Earlier this month, one mum noticed popular back-to-school retailer Clarks was selling a rather surprising pair of shoes.
The heart-printed pair – obviously designed for girls – were titled ‘Dolly Babe’.
After doing a bit of quick research, Miranda Williams noticed that the equivalent pair for boys – football-embroidered shoes – were given a much more inspiring name: ‘Leader Play’.
The offending shoes – before they disappear from your website. pic.twitter.com/WYvETanJqa
— Miranda Williams (@M_Williams07) August 6, 2017
Outraged at the ‘backwards thinking’ shown by the brand, she tweeted a photo of the two shoes, writing: “The offending shoes – before they disappear from your website.”
Several parents quickly responded, calling out Clarks for blatant sexism and gender stereotyping.
Every day a wee girl puts on shoes &the description ‘dolly babe’ seeps into her consciousness. ‘Leader’ seeps into her brother’s. #equality
— Anne McLaughlin SNP (@AnneMcLaughlin) August 14, 2017
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) August 13, 2017
— Julie Nicholas (@JulieNicholas_) August 13, 2017
Even the Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon gave her opinion, tweeting on Sunday: “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.”
It seems like Clarks has listened to the uproar, removing the Dolly Babe range from its site. However, Leader Play continues to be sold.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the retailer said: “The Dolly Babe shoe is an old and discontinued line, with only remaining stock being sold through our stores.”
“However, following customer feedback regarding the name, we have removed the shoe from sale online and are in the process of removing the name from the remaining stock in store, though this process will take time to complete.”
“We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender-neutral ethos and we apologise for any unintended offence caused.”
Last year, Clarks came under similar fire after selling “fussy and impractical” shoes for girls but more sensible styles for boys.
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