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I think Mothercare's toy display reinforces outdated gender stereotypes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.

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 12:40:33

Christmassy, I think you've got some great girls there. I fear, however, it may not work out so well for others because I know a lot of mothers who are royally pissed off about the princessification of their daughters. I don't have a daughter myself so have no first-hand experience.

SoupDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 12:59:48

Children can't read so it doesn't have any affect?

No, it doesn't. Children see toys it is what adults say and do that is important.

SoupDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 13:00:40

Anyway do you think children stop visitin toy shops as soon as they can read?

Of course not. However, by then any "damage" is done.

Sokmonsta Tue 05-Nov-13 13:11:15

Crowler - you are absolutely right. When faced between a choice of pink or blue left handed scissors for dd, I chose the blue ones. Yet I'm constantly telling her ds can have the pink plate if he wants, colours are for everyone!

I side-stepped a blue v pink single pushchair for my b/g twins when one goes to grandparents by getting black and white.

I prefer to choose primary colour to avoid having to explain to dd1 and ds1 that pink isn't just for girls and blue isn't just for boys. I'm hoping to have cracked it before dts start on about it.

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5madthings Tue 05-Nov-13 13:16:58

yanbu do check out the lettoysbetoys campaign on fb. it started out here on mnet.

and of course advertising has an effect, retailers and manufacturers woukdnt spend millions on it if it didnt.

when all the pictures used to advertise say dolls are all of girls playing witj them it gives the message it is a girls toy.

there was a thread in feminist section thd other day re nerf guns.

the whole pink/blue divide is shit and reinfirces negative gender steteotypes.

children ebem young toddlers do pick up on these messages.

newmum001 Tue 05-Nov-13 13:17:36

I never understand it when people get worked up about things like this. You can buy from either section you know it really doesn't matter.

quesadilla Tue 05-Nov-13 13:19:55

I wouldn't let a sign bother me that much but I do think Mothercare is desperately unimaginative on this front. Their clothes are very gender segregated.

noblegiraffe Tue 05-Nov-13 13:22:21

My DS when he was 3 and definitely couldn't read went around Toys R Us saying 'that's for girls, that's for boys'. He went by the colour and whether there was a picture of a boy or a girl on the box. Some board games had a boy and a girl and he said 'both boys and girls can play this!'

I'd never mentioned anything about pink and blue to him, btw, he had picked it up from the childminder/pre-school.

So no, they don't need to be able to read to feel that some toys aren't for them.

beela Tue 05-Nov-13 13:27:27

The toy selection in Mothercare is fairly rubbish (and expensive), whether it is split boy/girl or not.

MindyWiller Tue 05-Nov-13 13:48:43

To be honest, a child who is still having toys from mothercare probably wont be affected by what a sign says.

my son is very much a "boy" - cars, superheroes, toolbench etc, but he has also asked for a dolls house and likes baking.

i think this gender thing only worries parents not younger children, and if you don't make an issue of it it wont become one.

everlong Tue 05-Nov-13 14:03:45

What difference does the sign make?

They are still split into boys and girls toys.

Makes it easier to find what you're looking for.

HeeHiles England Tue 05-Nov-13 14:07:44

That's the point though Everlong - why girls and boys toys? My dd's want to play with cars and trains - but these are marketed as boys toys - I know boys who want to play with dolls - but these are marketed as girls toys.

Why can't there be a toy department like we had when I was a child and things came in red, yellow, green, purple - lots of lovely colours!

Scoutfinch1 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:14:26

I agree that by the time they can read the message of 'girls' toys and 'boys' toys is already ingrained. I was shopping for toys for dd yesterday and had the same rant on why they feel the need to make pink versions of everything which only implies that girls need different toys. Dd is 14 weeks! 14 weeks, how can this be an issue already?

Feminine Tue 05-Nov-13 14:17:03

I don't think it makes one bit of difference TBH.

Kids have always played with what they want. The boys don't see pink and think they can't have it!

My eldest is only 15, so grew up with the 'portioned' sections...he had a pram etc...

I think this is an agenda for parents, another thing for parents of very young children to get their knickers in a twist! grin

By the time they are teens, you wonder what on earth you were fussing about.

Shops...they are hard work no matter how it is arranged!

everlong Tue 05-Nov-13 14:18:22

Because the majority of children play with toys for their gender.

If your dd wants a tractor buy her one. It's no big deal walking up the boy's toy aisle is it?

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:19:24

Why is the tractor in the boy's aisle?

Why not in the cars / vehicle aisle?

everlong Tue 05-Nov-13 14:22:56

Because the word boy covers everything.

RoxanneReidsChafingFishnets Tue 05-Nov-13 14:24:53

If there was no truth to the blue for boys and pink for girls thing them it wouldn't be a thing.

Its like the Kinder Egg thing. They did a survey and came back that a high percentage of people liked the two colour idea

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:27:02

What truth is the blue for boys, pink for girls idea?

lackingideas Tue 05-Nov-13 14:29:10

I hate it too. But if you think mothercare is bad, you should see toys r us! Every time I go I say I won't go back again... but unfortunately convenience tends to win over principles at the moment.

CinammonGirl Tue 05-Nov-13 14:32:42

I can't say it really bothers me - my DD loves to dress as a fairy but her favourite toys are her dinosaurs, Thomas the tank engine and Woody from Toy Story. My cousins DS loves to "cook" and will play all day with his toy kitchen - let them play with whatever they like

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:34:56

So why, if children will play with all manner of toys, do they need to apply a label?

3bunnies Tue 05-Nov-13 14:40:09

Why though should dd2 think that she might in someway be a boy instead of a girl because she likes construction toys? I don't think 'boy' does cover everything. She is 6 and quite able to read - ds can read boy and girl at 4 and certainly is in mothercare target age range. I also hate the unnecessary pinkification of everything - I was not impressed when the shop assistant tried to persuade me that dd2 should really have a pink globe because she is a girl. When she lives on a pink planet maybe, but until then will stick with blue & green.

I'm not saying pink is wrong - it is dd1's favourite colour and she will be delighted with her pink 'blu' tack in her stocking, but dd2 is not less of a girl because she is getting blu tack, nor ds more or less of a boy because he likes green - though will have to put up with white tac! Children do notice - mine were discussing the other day how unfair it was that the best toys are boys toys even though most toys we actually own are unisex.

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