Céline Dion defends controversial gender neutral kids clothing line

CELINUNUNU promotional video on Celine Dion's new gender-neutral clothing line for children, released on November 13, 2018.(YouTube/CELINUNUNU)

Céline Dion has denied trying to shift gender norms with her controversial children's clothing line.

The Célinununu range, a collaboration with Nununu, is a new gender-neutral line that supposedly 'liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect'.

Skulls, stars and crosses feature heavily in the largely monochromatic range, as do baggy trousers and oversized tops.

Its launch last month was promoted by a bizarre commercial in which Dion can be seen blowing black glitter into the air in a neonatal unit, at which point the babies' clothing is transformed from the traditional blue and pink into black and white.

In the advert, Dion makes the claim: 'Our children — they are not really our children, as we are all just links in a never-ending chain that is life.'

Among those pushing back against the clothing line is exorcist and Roman Catholic priest Msgr. John Esseff, who says he can see 'satanic' influences in the designs.

Dion has defended the line in a new interview with Refinery29 in which she said the aim was to help children find their own identities beyond stereotypes.

'It's not that we're hoping to shift gender norms with Célinununu,' she said.

'It's more about offering [a] choice and giving children a chance to feel free to find their own individuality, their own true essence without being tied to stereotypes.

'I think that every child needs to have their own identity, to express themselves freely, and [to] not feel like they have to be like someone else.'

She went on to say that the pushback was 'normal' and that she had also had positive feedback from 'people who understand that I'm not trying to tell parents how to raise their children'.

'Every parent should do what they feel is right for them and for their children. We're just offering other choices and letting them know that you don't have to follow stereotypes,' she said. 

Mgr Esseff believes the clothing line is part of a broader assault on traditional gender definitions.

'The devil is going after children by confusing gender,' he said. 'When a child is born, what is the first things we say about that child? It's a boy, or it's a girl. That is the most natural thing in the world to say. But to say that there is no difference is satanic.'

He added: 'People behind this are influencing children to disorder. This is definitely satanic. There is a mind behind it — an organised mindset.'