CLOTHING retailer Boden has been forced to apologise after "gender stereotyping" boys and girls in its latest children's range catalogue.
Several concerned parents took to social media after discovering a two-page ad in the Mini Boden catalogue telling young girls to "fill your pockets with flowers" and young boys to "start every adventure with a bike".
The UK fashion brand, a favourite of the middle class, was accused of pushing "sexist" stereotypes after an image of the advertisement was shared widely on Twitter.
Father-of-two Sam Williams, 38, from London was left horrified by the ad after skimming through the catalogue's to look for clothes for his son Theo, 7, and daughter Ivy, 5, who have previously worn Mini Boden.
He tweeted an image of the ad with the caption: "Seriously @Bodenclothing? Keep up" – and his complaint quickly received over 2,000 likes and a flurry of enraged responses from like-minded customers.
— Sam Williams (@play_future) 2 February 2019
One wrote: "My son constantly brings me flowers but is afraid of riding his bicycle. Come ON @Bodenclothing, how are we still having this conversation???"
Another added: "Boden I shop with you a lot for kids’ clothes. This really puts me off."
Williams later elaborated on his disappointment in the marketing campaign, claiming gender stereotypes can have a "huge influence" on children.
"How we design and market children's clothes, play, TV, and everything else can have a huge influence on how children perceive themselves and their aspirations in life," he tweeted.
"Children need to be allowed to grow, explore and form their own identities, to be comfortable with who they are.
"Dividing things up as either for boys or girls is very limiting, and sometimes damaging. There are boys who want to stuff their pockets with flowers, and girls who want to go on adventures, they shouldn't be made to feel wrong or strange."
Hey @Bodenclothing I am pretty disappointed to see this campaign. My girls are shinty and football playing, adventure loving, fast bike-riding little tykes. Who often wear clothing with sparkles and rainbows. Stop this nonsense of categorising our girls and boys! Let them be. pic.twitter.com/bHcA0rc98T
— Julie Fowlis (@juliefowlis) 4 February 2019
Boden promptly apologised in the wake of the backlash, tweeting: "We're so sorry for blotting our copybook in such style. Whilst it wasn’t our intention to ever stereotype the roles of boys and girls, we probably over-egged things a little here.
"At Boden, we are totally committed to gender equality, and firmly believe in equal roles roles and opportunities for boys and girls – in fact, we have a male founder and a female CEO.
"We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, and will ensure that such a mishap doesn't happen again.
"Please accept our sincere apologies. And we will ask Don Draper to stop writing our copy."