A teacher has laid into Tesco for selling 'sexist shoes' to children, after the supermarket giants branded boys' footwear as 'great for being active' while girls only get 'sensitive soles'.
Lauren Smallcalder believes Tesco's labelling and marketing of the back to school shoes is encouraging gender stereotypes and implies that only boys need to be active, whereas girls are too 'delicate'.
The primary school teacher is urging clothes manufacturers to create more unisex clothing and thinks the chain's branding is just another example of everyday sexism.
The 37-year-old claims to have seen the impact of stereotyping on the young children she teaches, which leaves boys and girls thinking they can't like certain things because it's 'not for them'.
Tesco has vowed to update the wording on its website in response to Lauren's complaint.
Lauren, from Bournemouth, said: "When I saw the shoes I was really annoyed.
"I was really irritated that yet again girls and boys are being put in ever-limited boxes and having expectations loaded on them.
"They label the boys sole as being great for being active and as hard wearing but describe the girls sole as 'sensitive'.
"Do little girls aspire to be 'sensitive'?
"It's bizarre. Shoes are there to perform a function, and we want boys and girls to be as active as possible, not restricted by the idea that they should be restrained and delicate.
"Even the animals depicted on the bottom of the shoes discourage boys from being sensitive and girls from being strong.
"All kids love dinosaurs and butterflies are awesome, too. Neither are just for boys or girls.
"To me, the butterflies just seem to reinforce the idea that girls are delicate and sensitive, whilst boys are expected to be strong.
"It's ridiculous and surreal, soles are functional.
"You want something that is hard wearing and comfortable, especially for kids who should be running and climbing about."
The teacher claims she notices how small cases of 'everyday sexism' can influence children and the way they think and do things.
Lauren said: "I see young children who are easily influenced trying to find their own sense of self and the drip-drip message they get from all around them is so restrictive.
"I see boys totally put off anything associated with girls. It's so sad.
"Boys and girls feel like they can't be interested in certain things because they are 'not for them'.
"I feel like I am fighting a losing battle when I try to counter balance such a pervasive messaging by telling the kids that boys and girls can be interested in and play with anything they want.
"It feels like we are taking backward steps from when I was a kid.
"I am worried about how extreme the division is in marketing between boys and girls.
"It's definitely reinforcing stereotypes, so children will think they have to act a certain way to fit in."
Lauren believes that children's clothes should be all about mixing different colours and having fun, and should encourage young boys and girls to see themselves as equals.
She said: "I'd love to see more colours in children's clothes.
"There's no difference in boys and girls, physically, so there's no reason why clothes can't be unisex.
"The pink washing of girls' clothes is so boring and some of the t-shirt slogans for girls in some stores are so horrendous - encouraging them to be passive or focused solely on appearance.
"I've even seen parents pointing out that the cut of girls' shorts being a lot shorter than for boys."
A Tesco spokesperson said: "We have listened to feedback from our customers and will be updating the wording on our website."
Featured Image Credit: Caters