The Importance of Gender-Neutrality in Toys, Clothing and Décor
New baby and toddler online marketplace, Snughub, explores the benefits of gender-neutral baby products.
Before the invention of the ultrasound in the 1950s baby clothing was typically gender-neutral. This way, expectant parents could prepare a wardrobe before the birth, without knowing the baby’s gender. In more recent years the high-street has monetized this trend for gender-specific products and whilst this may seem innocent enough, by limiting your child to gender-specific products you are limiting their choice and could even be impacting their career or life choices later in life.
First time parent and founder of Snughub, Sheeza Anjum, explains the far-reaching benefits of choosing gender-neutral products for your children: “Children are curious by nature and will naturally gravitate toward the gendered category if this is assigned to them from birth. From the age of two they will begin to avoid anything that they do not perceive as associated to their gender – to the extent of even unconsciously , for example, gendered colours such as blue and pink.
“Opting for gender neutral products, clothing or décor will prevent your child being pigeonholed into or limited by a specific category of supposed male or female products, and rather provides access to a much wider range of developmental experiences, skills, or knowledge, enabling them to develop their own interests, abilities and talents.
“In a world of gender imbalance – where only 5 percent of men take parental leave, and female students make up just 35 percent of those taking up STEM subjects(1) – we, as parents, need to be doing as much as we can to encourage our children to explore diverse interests, opting for gender-neutral products that place value on personal identity and education. Let toys be toys and clothes be clothes, gender shouldn’t come into it.”
Read on for Snughub’s guide to gender-neutral baby products…
Choice and Personal Identity
Gender-neutral products are all about choice; giving your child the option to wear what they want and to play with what they want, without enforcing any preconceived gender stereotypes. By not slotting your child into a specific category of male or female products, you give them access to a much wider range of experiences and enable them to develop their own identity, skills and interests.
Boxing children into rigid gender stereotypes may have a lasting effect and prevent them from exploring non-traditional gender stereotyped roles in later in life. For example, young boys that are not to play with dolls or young girls that are told they should choose the princess dress over the superhero outfit will grow up believing in and reinforcing these attitudes.
Research by the Institution for Engineering and Technology(2) found that toys with a science, technology, engineering and maths focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys than girls, having a knock-on effect on the amount of girls choosing to pursue careers in these areas.
We encourage parents to place value on non-gendered choices that will remove the stereotypes but can also further children’s development. The Montessori approach for example, developed by Italian scientist and physician, Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, is a method of education that places value on experiential, sensorial and independent learning, appealing to a child’s nature, rather than fighting it.
The Steiner philosophy also allows children to learn from themselves and their peers, promoting thinking, feeling, and doing with a focus on creativity and nature.
Better for the Planet and your wallet
Typically, your baby will outgrow their clothes every ten weeks, meaning parents tend to have to buy an excessive amount of clothing in the first few years of their babies’ life. Purchasing gender-neutral clothing which can be worn by both boys and girls provides more flexibility in terms of passing items down to siblings, cousins or friends.
This also helps to reduce waste and prevents huge volumes of product ending up in landfill.
Gender Neutral Products aren’t boring
Choosing genderless products doesn’t mean dressing your child entirely in monochrome. More often than not, kids express themselves through their clothing and willingly opt for pops of bright colour and fun, playful prints. By going genderless, you don’t limit certain colours to certain sexes; instead, you provide your child with the full spectrum of the rainbow with which to dress, play and express themselves.
Allowing your child to dress and express themselves in fun, colourful clothing can also make getting dressed less of a chore for children (and parents!).
All products stocked on Snughub are entirely gender-agnostic. A selection of gender neutral, natural, sustainable options for babies and toddlers available on Snughub:
- This non-gendered Montessori wooden train promotes independent and experiential play through being taken apart and reassembled, keeping little minds busy for hours.
- Dreambuy unisex towelling tracksuit for lounging and playing, available in a range of colours to suit your little ones’ preferences; sit down with your child and encourage them to pick their favourite colour.
- These playful wellies are available in a range of colours and patterns which magically reveal when worn in the sun, making the act of getting dressed an exciting and interactive activity.
- The Cabana Kids Lillie Tent is available in a range of fun colours making it the perfect addition to any bedroom or garden inspiring hours of play.
- This play gym by MMS is a fantastic example of a minimalist, neutral design that will entertain and stimulate your baby whilst looking great in any home.
- This Mechanical Toy Set is perfect for Montessori-based play and to inspire young engineering minds. Adorable Woody and Shleep are inspired by automata aka mechanic principles that help your little one visualise how compute programming works.
Notes to editors:
- Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM-Related Toys 2015
For further press information, please contact:
Olivia Hazelden-Kingdon | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera Kemp
Rooster. We are pr.®
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]
Launched in April 2021, Snughub is an online marketplace designed to help modern millennial parents find quality, stylish and sustainable baby and toddler goods created by small, independent UK businesses.
Snughub is the brainchild of first-time mum, Sheeza Anjum, who quickly became frustrated by the overwhelming range of poor quality, mass produced, synthetic and gender stereotyped products available via large online retailers.
Snughub values slow fashion products that are designed with reuse in mind. Many products are also multi-purpose and are developed to appeal to millennial families and fit seamlessly into any modern home.
Working with a number of trusted partners to offer non-toxic, gender-agnostic, sustainable and ethically produced baby and toddler products that don’t compromise on quality, design or craftmanship, Snughub believes in supporting local businesses. Partner retailers provide practical, innovative and stylish solutions that will lead to a brighter future for little ones and their families. They also all fulfil Snughub’s criteria of using reusable or recyclable packaging to ensure minimum waste.
Snughub offers free delivery nationwide with no minimum spend.