I spent much of my childhood with my brother and his best friend, and we did things stereotypically reserved for boys.
I enjoyed my share of dolls and princess movies, but I also enjoyed going outside, playing in the dirt and playing video games. I didn't consider gender roles and how I was expected to dress “girly” and only play with dolls. I just wanted to wear what I liked and do what I enjoyed.
There should not be any gendered clothing, especially for young children. The concept of reserving pink for girls and blue for boys is not something kids need to consider. People, and especially children, should be allowed to wear what they feel comfortable in.
Gendered clothing limits a child's choices as they grow older. If their parent or guardian has been buying them clothes from the same section for years, the child will be used to this. The parent or guardian is also likely to influence them to continue wearing clothes that “follow” their gender.
According to Nikki Yeager, a Huffington Post contributor, we should be "providing a child with a range of clothing options from sparkly tutus, to blue overalls, to pink shirts ... without learning to label clothing as 'boy' or 'girl.'"
When children are young they can't pick out clothing for themselves, but that does not mean they should be forced into gendered clothing. Gender neutral and practical clothing is the best way to go at a very young age. This keeps things open for when they get older and can pick out their own clothing.
Gendered clothing can also send sexist messages. Boys' clothing often has hyper-masculine messages on it, like “I flexed so hard my sleeves fell off” or being a “little heartbreaker.” This encourages boys to be extremely focused on their masculinity and obsess over it to an unhealthy point. It also tells boys they can mistreat girls with no consequences.
Our society's gender roles assign girls to be dainty and sedentary, leaving the hard work to the boys. This is also apparent in children’s clothing in that boys will have more pockets, and have more fun active clothes.
Girls are more likely to be put in impractical clothing with prettiness being the only factor. Girls are expected to be focused on their looks, have long hair and wear dresses. It is fine for girls to want to wear feminine clothing, but when we expect this to be the only thing they are allowed to wear, it's limiting and does not allow them to explore. The same concept applies to boys as well.
Gendered clothing has a negative effect on young children and their future. It limits their sense of expression and places them in a societal role that should have nothing to do with gender in the first place. Boys and girls should be allowed to wear whatever they want to express themselves, which sets the tone in encouraging them to pursue any career or hobby in the future.