jacob Rees-Mogg with UKIP leader Nigel Farage Source: EMPICS Entertainment

If Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks something is sexist… Yeah. It’s time to do something about it.


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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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