I think Mothercare's toy display reinforces outdated gender stereotypes

(155 Posts)
plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 11:38:47

I went in to mothercare recently to buy a present for my friend's first grandchild. I noticed the toys were displayed as 'girls' and 'boys' toys with large signage on the wall above. I could not believe this could be acceptable. I have sent a facebook message to mothercare and the response I got makes it clear they will not pay attention to my one message. Please get out there and either contact this retailer or boycott them until they stop this retrograde and frankly offensive way of displaying their toys.

3bunnies Tue 05-Nov-13 11:49:13

Try googling 'let toys be toys' and give them your support. None of my children are stereotypical - dd1 wants a remote control car, dd2 loves construction toys and ds wants a baby annabelle!

RoxanneReidsChafingFishnets Tue 05-Nov-13 11:50:42

I honestly don't care. My son plats with prams with tractors on. A few signs aren't going to bother him

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 11:51:14

Why didn't you ask to speak to the Manager?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 05-Nov-13 11:52:55

It doesn't bother me one bit. My girls mostly paly with 'girl' toys but they do have some 'boy' things like cars. Why do you let a sign worry you so much?

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:53:09

You should see the signs above the clothes display. Lots of talk of princesses, looking pretty on one side and getting dirty and mucky on the other one.

BlackholesAndRevelations Tue 05-Nov-13 11:55:25

Meh. Just let your kids play with and wear whatever they like. My dd loves pink, princesses etc but wants a buzz lightyear dressing up costume.

CoffeeTea103 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:55:44

Doesn't bother me a bit. You do know that you can pick toys from wherever you want, don't have to follow the signs.

SoupDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 11:58:08

WElcome to MN smile

If you look through the site, you'll see this comes up time and time again.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:58:47

OTOH, boys get picked on for playing with "girl's toys" because they see the images and associate the images with girl's stuff.

monicalewinski Tue 05-Nov-13 11:59:10

I actually prefer it laid out like that rather than all jumbled together. You can buy from whatever aisle you like btw!

Huitre Tue 05-Nov-13 12:00:29

Definitely get in touch with Let Toys be Toys. They have had a lot of success with getting shops to change this kind of signage.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 12:01:43

Why do people think it's easier having two sections?

Maybe they could just be organised into cars, dolls, tractors etc. Still easy to find - just look for the blue and pink stuff.

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 12:02:13

I hate hate hate gender-specific toys. My boys are slightly older so we're nearly out of the toy years, but they're still left with the "scars". Specifically, a recurrent fear of having some girl-like quality.

SoupDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 12:03:38

just look for the blue and pink stuff.

Which is the same as labelling it really.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 12:04:57

Those of you who say a few signs make no difference are really missing the point. The messages our children receive at a young age can have a huge affect and advertising, with it's rigid gender defined roles, is one of the biggest influences. As long as we collude with this rubbish we will remain and unequal society.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 12:06:08

Thank you I will get in touch with them

HeeHiles Tue 05-Nov-13 12:07:20

I agree it's this insipid drip drip feeding of stereotyping that starts at an early age - making it seem somehow wrong for a little boy to want to play with a pink buggy and doll.

I'm not sure it's an 'outdated stereotype' as it seems a recent thing - we didn't have this in the 80's and there is a lovely poster advertising Lego from the 70's which shows a girl in dungarees playing with lego in primary colours not the awful pink ones they have introduced recently.

I don't understand why retailers want to pigeon-hole our children? Can't they put all toys together for children instead of separating them in to girls and boys toys?

Look up Pink Stinks too - they are doing a lot of work to knock this stupidity on the head!

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 12:07:22

I was at a gift shop last week.

There were door hangers with names on. All the boys' names had superheroes on and were blue.

The girls' ones were all pink and had my little Princess on. I took a picture on my profile. They're next to the blue and pink toothbrushes with names on.

I know there's nothing wrong with pink and blue. But why aren't there more colours used?

SoupDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 12:08:20

The messages our children receive at a young age can have a huge affect

Except that they can't read the signs so they are irrelevant. It is how the adults in their lives behave that is the important factor

RoxanneReidsChafingFishnets Tue 05-Nov-13 12:09:01

My son cant read. Signs dont affect him

decaffwithcream Tue 05-Nov-13 12:16:50

Mothercare own the Early Learning Centre.

A couple of years ago the ELC produced girls and boys versions of the globe.

Boys one had blue seas and green land masses.

Girls one had pale pink seas and hot pink land masses.

Mind-boggling.

It's a great strategy for them since they can rely on selling far more toys if a girl is convinced they should have a pink version of their brothers toy and a boy is convinced they can't have a pink toy. Far less hand me downs, lots more needless purchasing. The clothes retailers have certainly been massively successful getting rid of the idea of unisex children's clothes.

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 12:22:53

excellent point, decaf. I guess I'm lucky that I have two of the same gender. I can tell you NEITHER Of my boys would use anything that had even a "whiff" of girl.

Interestingly, people confronted with this very scenario tend to buy blue if they can't find a classic neutral (green/yellow) because it's less insulting for a girl to ride in a blue pushchair than a boy to ride in a pink one.

Interesting.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 12:27:47

Children can't read so it doesn't have any affect? Just because children can't technically read doesn't mean they don't recognise words and all of the 'boys' or 'girls' stuff in one section defined by colour etc will get the idea through to them. Anyway do you think children stop visitin toy shops as soon as they can read? When I say 'outdated' it is precisely because this didn't happen when my children were young in the 80's and 90's and people seemed to have an awareness of the issue. I can't believe we have taken this backward step as a society.

AChristmassyJerseySpud Tue 05-Nov-13 12:37:26

I just can't get excited about this.

DD1 spent years being obssesed with Thomas the Tank Engine and has only just got super girly by her own choice at nearly 7. and even then loves playing super heros with her friend who is a boy. (this boy she also used to dress up in princess dresses)

DD2 is a law unto herself and will only watch Fireman Sam at the moment. she pushes a pram around with her baby in, wearing a fire hat announcing that she is 'to the rescooo'

So yeah. Can't get excited.

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