A small bra company that exclusively designs underwear for adolescent girls has been criticised for being ‘too gendered’.
A social worker made a complaint via Facebook after noticing brand Yellowberry were “fixed in the binary idea of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’” and thus not inclusive of intersex, trans and non-binary adolescents.
“I would love to see you offer non-gendered undergarments so your products reached all of the children who need simple, clean undergarments for their growing bodies,” the complainant wrote.
INTERSEX AND NONBINARY TEENS NEED BRAS. An advocate contacted Yellowberry about their gendered products and advertising, and this was their totally unacceptable reply. pic.twitter.com/iKpsND9mgl— Rabbit KM (@BathysphereHat) December 30, 2017
However, the label’s initial reply sparked something of a firestorm on social media.
A representative from Yellowberry said, “our market is strictly tween/teen girls. We don’t feel that growing boys need bras.”
The issue is clearly a hot-button topic online, with plenty of commenters coming out to defend both the gender-neural and gendered stance after the exchange was posted on Twitter.
Good on @YellowberryCo for speaking the truth to sex deniers. The company was formed specifically so that GIRLS would no longer be sexualized by the male gaze. They clearly don't believe in this unscientific, anti-evidentiary faith based system. Stop invading GIRLS' spaces.— CriticalTransParent (@PeakTransMom) December 31, 2017
fantastic..... a retailer with common sense who wont bow to emotional blackmail, manipulation and the demand that we deny material reality and the FACTS OF HUMAN BIOLOGY; BOYS - JUVENILE HUMAN MALES - do not have breasts and therefore do not need bras!!! Yeah for SANITY!!!— Sahila ChangeBringer (@Kiwigirl58) December 31, 2017
The discussion also kicked off on mums forum Mumsnet where one person wrote, “It's an item of clothing, that's all. No group owns any item of clothing.”
“Boys can wear bras if they choose to. Just as girls are ‘allowed’ to wear trousers instead of skirts,” another agreed, while a third countered, “This is absolute madness. We’re not going to be able to have adverts for sanitary products aimed at women soon.”
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After hearing about the controversy, the company’s owner got in touch and immediately apologised for the initial response, and has since copped flak from those on the other side of the argument.
“Yellowberry bras are made for anyone and everyone who feels that they would like to wear a Yellowberry product!” owner Megan Grassell wrote.
“I sincerely apologise for the incorrect and insensitive way that my team handled your question.
“It is our purpose as a brand to make every young person feel comfortable and confident in their skin - no matter what!”
Are your bras a ‘dress up’ item then, or are they for supporting growing breasts?— Lily Maynard (@LilyLilyMaynard) December 31, 2017
Thank you so much Megan, I see you've been getting a lot of hate for your response by people who aren't too fond of trans folks and I really wish it weren't the case. Your response was immensely kind and thoughtful.— Avis Nigris (@AvisNigris) January 1, 2018