A popular Australian sleepwear brand has been forced to pull a boy’s jumper from sale after a mother complained the clothing item contained a ‘sexist statement’.

Peter Alexander Sleepwear removed the controversial ‘Boys will be boys’ top from its catalogue on Wednesday, a week after the complaint was lodged.

‘Boy won’t be boys. Boys will be held accountable for their actions,’ Melbourne woman Bridie Harris wrote on the business’ Facebook page.

‘I hate to see an Australian store, who makes such great pjs, put such a sexist statement on a t-shirt intended for young boys. Excusing boys of their behaviour is not a step in the right direction. It’s 2018.’

A Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee initially responded to the post saying the feedback would be passed on to the design and production team.

They then informed Ms Harris, who had first spotted the jumper in-store, the brand had decided to stop selling the jumper.

‘I just wanted to update you and again thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us and bringing this to our attention. We do not tolerate the behaviour that is being associated with this slogan,’ a Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee wrote.

‘In the light of your feedback, we have decided to withdraw this item from sale.’

Ms Harris, who has a two-year-old daughter, told The Sydney Morning Herald she was glad the jumper was no longer being sold as she did not want her little girl ‘to think if someone pushes her on the playground it’s just “boys will be boys”‘.

‘I want her to stand up and tell someone and be able to feel safe, playing in playground or walking home at night as an adult,’ Ms Harris said.

The jumper had been marketed online with the tag line: ‘Boys will be boys, so leave them to it in this warm and cosy quilted sweater. Perfect for winter adventures’.

Ms Harris’ concerns were followed up by another complaint on the day the jumper was withdrawn from sale.

One commentator on Facebook said they ‘interpret the “slogan” as a child will get up to mischief where they break things, throw balls on roofs’ and another said ‘I find the current over the top PC culture toxic’. EXACTLY!

And a domestic violence victim, Jenny, told 3AW the decision to axe the jumper was ‘ridiculous’.

‘It has to stop. This has gone too far. There’s so many rules that nobody can be themselves any more,’ Jenny said.

What is WRONG with boys being boys?

I knew before I finished reading this article it just had to be a mum of girls jumping to the conclusion that there was something wrong with the slogan that “boys will be boys.”

WHY does it always have to be so terrible?

I have asked the question before,We Empower Young Girls Every Day But What About Our Boys?

YES domestic violence is out of control, there is no denying that. But WHY do we always put that label onto our young boys. Little boys! Children!

It is not their cross to burden, surely?

We have mums proudly declaring that they teach their girls to kick boys in the balls. How is that OK?!

As a mum of boys these posts really frustrate me. Boys are NOT all bad and are certainly not all sexual deviants. There is NOTHING wrong with boys being boys.

Just because something says “boys will be boys” does that instantly have to be interpreted as boys will be mean? Or that boys are bad?

Surely the ‘boys will be boys term has adapted (or should be!) with the times the same as everything else?

How does a slogan (words!) on a PJ top mean something terribly dreadful?

Boys CAN be dirty, smelly, rough and loud. (so can girls from what I hear!)

But boys CAN ALSO be sweet, loving, cute, cuddly, gentle, quiet, caring, anxious, emotional little balls of love just like girls.

They can wear princess dresses and play with dolls like this mum shared. They can be free to dress like Elsa as this little boys does.

They are not always the one in the wrong. Girls can be too.

Aussie men ARE damaged, but please don’t write our boys off just yet!

Author, Tim Winton, spoke on The Interview this week saying how we too often shame the sweet and tenderness out of boys.

“All boys are lovely tender hearted creatures when they are small. Full of kindness and curiousity.

“Sadly after the age of 10 it starts to be shamed (even beaten) out of them due to the culture around them and other influences.

“To see these boys who are reservoirs of tenderness, drying up and just becoming this narrow, cracked dry creek that really just runs on for the rest of their lives for many of them.”

“They start out with all the colours and then they are left with black, purple and dark blue.”

As a mum of boys, it breaks your heart to hear that!

It’s up to you. It’s up to ALL of us.  Boys need good, strong, positive role models. All kids do.  If you think a child needs that in their life, then BE THAT role model.

Tim Winton says too often boys are left to work it out for themselves because we are too scared to take control as a parent.

Boys (all kids) need more guidance. They need boundaries! Don’t be scared to PARENT your child. Don’t fear being labelled an “uncool parent”. Step up!

Tim adds that women, strong mother’s, have a huge influence on their sons lives. More than they think. It’s not all up to dad to raise the perfect man.

So why not just let a slogan on a PJ top, be just that. Words. Nothing more, nothing less.

PLEASE let’s not label all boys as nothing but monsters from a dreadfully young age.

Rant over. (Sorry!)

Signed, Mum of two AMAZING boys. (Yes, they can sometimes be arseholes, but that’s OK! So can girls!) x

Share your comments below

Read more:

  • In my opinion – there is nothing wrong with it at all.


  • This is political correctness gone cray cray – boys attitudes have nothing to do with a slogan on a t shirt some people need to get a life when there are real issues going on in the world.


  • All good, we need to teach boys to not expect to behave better, make the next generation more rounded. I agree with Tim Winton too. If we want women to do less housework and women to be treated as equal and with respect then it starts with boys knowing they cannot be excused for their actions that may hurt someone.


  • I personally don’t have a problem with “Boys Will Be Boys”, having grown up with 4 brothers of my own and 3 boys that were the sons of our baby-sitter. Maybe if the top had little muddy hand/foot prints or something similar, it might not have caused such affront. The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction, that nobody seems to see the sense of fun or humor in anything anymore…
    sugar and spice and all things nice…snakes and snails and puppy dog tails…applies to all children, it’s not ‘gender specific’ anymore


  • This is ridiculous and way over the top! These idiots are taking things out of context. The phrase ‘boys will be boys’ is used as an expression for the cheeky and mischievious behaviour of young boys and is not meant to excuse more extreme behaviour! Boys will be boys is the perfect term to describe my boy being outside for half an hour and coming back in covered in mud. Seriously? Stop the politically correct bull crap!


  • Geez, as a society, I think we’ve lost the plot!


  • It’s just what you read into it. Could be innocent or not depending on your way of thinking.


  • Boys will be boys =sexual??? When I hear that term I see boys outside in the dirt with toy cars or a messy teen in his stinky room reading comics.


  • Firstly, let’s redefine or look at what that statement means. I’m the Mum of a boy and that top does not bother me at all. Would I buy it? No, but it doesn’t bother me. I have seen many shocking girl tops with slogans that I would never allow a daughter of mine to wear, but I don’t see people jumping up and down too much. Let our boys be who they want to be. Let’s not label them, but allow them to be who they want to be. My son is kind, respectful, loyal, empathetic to a fault, sensitive, funny and loving. Too many words to fit onto a PJ top.


  • I wonder if that same mother would complain about a girls jumper that said sugar and spice and all things nice? Kids don’t understand writing in their clothing most times, but what they do pick up on is the attitudes of their parents. You might not agree with it, so don’t buy it… if it contained swear words or something derogatory, that would be a different story and I would complain.


  • I have a similar jumper and same writing on it I didn’t think of the writing that way


  • Some people are reading too much into the slogan.


  • As soon as I heard it, I took it as boys will play in the mud and get dirty etc. The only issue is that girls do that too so as long as the girls have an equivalent jumper, I see no harm. I think people are taking things just a little bit too far.


  • There’s a song by stella Donnelly called ‘boys will be boys’ and that is all I can think of now when I hear someone use that slogan. Like someone else commented, it’s not being a boy that is the problem, it’s being a man who thinks that being a man can be used against someone else. But unfortunately that type of thinking begins when you are a boy, told to you by society or maybe even your own parents. So yes, I’m glad they’ve decided to pull the shirt. Because I have a son (my sweetest, more emotional child), but I also have daughters and I am terrified that they could end up on the news as a girl murdered/raped in a park in the dark. So yes, everything people say or do now is being scrutinised more heavily than before, because people are realising that something has to change.
    Perhaps you should use some more critical thinking to understand the message being sent, and why it may be offensive to (a lot of) other people.

    Why was she all alone
    Wearing her shirt that low?
    They said, “Boys will be boys”
    Deaf to the word “no”


  • Seriously?? Are we that precious that every little statement/ phrase has to be dissected and rejected because one person has over thought it ? Why didn’t Peter Alexander just come out with a GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS shirt in response ?

    • People should definitely be scrutinising things like this. Girls will be girls is just as problematic, dismissing behaviour because it fits with gender stereotypes is no longer acceptable. As someone else commented, it should say ‘kids will be kids’.


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