Recently, the John Lewis chain in the UK decided to jump on the bandwagon and introduced genderless clothing for children.  The company announced that there will be no more ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ clothing anymore. This has created some controversy. You can read about it here.

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This is not something I agree with. I have three sons and two daughters. In their childhood, my son had chosen to wear her sister’s Alice band, and similarly, out of economic necessity, my daughter had worn her older brothers’ hand-me-downs, including boyish dungarees and t-shirts with Dennis The Menace’s face (rather than Minnie The Minx’s).

What’s the fuss? There were no genderless clothing 20 years ago. And kids were just fine.

Last Friday was the Loy Krathong ceremony in Thailand.  The students in my daughter’s school came dressed up in the Thai national costumes and made krathong (floating flower baskets) that day.


I saw this beautifully dressed little girl during lunch break. You could not find a more feminine dress than hers. Apart from the pink lace, she was also bedecked in gold ornaments.

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She was climbing the frames with her friends, and she was as adept as they were, despite being encumbered by her ultra-girlie dress.

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There should be no big deal about genders when it comes to clothing: it does not maketh a person but merely are appendages that children experiment and express themselves.

Far more meaningful for me was the fact that on that particular day in school, children of many different countries were wearing the Thai national dress as a mark of respect for their host country.  It was particularly meaningful as Loy Krathong this year came shortly after the cremation of Thailand’s much-loved King Bhumibol. And they wore it so beautifully, so unselfconsciously….and if we adults must use children’s clotting to make a point, let it be about love, respect for others and unity.

I hope the public relations/ marketing consultant advisers at John Lewis’s read this.

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