By Sophie Norris
A five-year-old girl who is wise beyond her years was caught on camera ranting how ‘deeply frustrating’ it is that H&M’s Halloween costumes are not gender-neutral.
Poppy Lambert-Harden was shopping with her mum last Wednesday [5/10/17] when she discovered that her favourite outfits were in the boys’ section of the Brighton store for the second year running.
The observant tot had the same problem last year and was forced to buy a skeleton costume from the boys’ section of the store, after complaining girls’ costumes ‘weren’t very scary or cool’.
Her mum Jesse felt compelled to capture the rant on video after the youngster proclaimed ‘I am so disappointed that this always happens’.
However the 38-year-old mum posted the clip online to raise awareness as she believes Poppy got it absolutely right and there is unnecessary gender profiling of Halloween costumes.
Jesse, from Brighton, said: “It’s always the same issue in H&M.
“Poppy wanted to be a vampire but that costume was in the boys’ section. All the girls’ outfits are really pink and frilly.
“She just wants to be a scary vampire, not a fairy vampire.
“She was indignant when she noticed again that the costume she wanted was in the boys’ section again this year.
“I get very annoyed by it too. I was the same when I was little.
“All the girls’ outfits are witches or cats – they’re not realistic or very scary.
“Before I pressed record, her rant was quite impressive. She said ‘this is deeply frustrating for me, I am so disappointed that this always happens.’”
Jesse’s daughter’s love of gender-defying costumes is part of a wider debate about the gender-profiling of clothing, toys and even foods in certain shops.
The strong-willed child has her heart set on being a skeleton again this year and it has left her angry at the lack of outfits available to her.
In the video clip, Poppy points out several Halloween-themed outfits that she likes and asks her mum why they are just for boys.
She then explains how H&M could allow girls to wear ‘cool’ and ‘funky’ clothes as well as boys.
Poppy said: “Why are all the boys’ clothes in the boys’ section?
“Because I really like this. Because they’re really cool and funky.
“It’s just I can’t buy them because […] they are in the boys’ section. But maybe you can change it.
“I think [H&M] should definitely change it so some of the cool stuff’s in the girls’ section and some of the cool stuff’s in the boys’ section.
“It’s really really hard for other people who really want one of the boys’ tops and leggings.”
Jesse said: “I don’t think I’ll bother buying anything this year from there. I’ll buy something from somewhere that doesn’t specify the gender of its Halloween costumes for kids.
“Poppy loves Snoopy, the Minions and superheroes. All the girls’ stuff has got loads of fairy characters.
“She doesn’t bother about actually buying the costume despite it being marketed at boys, but it is frustrating for her.
“She’s quite aware of the gender differences shops try to force on her but she’ll buy the costume anyway.
“We went into a toy shop the other day to buy some presents for a birthday party and she was like ‘for goodness sake, can we not go down the pink aisle?’
“I wouldn’t say she’s a tomboy or anything like that but she doesn’t like the unfairness of it.
“She hates the injustice that she can’t have the cool clothes. All the girls’ tops have princesses or flowers on and she doesn’t want to wear it.”
Poppy’s mum is now calling on other high street retailers, as well as H&M, to reconsider how they sell clothes to young children, especially for Halloween, when girls are expected to be cute not scary.
Jesse said: “I don’t like my clothes covered in glitter either – it’s not practical.
“Why do Halloween costumes have to be a girl or boy thing? It shouldn’t be about that at that age.
“Why shouldn’t girls be pirates? Why do the costumes have to have stupid flowers all over them?
“It’s the same with school shoes – why are the girls’ shoes all pretty and flimsy, when the boys’ are so practical and sturdy? It doesn’t need to be like that.
“My three-year-old son likes pink and purple and he doesn’t know anything different because he hasn’t learned that yet.
“This year I think she wants to be a skeleton again so we will have to shop in the boys’ section no doubt.
“H&M and other stores shouldn’t separate Halloween costumes based on gender. Why can’t they all be put together?”
A spokesperson from H&M said: “H&M’s children’s collections are always designed to be inspiring, fashionable, playful and cool with a focus on functionality, quality and safety.
“While our store layouts are currently divided into girls and boys sections, H&M have used gender neutral clothing labels for many years now. As such none of our children’s clothing, including the latest Halloween collection, is labelled as a ‘boys’ garment or a ‘girls’ garment.
“Our labelling refers to the sizing of the garment only and customers are encouraged to shop across all our children