Clarks has really stepped in it this time. The British-based shoe company carries two school shoes for children with names that could have used a little more workshopping before hitting market: “Dolly Babe” is for girls, while the boys’ pair is called “Leader.” Sexist, much?
Like little girls, the shoes were clearly made with “sugar and spice and everything nice” rather than a stitch of women’s empowerment. To add insult to injury, the inside of the flats is pink and dotted with hearts, a pattern that basically looks like the uniform the patriarchy would dole out to remind girls to be a sweetheart rather than superwoman. Clearly, companies such as Clarks still don’t quite grasp what it actually takes to walk in a woman’s shoes.
Conversely, the version of the shoe made for little boys is covered in man things like soccer balls and a testosterone-fuelled rugged sole. In case that didn’t quite define gender stereotypes enough, Clarks also gave the shoe a name to remind young boys who society still says runs the world. Clearly these folks need to listen to more Beyoncé.
Naturally, numerous social media users put their foot down in opposition.
— Miranda Williams (@M_Williams07) August 6, 2017
It is almost beyond belief that in 2017 a major company could think this is in any way acceptable. Shows what we are still up against. https://t.co/3C7Nop8o1E
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 13, 2017
— Brian Smith (@TheRealBrianSmi) August 13, 2017
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) August 13, 2017
Clarks responded on Twitter saying, “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.” The shoe company also said that the name “Dolly Babe” relates to “an old and discontinued shoe.”
The girls’ shoes have since been removed from Clarks’s official website, but are still available on the French version of Clarks Canada. With the recent controversy, it is only a matter of time before these shoes get the boot.
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