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August 19, 2020
I'll be honest...I find the word 'gender' fraught with difficulties. I think there are currently 58 gender options and I'm only confident that I could describe a handful of them. That doesn't undermine their value - it simply shows my ignorance and its complexity.
Gender has always been complex. Having kids really makes you think about the whole nature versus nurture debate. For me it was a fluffy pink, sparkly coat my Dad bought my eldest when she was 4, that really made me question where I stood on the argument on whether girls are born liking pink, or whether pink is thrust upon them right from the first pop of the gender reveal balloon. She loved it, I hated it. It stood for what I felt I stood against, namely dressing my daughter in pink sparkles.
I hadn't grown-up being a pink, sparkly girl. I was described as a 'tomboy' by everyone I knew and was regularly directed to the male toilets by women who thought I wasn't one of them due to my short hair and trousers. I hate the word 'tomboy', though at the time I loved not being recognised as a girl. I liked doing 'boys' things - climbing trees, lighting fires, playing football and was glad not to be associated with what I perceived to be the much more boring 'girls' stuff. I now cringe at the thought that activities are divided into genders and that there was even a gender-specific word to describe a girl who liked to do certain things.
Unfortunately, girls are still brought-up to believe they should be doing certain things. I recently saw a Twitter feed from a mum who had taken her 7-year old daughter to buy sportswear. Her daughter asked her why all the boys in the photos around the store were playing sports, whilst all the girls were standing with their arms around each other, or touching their hair, or at the most doing a stretch. It's no wonder that 80% of girls stop sport when they reach their teenage years. Kids are sponges; what they see and hear really matters.
I want Innae to be an inclusive and empowering brand. 'Men' and 'Women' are two huge categories and within them there's every shape and size of every curve and lump and bump. I wanted to create a 'Non-Gen' category to appeal to people who want to buy clothing that doesn't have to be put in the gender box. As I said, gender is complex and life is complex enough. Let's try and keep it simple...and equal. Innae believes in equality and this is important in sport. No-one should feel irrelevant when it comes to buying sportswear. No-one should feel defined by one box.
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