Australian sleepwear brand Peter Alexander has pulled a “boys will be boys” children’s sweatshirt from its stores following backlash from parents saying the slogan had sexist connotations.
Melbourne mother Bridie Harris noticed the boys’ gray pajama top while out shopping last week and took to social media to complain.
“Boy won’t be boys,” she wrote on the Peter Alexander Sleepwear Facebook page. “Boys will be held accountable for their actions.
“I hate to see an Australian store, who makes such great PJs, put such a sexist statement on a T-shirt intended for young boys. Excusing boys of their behavior is not a step in the right direction. It’s 2018.”
She said the slogan promoted a culture that allows men “to get away with stuff” because of their gender.
“It gives them an excuse for inappropriate behavior,” Harris said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “If a girl hurts someone or does something, you never hear someone that says girls will be girls.
“As kids, I get it’s little tiny things, like rough play, but it sets [them] up for a culture where they can get way with anything. I thought it was a long-resolved discussion.”
Harris’s views were echoed by many other people on social media who agreed the children’s sweatshirt also struck them as offensive.
One woman called the top “cringeworthy,” while another said she was “so disappointed that this is something that [the brand] would promote for children.”
However, many accused Harris of being overly sensitive and did not see a problem with the top.
“Omg why get rid of it!” one commenter wrote. “There is nothing wrong with a old saying. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.”
Another mother said she was disappointed she could not buy the top for her boys.
“I would like to buy the ‘boys will be boys’ PJs,” she wrote. “I have two boys and would like them to know that’s it’s OK to be boys.”
“The pajamas don’t say, ‘I’m a boy, I’ll go punch another boy or harass someone and that is okay because I am a boy,’” read another comment.
“Boys WILL be boys!” one man wrote. “Making boys feel like they can’t be boys anymore because apparently it’s part of rape culture and they all turn into murderers and rapists anyway.”
A Peter Alexander Sleepwear spokesperson responded to the thread, confirming the brand’s decision to remove the item from its stores.
“Hi Bridie. I just wanted to update you and again thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us and bringing this to our attention,” the post began. “We do not tolerate the behavior that is being associated with this slogan. In light of your feedback, we have decided to withdraw this item from sale.”
Peter Alexander Sleepwear has been contacted for comment.
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