To think mumsnet are helping promote sexist attitudes

(198 Posts)
YoniFoolsAndHorses Fri 31-May-13 15:36:06

Re "girl" and "boy" toys.

I am a 'Mumsnet panelist' and regularly fill in a load of little surveys. I have never win any of the £50 amazon prizes, but actually I have never minded that at all. I can do the little surveys easily on my phone in a few minutes, and I like to think that it's doing my bit to keep mumsnet getting bigger and better.

Until this afternoon.

Until I get a survey about toy cars and trucks to which I would only be elegible to answer if I had a son.

My daughter plays with similar cars and trucks. We know the make involved well. She has fantastic and reasoned opinions on the toys involved too (we tried the survey together - although I didn't submit it - I just answered the first question incorrectly and said she was a boy).

How can this possibly be right that mumsnet is allowing such sexist marketing to continue around 'girl' and 'boy' toys?

<Goes to find out how to withdraw from getting any more surveys as feel very disenchanted with the set up now>.

AngryGnome Fri 31-May-13 15:45:24

That doesn't sound great confused have you emailed mnhq?

OddBoots Fri 31-May-13 15:47:00

Hopefully they have a good reason, if not then this is rather disappointing. confused

DuelingFanjo Fri 31-May-13 15:48:02

Maybe All mums with boys should refuse to respond?

HollyBerryBush Fri 31-May-13 15:51:07

The manufacturer will have a specific reason - I think MN are only interested in the revenue.

OHforDUCKScake Fri 31-May-13 15:53:44

Mumsnet panalist? What does this mean? I want to amswer questions too.


ivanapoo Fri 31-May-13 15:53:55

What Holly said... MNHQ is it REALLY true you can't buy positive reviews/recommendations?

But who can blame them? It's not a public bloody service and they need to make money somehow.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 31-May-13 15:57:26

Personally I am always a bit hmm, when I read that MN only employ 8 men out of 68 staff, and they, I think with the exception of 1 of them, are all techies.

Actually, I am not sure now whether that post is now for your argument, or against it blush confused hmm

WorraLiberty Fri 31-May-13 15:58:11

There's already a thread about this in the test products topic

Perhaps MN don't know what's in the email?

meganorks Fri 31-May-13 15:59:32

The reason will be because they are trying to reach their core target market. So while there are plenty of girls who have and enjoy those sorts is toys, the majority will be sold to boys. I bet the surveys aren't for dads to fill in either. They want to speak to mums as usually they are the purchase decision maker.

YoniFoolsAndHorses Fri 31-May-13 16:02:57

Sigh. I guess I am just disappointed. Yes, I have emailed too.

The reasons why there are "girl" and "boy" toys is complicated but not rocket science. And I refuse to believe my girl is in such a small minority. She loves cars and trucks! As all children are wont to do, when they are not shunned by the manufacturers themselves.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-May-13 18:23:40

Hi there
Thanks for your comments here -
We do appreciate where you're coming from but this is the particular group that the client wanted responses from in this instance and we will of course pass on this feedback.
Thanks again

CloudsAndTrees Fri 31-May-13 18:28:22

You have had the answer from MNHQ now, but I would have said anyway that I'd have thought that the company probably wanted to know what parents of boys thought about their product. It's simple enough, not sexist at all.

Would you have said it was ageist if there was a survey aimed at the parents of toddlers rather than teenagers?

StuntGirl Fri 31-May-13 18:45:23

"We do appreciate where you're coming from but this is the particular group that the client wanted responses from in this instance"

I'd rather Mumsnet worked with clients who don't promote sexism.

GlitzPig Fri 31-May-13 18:53:22

I'd rather Mumsnet stayed free, so am happy for them to accept money from companies wanting product research done. Just don't fill in the survey if you disagree with it smile

CloudsAndTrees Fri 31-May-13 18:54:06

I'd rather they work with anyone who's willing to pay them so that I can continue to use their website for free!

clarinetV2 Fri 31-May-13 18:56:45

Agree with StuntGirl. I don't think mumsnet should be promoting this company - which they are doing if they distribute the survey.

Clouds, I can understand a company wanting to analyse results by gender to target their marketing if they feel the need, but just wanting to know what parents of boys think about their product indicates they are making a whole lot of assumptions about girls' toys versus boys' toys. It's not the same as a survey aimed at parents of toddlers versus parents of teens, as the groups are at very different developmental stages. I think it's OK to make assumptions about (most) toddlers having distinct tastes and preferences from (most) teens, but it's no longer OK to assume the same of little girls and little boys.

Portofino Fri 31-May-13 18:59:13

What clarinet said above. The let toys be toys campaign, which originated here, is having some success so I do think MNHQ should back that up.

ParsingFancy Fri 31-May-13 19:01:05

Olivia, could you please ask why the survey is boys only? Did they say "boys" by mistake for "children"?

I'm sure the Let Toys Be Toys campaign will be interested either way - if there's a good answer or if it's a slip.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 31-May-13 19:06:08

Maybe mumsnet should charge more if a company wants to target just boys or just girls - they can quote the Let Toys Be Toys campaign as the reason.

If companies really want that data alone, they can have it, but they'll be put off being sexist by the higher price.

5madthings Fri 31-May-13 19:09:25

I think this is a bit of a cop put by mnet tbh.

Why help reinforce gender stereotypes in the children's toy market. It is sexist and its not OK to descriminate in this way.

MrsDeVere Fri 31-May-13 19:10:10

But the company are perpetuating the idea that only boys play with cars.
So how is that good for anyone?

There is no good reason why the campaign should be targeted at boys only.

The company are deciding that it is only for boy based on what exactly?

MrsDeVere Fri 31-May-13 19:12:22

oh come off it!

You really don't care with who they work with as long as you are not charged.

What anyone?

Hardcore Porn?
Companies offering Pole Dancing Pamper Parties for 8 year old girls (oops sorry, Netmums has already cornered that particular market)

CloudsAndTrees Fri 31-May-13 19:15:37

I don't see why it's sexist to want to know what parents if boys think about something, I really don't. Maybe I'm missing something.

It makes sense to me to target research.

Yama Fri 31-May-13 19:17:24

MNHQ - adding my voice to the disapproval felt by allowing such sexist partners.

ParsingFancy Fri 31-May-13 19:19:54

Yes, CloudsAndTrees, you are missing something.

Would you explain to us why you would target research into cars and trucks like this?

StuntGirl Fri 31-May-13 19:21:17

A leading brand such as Mumsnet with a large vocal following needs to worry very little about turning down money from companies touting sexist agendas. I am saddened to see them decide money is more important than discouraging sexism.

ashesgirl Fri 31-May-13 19:22:01

Clouds, the point is that the toy industry is very sexist and makes a lot of assumptions about girls and boys.

Very often, science toys will be put under a boys' sign in a store which is incredibly outdated and gives off messages to girls that science is for the other gender, as just one example. Then you wonder why there is such a shortage of girls entering science careers.

You'll often see kitchens, cleaning toys, nurse outfits only aimed at girls. Why? It's not the 1950s anymore.

It's pretty sad to see MN reinforcing these messages, even indirectly, when we really should be moving on from this. Lots of little girls like trucks too, it makes no sense.

StuntGirl Fri 31-May-13 19:22:16

Because cars and trucks require a penis to enjoy fancy, duh!

OddBoots Fri 31-May-13 19:25:10

There is a very good diagram to help in these cases here

StuntGirl Fri 31-May-13 19:27:21

oddboots grin

FairPhyllis Fri 31-May-13 19:28:56

There's no reason to conduct surveys among parents of boys specifically unless you're going to target marketing at them. Thereby suggesting that this is a toy for boys and reinforcing the gendering of toys at an early age.

Not good, MNHQ <Paddington Bear stare>

Would you have partnered with a company that wanted to survey parents of white children only?

GadaboutTheGreat Fri 31-May-13 19:33:40

Why couldn't the manufacturer just have the first question asking what gender the child is, then they could filter the responses as they want afterwards. Simple, non? confused

wigglesrock Fri 31-May-13 19:34:21

I think it's a bit of a joke for Mumsnet to have Pink Stinks slogan on their home page and then by association imply that there are actually boys and girls toys.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 31-May-13 19:48:26

Hmmm I have long thought MNhq has double standards when it suits.

The McDonalds advertising is just plain wrong(but makes a buck),ditto this.

You can complain all you like but they won't budge.

DorisIsWaiting Fri 31-May-13 19:52:43

I looked at my inbox this afternoon and had the same hmm as the OP.

If MN are fully insupport of the let toys be toys campaign then surely the questionnaire should have for parents with children.

The gender bias in the sampling stinks of the marketing that follows, that cars and trucks can only be for boys.

And so MNHQ help perpetuate the status quo rather than challenging it.

Poor show MNHQ this should and could have been dealt with better.

Mintyy Fri 31-May-13 20:00:04

I believe HQ did a thread gathering opinions about McDonald's advertising and the vast majority of respondents were neutral.

Its not the same as that at all. Mumsnet have put their voice behind a very succesful "Let Toys Be Toys" campaign ... and then promote this "survey". It is poor form imvho.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 31-May-13 20:02:17

I agree that the toy industry can be sexist in many ways, but I don't see the problem with asking a certain group of parents. That's not the same as actually labelling and displaying toys as for boys or girls.

I agree that toys shouldn't be marketed to a specific gender, but it's a fact that there are more boys than girls that will be interested in trucks and trains. That's a fact, whether people want to admit it or not.

whosiwhatsit Fri 31-May-13 20:05:08

Mumsnet hq could just as easily have taken a stand and turned down the clients request to only have parents of boys answer. I'm quite disappointed in their response in this thread that seems to be just trying to shift the blame. Poor show indeed.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 31-May-13 20:07:02

I couldn't give a stuff- it's wrong.So wrong advertising like this aimed at kids will be gone eventually.

I find it double standards when a parenting site bangs on about bfing,complains re any formula advertising but willingly advertises food targeted at kids which has a far bigger impact on childhood (and adult) health in this country.

We can all choose apparently,well we can all choose formula or pink toys then.

Double standards,it's perfectly obvious tat standing up to junk food advertising aimed at kids isn't as cool,headline grabbing or money jeopardising as Pink Stinks etc,etc.

BIWI Fri 31-May-13 20:10:04

That's brilliant, OldBoots! grin

Olivia - I think you'll find that you've let us down, you've let Mumsnet down but most of all, you've let yourself down <hard stare>

LinusVanPelt Fri 31-May-13 20:22:24

Imagine if the survey asked only parents of "white British children" to give their opinion on certain toys.

What would MNs reaction be to that survey request? To turn it down flat? Maybe to insist that the phrasing be amended to make it inclusive before agreeing to facilitate it?

Then let's pretend hmm that sexism matters as much as racism.

Why should the response be any different?

Given that (according to a poster on a related thread) the questionnaire asks whether the child is a boy or a girl, it looks very much like the request for "parents of boys" was simply based on the offensive assumption that "children who play with cars and trucks" = "boys".

If Mumsnet really thinks it has no role in challenging that kind of assumption, based on "that's what the client asked for," that is very disappointing.

ouryve Fri 31-May-13 20:22:39

I'm miffed that I never got this one, so I can't even grumble about it!

I don't see why MNHQ couldn't have insisted that parents of all children respond. The manufacturer might just have learnt that they're needlessly restricting the size of their target market. Or they might have learnt that girls who like cars and trucks will choose them regardless. What's the point in having customer surveys if they don't ask all the potential customers, though? If, for example, a meat supplier wanted a survey on public attitudes to meat eating, but specified that vegetarians should not participate, then the results wouldn't exactly be reliable.

YoniFoolsAndHorses Fri 31-May-13 20:32:21

I am glad I am not the only one to be miffed. But still very disappointed (perhaps more so now, with the official mumsnet response!)

bailo Fri 31-May-13 20:47:05

I think the accusations of sexism here are misdirected. The company don't promote anything, they are trying to find out what the market will buy. If the general public bought these toys to any great extent for girls the company would survey girls. Blame the attitudes of the general public. I'd like to see any of those moaning on here try to start a business selling toys and then ignore the most profitable target demographics, the business would sink without trace.

ParsingFancy Fri 31-May-13 20:55:56

But... how will the company find out whether girls are buying (or indeed would start to buy) these toys without surveying them?confused

bailo Fri 31-May-13 21:00:37

By employing any of the many other market research techniques at their disposal other than sending online surveys to randomers on internet forums.

TiggyD Fri 31-May-13 21:04:20

And it is 'Mumsnet'...

[Sally Bercow Face]

ParsingFancy Fri 31-May-13 21:04:53

But why pay MN for "sending online surveys to randomers on internet forums" and then restrict your results like that?

That's why I'm wondering if it was actually a slip of the tongue, so to speak, to say boys instead of children.

ashesgirl Fri 31-May-13 21:05:14

If the market was predominantly white children whose parents bought an item, would it be ok to just put out an advert to survey white children? The only difference here is that's deemed acceptable to discriminate by gender.

CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 21:15:14

It's all arse about tit. Or bollocks.

A bit of marketing advice, Tonka. Expand your market. But do it by going for those who would be interested in your product, not by what's in their pants. Why would you not want to know what all children think? Just think of all those truck girls whose pounds you are not attracting. Or what if loads of girls are already buying them. How will you know?

But, if you knee-jerk on this, MNHQ will cut off your route to this research-rich well if you pinkify the trucks. Because the glaringly obvious is needed to catch their eye and get a frowny emoticon. Fortunately, there are on the ball MNers who will keep them on their toes.

p.s. your metal trucks were miles better than the plastic ones.

AngryGnome Fri 31-May-13 21:21:33

I agree that the response from hq is pretty disappointing. Yes, of course MN is a business, and needs money if it I going to continue free access. But, on the other hand MN also positions itself as a campaigning body, and accepting clients that reinforce the sexist values that MN campaigns against...well, it's just a bit silly isn't it?

I can't imagine that mnhq are short of clients who want to get their market research mitts on us, so it is difficult to understand why they didn't a) work with the company to remove the everyday sexism present in their survey or b) refuse to work with them if they wouldn't remove the sexist attitude.

careful coaldust. They might try to win you over by painting all the trucks a pretty perhaps hmm

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 31-May-13 21:27:58

CoalDust well put. And Tonka, if you think girls don't like trucks then that's not surprising given the extent of your research!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 31-May-13 21:28:26

Norks also well put! grin

Ilikethebreeze Fri 31-May-13 21:32:25

To be fair to MN, they do not make that much money.
Yes, their turnover is £4 million, but that is not the same as profit.
I think their profit is about £2 million, but that has to be divided amongst 7 of them?

JacqueslePeacock Fri 31-May-13 21:32:59

Very unimpressed with this - definitely not the kind of survey I would have expected Mumsnet to be promoting.

Smudging Fri 31-May-13 21:48:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 21:49:36

But throwing your principles out of the window when cash is flashed is very meh.

Not much in the not-very-feminist-really stakes surprises me from MNHQ, though. Sad to say. Though this did. I thought this kind of thing was right up their street.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 31-May-13 21:50:24

Ilikethebreeze Oh and 300 grand is peanuts. hmm

Ilikethebreeze Fri 31-May-13 21:52:18

Well, now you put it like that, Neo, it is rather a lot isnt it? grin

Viviennemary Fri 31-May-13 21:54:35

I'm not usually very 'militant' about this kind of thing. But it does seem wrong to restrict replies to people who have a son. But that is probably what the advertisers have asked for so it's their fault and not mumsnet's.

TiggyD Fri 31-May-13 21:56:59

It's official. Mumsnet have turned to the dark side.

Wonder what Darth Justine will say?

whosiwhatsit Fri 31-May-13 21:57:42

It is actually possible to say "no" to something someone asks for if its just not right, though, Viviennemary.

CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 21:58:51

Actually, MN is growing nicely since the last time I looked

It's really disappointing, isn't it? Come on, Justine, give us your spin.

BIWI Fri 31-May-13 22:02:13

Ilikethebreeze - what do you mean it has to be divided for the 7 of them? There are loads more people who work at Mumsnet than that!

And it's not just money to pay salaries - it has to pay for their rent, rates, utilities, all the servers and general tech stuff ...

StuntGirl Fri 31-May-13 22:02:45

"I think their profit is about £2 million, but that has to be divided amongst 7 of them?"

Oh noes, a measly £285,000 each? However will they cope without those lovely sexist surveys adding to the bank balance?

"But, on the other hand MN also positions itself as a campaigning body, and accepting clients that reinforce the sexist values that MN campaigns against...well, it's just a bit silly isn't it?"

Very well put.

BIWI Fri 31-May-13 22:04:09
CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 22:08:02

You'd think one of them would have gone "Uh, hang on, that doesn't quite fit", wouldn't you?

Or are they still all too busy.

CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 22:08:14


Ilikethebreeze Fri 31-May-13 22:09:58

According to Justines last interview this week,I think in the London Standard,there are 68 employees.
In the interview it said their turnover was £4 million.

Cant remember where I saw that their profit was £2 million.
The profit would be after rent, overheads, salaries etc.

Maybe I have got some of the sums wrong?

There are 7 directors to share the profit.

TheFallenNinja Fri 31-May-13 22:46:30

Just marking my place.

I've always been very pleased to see MN take an ethical stance on most things, and promote the causes of women and girls. I'm very disappointed by this. It's furtherment of gender stereotypes and putting children in boxes. Sad days.

Lazyjaney Fri 31-May-13 23:48:03

Campaigns are for PR and Marketing, Ads and Clients are for money. if you're not paying, you're not the customer.

CoalDustWoman Fri 31-May-13 23:49:28

Ain't that the truth.

lisianthus Sat 01-Jun-13 05:55:51

This is rubbish. V disappointed that Mumsnet would undermine Let Toys Be Toys by allowing this kind of thing. It sends the message that they tolerate sexism and don't think it is as serious as other forms of discrimination.

feelathome Sat 01-Jun-13 06:16:13

Right MNHQ, do you think you have seen enough evidence now, to realise your decision was wrong?
Many people have commented here that they are disappointed in you, please can you re think your policy regarding this, apologise, and be much more careful not to perpetuate sexist stereotypes in the future?

We look forward to seeing your response on this thread.

VashtaNerada Sat 01-Jun-13 06:45:06

Not good MNHQ. They're children. Children like toys. Marketing to one gender is wrong (and misses out half the potential customers). This survey should never have got through angry

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 13:55:51

MNHQ are silent because they've already been paid! They don't know what to say. They're not going to bloody refund the payment and refuse to carry the thing are they?

No...they'll just hope that the complaints from users peter out. But honestly, MN allowing this twaddle is no different to Debenhams and their awful "Boys Toys" and "Girls Toys" shit.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 14:01:38

I think this really highlights the need for greater editorial control over the advertising you take, MNHQ. Or a better briefing of your advertising agency in terms of what is/isn't going to be acceptable.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 14:02:43

... what this indicates is that whoever is working on your advertising has little real understanding of what MN is about and the values that are held dear by MN. How could this possibly have been approved/accepted given the campaigns that you have been involved in so far?

StuntGirl Sat 01-Jun-13 14:11:46

Truthfully it's just a handful of posters have posted their annoyance on here. MN couldn't give a shit. It's not like the whole site is in uproar. If that was the case they may listen, but as it is, they're just going to ignore it and wait for it to die down, as neo says.

Biscuitsareme Sat 01-Jun-13 14:18:07

MNHQ adding my voice too- am a long time lurker so don't often post! As the mother of a little girl who loves playing with toy cars & trucks this touches a nerve though.

PeggyGuggenheim Sat 01-Jun-13 14:33:44

Very poor decision MN, it looks worryingly hypocritical. All the sophisticated arguments in the world can't hide that this is indeed everyday sexism. Gonna get it sorted? Irritated feminists have got wide, wide social networks, just saying!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 14:38:29

Is anyone from MNHQ going to come on and update? Or should we report the post so that they can see we're still waiting? They do have a lot of posts etc to look at.

navada Sat 01-Jun-13 14:45:37

Maybe it's because cars and trucks are very rarely the toy of choice for girls? I honestly can't see a problem with this.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 14:47:46

Navada WHY are they "very rarely the choice" though? Is it because of YEARS of this type of crap do you think? And you might find, that MANY girls now those with enlightened parents anyway are far more interested in so called "boys toys" these days. Open your mind and work out what's been going on.

navada Sat 01-Jun-13 15:00:46

I agree the survey should have been open to parents of girls too, but on the whole manufacturers know their core target audience and I suppose only want their views? - it is a difficult one I know.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 15:00:49

Says who, navada?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 15:04:34

Yes says who? If manufacturers continue to bow down to the "traditional" roles of girls and boys which are demonstrated to them through play, then we'll be in the dark ages for YEARS to come. Things have got worse, not least in marketing they have.

navada Sat 01-Jun-13 15:16:18

< Putting my self in a manufacturers shoes >
If I were about to market a new doll with pink glittery hair and a selection of rainbow coloured shoes, I would want to hear the views of 6 year old girls, as they'd be my target audience - would I care what little boys thought of my product? I'd know that only 1% of my sales ( if that ) would be attributed to the little boy market.

VashtaNerada Sat 01-Jun-13 15:28:42

Navada - because perpetuating sexist myths isn't helping anyone (and is unlikely to make more money because so many parents despise sexism). Plenty of boys like dolls, glitter and pink - they're just put off because of sexist adults.

OddBoots Sat 01-Jun-13 15:29:42

Where is the harm in the email simply saying that the manufacturer would like opinions from parents of children who enjoy playing with [insert toy here] and including demographic in the questions.

There is a good chance that many of the parents of girls wouldn't respond to the Tonka one but it isn't such an offensive invitation.

navada Sat 01-Jun-13 15:37:57

VN - that's a whole other debate - Nature v Nurture.

Oddboots - yes, you have summed it up perfectly.

Guerrillacrochet Sat 01-Jun-13 15:42:48

Sorry Navada I disagree... Surely you could target the market research of anything by just having the first question to determine whether product X is relevant. In this case it could simply be 'does your child play with cars and trucks?'. Or in your example above 'does your child like to play with sparkly dolls'. No reason to involve gender at all fondly thinks of dd playing with her favourite spiderman toy. And of ds cooking in play kitchen for hungry troupe of stuffed animals. As the slogan goes, let toys be toys.

Guerrillacrochet Sat 01-Jun-13 15:48:01

Crossed posts with oddboots... Man our internet is slow!

Guerrillacrochet Sat 01-Jun-13 15:49:13

realises unfrtunate turn of phrase blush

Mintyy Sat 01-Jun-13 16:52:03

Has there been any further word from Mumsnet on this or the other thread? Have been away for a few days.

TiggyD Sat 01-Jun-13 17:14:49

They're just decorating their hollowed out volcano lair they bought when they decided to go evil.

Maybe somebody should start a campaign saying that toys shouldn't have a gender attached to them and start by trying to convince Mumsnet that toys should just be toys? (Irony)

<Waves to staff member of Private Eye who's looking for quotes for the next issue>
Pick mine! Pick mine! Ian Hislop is a sexy love god and has a luxuriant head of hair!

bemybebe Sat 01-Jun-13 17:28:46

This is really bad MN. Hypocrisy galore.

bemybebe Sat 01-Jun-13 17:29:27

And there is nothing wrong with pink. For girls or boys.

bailo Sat 01-Jun-13 17:47:43

"Or in your example above 'does your child like to play with sparkly dolls'."

The problem with that however is that most little boys who play with sparkly dolls do so because the dolls were bought for their sister otherwise they wouldn't have access to them. I'd suggest that the vast majority of boys who've played with dolls did not have them bought for themselves specifically. So you would be paying for market research from a whole bunch of people who would never in a million years buy your product.

"and is unlikely to make more money because so many parents despise sexism"

So pink sparkly dolls that are targeted at girls don't make more money? What's your basis for saying this - show me a pink sparkly doll marketed in a gender neutral way that was more successful that the "girl only" version.

If it's so easy to make money from dolls marketed with mumsnet feminist ideals why hasn't one of you done it rather than banging on about how much more successful it would be?

This has pissed me off too HQ and the lack of response is insulting angry

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 18:01:48

bailo equally, why haven't any of us begun our own, non hypocritical website? Er...we all have our own careers/jobs already and are too busy?

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 18:15:21

Has anyone reported this post?

hugoagogo Sat 01-Jun-13 18:15:38

This is bad.

btw I bought dolls for ds when he asked for them.

garlicgrump Sat 01-Jun-13 18:33:53

Right. I've had to skip most of the posts because of all the pompously WRONG assertions about market research which, though I'm out of the business now, always make me itch. I'll content myself with pointing out the obvious: that a survey aimed only at boys is canvassing only the opinions of boys. Therefore it is ignoring up to half its potential target market, which is plain fucking stupid commercially.

If they only wanted the opinions of existing users, they would have filtered for those rather than by gender. What they did was sexist - as well as stupid; assumptions lose sales.

I'm with everyone else, btw, MNHQ! Companies pay to access your audience because of your amazing relationship with us. So, if they wish to access us in a way that might piss us off, tell them how to do it right.

VashtaNerada Sat 01-Jun-13 18:52:46

And I'm another one who's comfortable buying a doll for my son. Most people allow their kids to play with a range of toys IME. And all children enjoy playing in lots of different ways.

LetToysbeToys Sat 01-Jun-13 19:53:11

Hi everyone

All of us involved with Let Toys Be Toys were disappointed to see that this survey got through. We owe a great deal to Mumsnet as we got our start here, and MNHQ have been very supportive towards our campaign. So we are a bit surprised that the response to concerns expressed here hasn't been consistent with that.

For those who think that this kind of casual sexism towards children is unacceptable, please do keep joining us in our efforts to get that very message across to the toy industry and others. Our website is in case you haven't seen us yet.

Thanks again

Madamimadam Sat 01-Jun-13 20:39:10

Thanks for the link, LTBT. Ashamed to say wasn't aware of your campaign until I followed this link.

I was really disappointed to read the OP's post about the survey. My 3yoDS is car obsessed. He has a couple of friends - girls - who are also car-mad (One of them is a complete racing fan). They have as many cars as he has. Another girl had a go-karting party for her birthday. So Tonka's attitude is commercially as well as ethically questionable.

PS Dear Mr Tonka. I loved your 'virtually indestructible' toys as a kid. While my brother played with his Action Man, I spent many happy hours trying to smash my Tonka truck to bits. And I'm bloody prehistoric. As, it seems, are your market research team hmm

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 20:40:52

As no-one answered, I have reported this thread.

Mintyy Sat 01-Jun-13 20:43:38

Well done Biwi. It might give them a bit of a nudge.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 01-Jun-13 20:50:45

Yes thanks Biwi

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 01-Jun-13 21:48:19

Evening all,

Thanks for the report BIWI.

Just acknowledging that we've seen this but being the weekend and the end of the holidays, it's taking a bit longer than normal to contact those dealing.

We will post again as soon as possible but please don't think we're ignoring you.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 21:50:20

<looks over top of spectacles>

Thank you, lovely Rebecca <3

Cleanandclothed Sat 01-Jun-13 21:55:27

Adding my support to this thread. Mnhq please listen.

whosiwhatsit Sat 01-Jun-13 22:04:02

Adding my support, too. I used to sleep with a tonka truck on my bed instead of a doll. Not as nice to cuddle, but I just really loved that truck.

Madamimadam Sat 01-Jun-13 22:06:36

Thanks, Biwi. And thanks Rebecca for the update.

mrstigs Sat 01-Jun-13 22:23:24

How very disappointing of mumsnet not to challenge this before it was sent out. I have one girl who if you chopped off a limb would ooze pink and sparkles and another girl who's favourite toys are a football, her toy car collection and a wooden fire engine. Her views are just as important as a boy who has the same preferences.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 01-Jun-13 22:33:57

Hi all

First off huge apologies for the delayed response. I'm just back from half term hols and wanted to check in with the folks who had put the survey out to the panel before posting. The insight team are all suitably mortified that they didn't push back on the survey wording and make the client (a research agency) change the criteria before it was sent to the panel. We have certainly learnt from this experience and promise we won't allow it to happen again. We have sent your feedback to the client. We love the idea of just saying does your child play with X (insert doll/ train set/ or truck) and taking it from there. It sounds so obvious now - but sometimes in the rush of a busy day mistakes are made. We should have known better, but we can only apologise that we cocked up and take steps to stop it happening again.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to highlight the problem and apologies again.

FairPhyllis Sat 01-Jun-13 22:37:18

Good. Shows how pervasive this sort of thing is if people don't question it though, doesn't it?

garlicgrump Sat 01-Jun-13 22:37:57

What a great reply! Thanks, Carrie & Rebecca smile

TiggyD Sat 01-Jun-13 22:40:45

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Well done Carrie, and thank you.

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 01-Jun-13 22:46:21

This is why I love Mumsnet. The ability to say 'we were wrong, you were right, there won't be a next time'.

Well done MNHQ

And we'll done all on the Let toys be toys campaign. You're doing great stuff

Lioninthesun Sat 01-Jun-13 22:49:48

DD loves trucks! Thankfully I haven't seen any in pink, so assume we are buying some of the makes being asked about.
Seems another company trying to say girls opinions just aren't important, because they are not 'supposed' to like their product. Completely ignoring the positive side, that they have a market to girls which is earning money that they know nothing about because they haven't yet joined the 21C
Poor choice here MNHQ.

LinusVanPelt Sat 01-Jun-13 22:50:26

Brilliant reply, Carrie. Thank you!

Lioninthesun Sat 01-Jun-13 22:51:20

X posted with the reply after reading whole thread!
Have the company been told as well, so they are aware?

OddBoots Sat 01-Jun-13 22:58:12

Thank you MN. smile

Madamimadam Sat 01-Jun-13 23:06:53

Thank you, Carrie. And flowers to MN for all the reasons Peanutbutter said.

My dd inheritated my enormous box of toy cars and even bigger tub of Lego. She liked both so much we had to buy more.... Long before we ever had a little boy in the house!

My ds2 on the other hand spent this evening pretending to be a princess and plays with dolls more than dd ever did.

I'm glad mnhq has realised their mistake and I sincerely hope they'll be passing this thread and the other related one on to their client, it's time these companies woke up to the fact that kids like toys, not because they're marketed towards girls or boys but because of their own personalities and preferences.

CoalDustWoman Sat 01-Jun-13 23:48:46

I guessed at the busy excuse. That's fairly stock. You lot have really got to get this stuff bedded in so that the default is not to let it through, but rather to go "hang on". Otherwise people might think that you are a bunch of FINOs (FeminstsInNameOnlys). You aren't, are you? It's not even like it was nuanced in any way, which could be missed in the melee - it was a great big sexist poll and not hiding it.

You do have a fabulous site here, by the way. Just in case you think you are only dealing with gripes smile

garlicgrump Sat 01-Jun-13 23:59:12

You get a reply from somebody who's at work on a Saturday night and you accuse them of shirking?!

CoalDustWoman Sun 02-Jun-13 00:12:36

No, the busy thing is always the reason given when things get through that shouldn't have done. My point was why was the default "yes", rather than "hang on, this is not right", despite hecticness. This is not a troll thread being overlooked. This is a principles thing, isn't it?

I'm (largely) working still and I'm employed, not the owner.

garlicgrump Sun 02-Jun-13 00:19:59

Well, yes, I agree that it shouldn't have happened - as does everyone else on this thread. I'm also aware that, while it wouldn't have got past me, most of the people I've worked with are less attuned to "-isms" than I am. I've always thought it's our responsibility to bring them to light when allowed to slip through, raising awareness one researcher at a time.

And we did: "The insight team are all suitably mortified that they didn't push back ... We have certainly learnt from this experience"

Job done smile

CoalDustWoman Sun 02-Jun-13 00:27:19

The answer is more feminism. It usually isgrin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 02-Jun-13 00:35:29

What is an "Insight Team"?

Anyway....good news, good news. Glad it's been taken seriously.

Guerrillacrochet Sun 02-Jun-13 00:46:34

'The answer is more feminism. It usually is'
grin. Great result MN, thanks!

VashtaNerada Sun 02-Jun-13 03:13:17

Thanks MNHQ smile

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 02-Jun-13 03:28:56

carriemumsnet that'll teach you to have some time off grin just be grateful they spelt everything right or there wasn't a random ', the shit would have hit the fan then.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 04:32:34

Thanks MN - great response.

The bottom line, certainly from a manufacturer's point of view, is that surely they don't want to limit their market?! shock

The more girls playing with trucks, the more revenue, right?

Tee2072 Sun 02-Jun-13 05:08:39

Late to the party but thanks carrie.

Now, about the lack of caps in your name...has Chaos, who is back, seen this? grin

And for whoever asked, Insight is the official name of the team at MNHQ who run surveys and product tests.

LetToysbeToys Sun 02-Jun-13 08:20:19

Morning! Thanks MNHQ smile for such a great response and to the many people above who obviously support our quest to get rid of this crazy sexism in the toy industry.

We're busily preparing this week for some meetings with retailers (!!) and will be posting to our Facebook page and tweeting to let everyone know how it goes.

Have a lovely Sunday grin

ParsingFancy Sun 02-Jun-13 17:25:52

Nice one, MNHQ. And thanks for responding even on a weekend like this.

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 17:36:40

Is it also sexist that my wife used to refuse to buy my two boys plastic guns/swords, etc. as she didn't want them to "want" to join the army.

The boys were never force fed those types of toys, they went into a toy shop and pointed at them and said "can I have that?".

Sorry if that's a little off topic.

OddBoots Sun 02-Jun-13 17:41:00

What was/would be your wife's thoughts on buying such toys for daughters?

BIWI Sun 02-Jun-13 17:44:16

No, that's not sexism. That's something else entirely, santaisdead. hmm

Unless your wife encouraged your daughters to have them whilst refusing your sons? Then it would be sexism.

BIWI Sun 02-Jun-13 17:44:48

Thanks Carrie. And apologies for referring to advertising rather than the fact that this was a research survey.

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 17:58:13

You're probably right. It was more like anti-sterotyping, but that probably applies to the original post as well.

However, she never needed to apply the same rule to our daughter, because she never asked for them. She wanted Barbies, and that's what she got. However, Ken wasn't happy as he couldn't go down to the gun club and shoot his frustrations away.

StuntGirl Sun 02-Jun-13 18:03:06

Thanks for the response MNHQ. Glad to see you've listened to feedback!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 02-Jun-13 19:30:47

Santa I would have thought it was more like pacifism than anything. She didn't want to condone violence.

Januarymadness Sun 02-Jun-13 20:14:00

Fair response MNHQ your reputation has been restored

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 20:56:31

"Santa I would have thought it was more like pacifism than anything. She didn't want to condone violence."

True, but as responsible adults we put violence into context, e.g. Army/Defence and role play in that manner, what is the problem with that.

p.s. We also didn't let them play RPG "shoot 'em up" games on the playstation either.

garlicgrump Sun 02-Jun-13 21:07:32

we put violence into context, e.g. Army/Defence and role play in that manner, what is the problem with that.

If you really don't see what the problem is, I fear you and the missus are doomed to permanent disagreement on matters pertaining to institutionalised violence.

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 21:45:14

"If you really don't see what the problem is, I fear you and the missus are doomed to permanent disagreement on matters pertaining to institutionalised violence."

Seriously? So the Armed services in 1939 are institutionalised violence academies? Are you a pacifist that thinks everything can be solved by "takling it through"

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 21:57:14

Are you a Hawk that thinks everything can be solved by bringing in the machine guns?

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:04:57

Why don't you make that into a serious proposition, rather than a "don't kill the babies, all men are killers" statement.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 22:07:58

So you do think all problems can be resolved via gunfire?

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:15:18

Well ultimately of course they can. In another world I might take the stance "You have disrespected me in an internet forum, therefore I may shoot you in the face until you are dead." Which of course in this world would be as stupid as your response.

Please re-read the post I made previously that urged you to make a reasoned proposition, but yet you chose to have another litre of Chablis and continue to persue the avenue of "all guns are evil".

Are you able to assemble a reasoned response?

BIWI Sun 02-Jun-13 22:19:53

Hmm. Not trying to derail this thread at all, are you, santa?

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 22:30:51

Out of interest, how have I 'disrespected' you, exactly?

By disagreeing with you?!

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:31:57


I think the thread was done, I revived it a bit don't you think.

If I'm honest in the few threads I've been looking at in my short membership period, a lot on the AIBU thread are full of ladies swearing a lot, which I don't mind (Although I wish it was just confined to the bedroom). However, it seems that a wider reasoned debate doesn't seem to exist when it comes to interacting with the blokes round here.

You bloke=wrong.

BIWI Sun 02-Jun-13 22:36:02

Bye, santa

Ilikethebreeze Sun 02-Jun-13 22:37:27

I dont understand why most men that come on MN seem to be so annoyed.
santaisdead[dont like the name btw], do you have a problem with MN?

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:44:15

BIWI can't manage to discuss clearly.

ILIKE, I'm not annoyed, I had a different viewpoint. Does everyone have to agree with everyone else to be a member here?

I haven't been unreasonable or rude with anyone, just voiced an opinion that differs with other folks. The problem is I haven't come across anyone who wants to debate it.

p.s. Why would you comment on my user name? Do your children visit here?

TiggyD Sun 02-Jun-13 22:45:22

Santaisdead - you sound just like somebody I've never met.

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:50:58


Didn't understand that post mate, would you like to elaborate.

Before you do, I i'd like to say that I have 3 children, my wife childminded for 5 years, and is now a manager of a pre-school group.

Not sure if that matters, but your post was so bizzare I thought I'd include it.

StuntGirl Sun 02-Jun-13 22:52:50

And you think tiggis post is bizzare grin

BIWI Sun 02-Jun-13 22:53:32

Bye, santa

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 22:56:43

ah, OK. Is this the bit where new (male) posters get beasted off the forum, by the fantastic manipulation of the English language of those chosen by the forum cliques to perform such tasks. Really?

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 22:58:56

Loving the notion that everyone on MN always agrees. grin

garlicgrump Sun 02-Jun-13 23:01:19

Man, you are weird, Santa! Mind you, so was another easily-riled MN poster called Santa. Must be the unseasonal nickname.

Why don't you make that into a serious proposition, rather than a "don't kill the babies, all men are killers" statement.

You are aware that the only post containing that statement, or one even slightly like it, is your own?


TiggyD Sun 02-Jun-13 23:02:19

Some of us are male you know.

Some dolphins are male.

But not all of us are dolphins...



...or are we?

TiggyD Sun 02-Jun-13 23:03:47


<Farts through head>

santaisdead Sun 02-Jun-13 23:06:16

deep tiggy, deep..

I am most dissapointed this hasn't resulted in an actual debate.

garlicgrump Sun 02-Jun-13 23:08:40

grin grin Tiggy grin

garlicgrump Sun 02-Jun-13 23:10:34

Don't be sad, Santa! You have debated an issue all by yourself.

That's very clever! Good boy.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 23:13:40


TiggyD Sun 02-Jun-13 23:13:46

For a debate all sides have to scrupulously avoid being a tit. I feel in this case one of the debaters hasn't quite managed this.

Or for the porpoise of this debate...

I am the porpoise of this debate!


(See, I talk porpoise too) ooooowwwwweeeeeeee!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 02-Jun-13 23:25:37

Santa you asked "army defence and role play, what is wrong with that?" Well...if you're a pacifist, it's violence. Pacifists believe violence in any context is wrong.

So guns, knives, hand grenades, knuckledusters,....broken bottles...whatever...they're all the tools of violence and I think your wife was right not to buy toys in the shape of any of them.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 23:27:37

Besides, or you grow up playing with guns, then of course war - as opposed to diplomacy - seems normal.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 02-Jun-13 23:28:14

... if you grow up...

StuntGirl Sun 02-Jun-13 23:31:33

Oh, I thought tiggy was making some kind of gun noise! Was it a dolphin noise instead?

VashtaNerada Mon 03-Jun-13 08:07:04

Feeling helpful so will say this nicely to Santa, generally when you join an online forum it's a good idea to lurk a bit first in order to pick up tips on etiquette and the best way to have an intelligent debate, eg starting a new thread for a new topic, not assuming all MNers are the same, and not referring to women as " ladies". There certainly is a place for a debate on pacifism but it's not here.
HTH grin

santaisdead Mon 03-Jun-13 09:49:44


Too impatient for all that lurking malarky. I thought I was being polite by using the term "ladies" rather than "women", but I guess I could start a whole new thread on the reasons why women might be offended at that choice of word.

You win on a technicality.

Januarymadness Mon 03-Jun-13 09:53:08

I grew up plaiong with guns. They fascitate me still and I respect their power and the mechanics. I am one of the most anti crime, anti war and peaceful people you will ever come across.

Trills Mon 03-Jun-13 09:53:22

Did you know there are pink dolphins in Hong Kong?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 03-Jun-13 10:32:40

Santa it's not a competition.

BIWI Mon 03-Jun-13 12:02:47

It's also usually a good idea to make any point in a debate about the actual debate itself, rather than try and derail it into something else.

Although men derailing debates about sexism, funnily enough, seems to happen a lot.

StuntGirl Mon 03-Jun-13 12:11:51

I had to google that trills, I didn't believe it!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 03-Jun-13 13:11:02

BIWI yes it does and then they get all hysterical about women "ganging up". grin

TiggyD Mon 03-Jun-13 17:02:31

This is a statement from Tiggy:

I would like to apologise for my behaviour last night. It was late and I was over-tired.
I am not a dolphin.

Thank you.

TiggyD Mon 03-Jun-13 17:07:41

And ladies are simpering, handkerchief dropping, swooning chattels from the 18th and 19th century.
Or toilets. None of the women on here are toilets. Although they sometimes have mouths like one.

garlicgrump Mon 03-Jun-13 18:21:05

"Over-tired", haha.

TiggyD Mon 03-Jun-13 18:55:24

And I had drunk some pop.

StuntGirl Mon 03-Jun-13 19:10:14

"Pop" grin

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