NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– As parents begin thinking about back-to-school shopping, some are looking for a lot more than the “old school” gender stereotypes of pink for girls and blue for boys.
Some are looking for more gender neutral options, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported.
The sales are on and for the tiny ones, it’s up to parents to choose what their kids will wear.
For Hayley Woods and a growing number of parents, they see clothes as an opportunity to help shape their kids.
Wood tries to buy gender-neutral clothing, a term that’s been gaining popularity.
“We really need gender neutral clothing to start at his age because we’re building up on how to start dismantling sexism, misogyny, and it really does start from this tiny building block,” Woods said.
Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Harstein is the author of the book “Princess Recovery: A How-to Guide to Raising Strong, Empowered Girls.” She said the key is not to put kids in gender specific boxes, from what they wear to what’s expected of them.
“If we only look at girls as being cute and pretty we really pigeon hole them and we know as they get older it can develop into eating disorders and depression and anxiety and that’s really problematic,” Harstein said.
Hartstein says it’s about creating more choices.
“It’s not about taking away the princesses and saying you must have a truck, it’s really about you want to play with princesses awesome, what other options are there for you? What else can you do?” she explained.
While some retailers are gradually adding more gender neutral stock, the options are limited. Some frustrated parents have started their own small online companies.
Courtney Hartman created children’s clothing lines that defy gender norms after getting tired of seeing the same things over and over again.
“The slogan tees in the boy’s section of big retailers, you see a lot of words like ‘trouble maker,’ ‘mommy’s little monster,’ ‘tough like daddy,” she said.
She’s hoping her designs will give parents more options to chase away the clothing blues.
Several retailers have come under fire for having items that are too gender-specifics. When those complaints go viral on social media, some companies made changes giving families more options.