Family Lives responds to ‘Let Clothes be Clothes’ Open Letter to M&S

“Many parents are concerned about sexualised products marketed for children.  We are particularly concerned about the effect of highly gender stereotyped products and also the images of mainstream advertising which present very one-dimensional views of what it means to be male or female.  Young men are increasingly under pressure to have a six-pack which is viewed as having will-power and being dominant while young women are presented as obsessed by appearance and getting only getting praise for appearing as beautiful or ‘sexy’.  This has an effect on young girls’ and boys’ aspirations and also creates templates on which to bully those who do not conform to these stereotypes.  As such tackling gender stereotypes through educational projects such as our TeenBoundaries workshops – which gives children the tools to be critical of the media stereotypes - should help to drive up educational outcomes.   Together we can help to ensure that children and young people have the tools to deal with coercive pressures, can be empowered to make positive and healthy choices and can reach their fullest potential in every aspect of their lives.”

Suzie Hayman
Family Lives Trustee