Clarks criticised for '˜sexist' dolly babe shoe range

Footwear firm Clarks has sparked a sexism row after naming a girls' shoe range Dolly Babe and a boys' line Leader.

Sunday, 13th August 2017, 5:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:22 pm
Screengrab from the John Lewis website taken 13/08/17 showing a shoe from the Clarks Dolly Babe range.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those to criticise the well-known company, which has apologised for any offence caused.

The Dolly Babe range, featuring a heart print detail, has been withdrawn from the website and the firm said it is removing the name from in-store products.

The Leader footwear, which carries a football image, remains on sale online in the boys’ school shoes section.

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Screengrab from the Clarks website taken 13/08/17 showing a shoe from its boys' Leader range.

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “It is almost beyond belief that in 2017 a major company could think this is in any way acceptable. Shows what we are still up against.”

Laura Waddell, a publishing manager at HarperCollins, wrote: “Clarks have named range of girls’ school shoes ‘Dolly Babe’ while the boys’ equivalent is called ‘Leader’. Out of touch, sexist & insulting.”

Replying to Ms Sturgeon, a Twitter user by the name of Tod said: “my daughter went though all phases from dolly babe to goth. It’s called choice &made no difference to her self esteem/worth.”

Clarks released a statement saying the Dolly Babe range is “an old and discontinued line, with only remaining stock being sold through our stores”.

Screengrab from the Clarks website taken 13/08/17 showing a shoe from its boys' Leader range.

It said it had removed the shoe from sale online “following customer feedback regarding the name” and added it is currently working to remove the name from remaining in-store stock.

It added: “We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender neutral ethos and we apologise for any unintended offence caused.”