Saturday 1385 - 11.01.2014
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I am going to do exactly what it says in the title and name and shame a company. The company in question is GAP, the multinational clothing organisation.
Yesterday it was brought to my notice by a friend on Facebook that Gap were selling the item of clothing that you see on the left of this paragraph. This is a babygrow/bodysuit for baby girls ( yes i did say BABY) between 0-24months.
Appalling in my eyes ! That GAP is prepared to condone the sexualisation of children in order to make profit is obscene.
Could this item be interpreted in any other way?
I cannot see how. The photo looks black but is in fact dark blue and the spots reminiscent of diamonds to my eye? and with the word Flirt across the front in pink.
Oxford English dictionary definition of flirt -
‘noun - a person who habitually flirts
verb -behave as though sexually attracted to someone, but playfully rather than with serious intentions.’
The USA dictionary definition is almost identical.
Is this an appropriate message to have on the front of a baby’s body suit? … Of course it is not and many people complained on GAP’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/UKGap?fref=ts .
The standard response to these complaints, which appeared to be from mostly British people , was this - ‘Gap -Hi Katie, thank you for your feedback about our babyGap product. We have removed it from Gap. Your voice means a lot to us.’
I checked this out and was delighted to see the offending garment had been removed from the UK website.
Then I checked the international .com GAP and there the garment was, for worldwide distribution, and still is at time of writing. http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=94913&vid=1&pid=925511002
I decided I would take this further and make a complaint about this to GAP. I wrote the following email ( you can see the email address if you also wish to complain) -
||10 January 2014 19:02:16
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to say how absolutely appalled I was to see you selling a bodysuit, for girls between the ages of 0-24 months, that had the word Flirt written across the front of it.
Gap is a massive company and I find it hard to imagine how this piece of thoughtless marketing could have been allowed to happen. The sexualisation of children and even worse babies is a very serious matter and GAP has some explaining to do. Please advise that you will be removing this item from ALL your websites and stores immediately and inform the public what action you are taking, within your company, to stop this kind of sexualised merchandise going on sale again, on your websites and in your stores.
I hope that by the time you read this the offending item will have been removed and I am absolutely sure that it will be if enough pressure is brought to bear on the company. I am happy for this email to be copied and used if you do wish to make your own complaint and I would encourage you to do so. Consumer power works if a company feels it’s image will be damaged and thus it’s profits.
I copied and pasted the email as an open letter onto GAP’s Facebook page last night but this morning I note that my comment has been removed so I have posted it again! I will be posting this article on there too.
GAP you need to consider the Corporate Social Responsibility that a multinational company like yourselves should have. Clearly there have been several people who would have seen this item of clothing from idea through to production and on to marketing. The numbers of people make this even more alarming.
I believe a root and branch examination of your company’s attitude towards merchandising for babies/children is badly needed to prevent an article of clothing like this being produced again. Profit at the price of children’s innocence is clearly not acceptable.
I for one do not want to see our girl children brought up to believe that their sexual attractiveness is the most important thing in life. I feel they/we are being commercially groomed to passively accept a girl/woman’s place as a sexual object in society with items like high heels for 6 yr olds, make-up aimed at children, padded bras for girls who are too young to have breasts!
It has to stop! We ALL have the power as consumers to stop it and must do so to protect our children!
Mumsnet ran and excellent Let Girls Be Girls campaign getting lots of organisations to sign up to not “play upon, emphasise or exploit children’s sexuality”
If you want to read more about this issue including about the damage that sexualisation can do start right here -
As ever I welcome your thoughts and I am happy for you to share this post to get the word out.
Saturday girl signing off.
You can find my photography blog Photomania here