I think Mothercare's toy display reinforces outdated gender stereotypes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


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.


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.

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.

OP fill in this survey

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 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.

NewBlueShoesToo Tue 05-Nov-13 14:43:50

I have boys and girls and they have always had free access to all toys.
However, I'm not sure if I was buying a boy's birthday present I would choose a tea set or doll. And yet my son has played with these.
Shops have to organise and label things somehow and I think it is up to the consumer to choose whatever they want.
I don't think we should fight gender differences, boys and girls are different. It's not a bad thing.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:45:17

Don't you think it's enforcing gender differences?

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 14:47:20

>Because the word boy covers everything.

>It's no big deal walking up the boy's toy aisle is it?
Wouldn't be for my DD, but it is for some. And quite a lot of boys would have a problem with choosing something from the girls aisle. And then there's grandparents/other people who default to choosing toys of the 'appropriate' gender.

HeeHiles Tue 05-Nov-13 14:52:42

However, I'm not sure if I was buying a boy's birthday present I would choose a tea set or doll. And yet my son has played with these.

So the marketing has worked on you then hasn't it? Why shouldn't a boy have a tea set and play with his dolls? Why should my dd who loves playing with cars and trains think she is doing something wrong because someone has decided they are boys toys? If all the toys were in primary colours and all together would we be so quick to decide what a boy should play with and what a girl should play with?

One of my dd's favourite toys is her garage, with a petrol pump and lift to fix the cars - but why is it only in the boys aisle? Why only in blue? with blue cars - why not red? or green?

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 14:54:09

I think it is enforcing gender differences and too simplistic to say boys and girls are different. PEOPLE are different and to have expectations according to gender as we grow up helps shape the people we become. I do not agree that you can say your teenagers or whatever are fine so this doesn't matter. I work psychologically with people and can assure you that early influences and DO matter and while it may not be apparent these things lead to adapted reactions rather than allowing a person to develop as their genuine selves. It will only be in adult relationships and when they have their own children sometimes that these things surface.

HeeHiles Tue 05-Nov-13 14:55:14

As an aside but following on with the same topic, CBBC make programmes for boys, because girls will watch boys programmes but boys won't watch girls programmes! Can't they just make programmes that suit both? Or are girls not as important as boys in TV land?

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 14:59:51

That is the other side of this too that somehow the message is perpetuated that female is inferior.

What really winds me up is that kitchens and cleaning trolleys are in the girls aisle. Yeah, lets teach our daughters that their role is to cook and clean while the boys play with Lego.

I'm a big fan of let toys be toys.

HeeHiles Tue 05-Nov-13 15:06:59

I agree Plumrose sad

fromparistoberlin Tue 05-Nov-13 15:12:24

mothercare are twats, not even suprised in the slightest TBH

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 15:21:05

YANBU. The norm should be to have toys displayed by type, not labelled "boy" or "girl".

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 15:27:54

Because the word boy covers everything.

What does "boy" cover?

It takes a pretty unconventional kid to break free of this kind of stereotyping. As in, most won't.

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 15:31:30

"too simplistic to say boys and girls are different. PEOPLE are different"

Yes, exactly.

Davsmum Tue 05-Nov-13 15:31:57

They are not forcing you to choose 'girl's' toys for girls or 'boys' toys for boys.
Its not an instruction.

No child will decide not to play with a toy they like just because it has been labelled as the other gender's type of toy!

The display is probably intended as a guide to people - who do, tend to look for certain types of toys for their boy or girl.

MutantFuckerAndProud Tue 05-Nov-13 15:37:19

I'm sorry this is not true.

A very close family member works high up in MC. They arrange their toys by age and activity, not by gender. There is no such thing as a boy toy section and a girl toy section. In the 'lets pretend range' they have multiple colour options in their toys. Blue and pink prams, dolls in blue and pink, blue and pink kitchen accessories, blue and pink garages.

NewBlueShoesToo Tue 05-Nov-13 15:40:21

Yes people are different. But would you say that there are no gender differences in boys and girls?
Obviously it's a scale where we all fit somewhere. Obviously let your children explore all types of toys. My girls play with cars, balls, tools.
However, would you buy a tea set, a pink one, for your lets say 6 year old boy to give to one if his male friends?

Also, for what it's worth, I think boys' toys are so much better than girls', have more scope and open ended play options.
However I still wouldn't

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 15:40:31

No child will decide not to play with a toy they like just because it has been labelled as the other gender's type of toy!


Chesntoots Tue 05-Nov-13 15:47:13

I have been Christmas shopping for my two nephews recently. As part of their presents I bought them some clothes. Great range of colours - blues, greys, browns,reds etc. Went to have a look for a gift for my friends daughter and I have never seen so much twinkly pink shit in all my life!
I haven't got children so never really understood these threads before, but now I know why it boils peoples piss. I was a tomboy growing up. I would rather have walked round in my underwear than dress in one of these pink abominations!
Perhaps some of these toy and clothes companies need sending a Dulux colour chart just to show them there are other options...

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 15:47:23

>I'm sorry this is not true.
are you saying the OP is either lying or delusional? hmm

More likely, this branch has labelled as she states, whether it's MCs corporate policy or not.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 16:04:19

Note to manufacturers. There are more than two colours.

KittyLane1 Tue 05-Nov-13 16:23:42

people who rage about gender stereotypes, be interesting to know what your kids are called

In the 'lets pretendrange'they have multiple colour optionsin their toys. Blue and pink prams,dollsin blue and pink, blue and pink kitchenaccessories,blue and pink garages.

^^Yup, that's multiple. hmm

MutantFuckerAndProud Tue 05-Nov-13 16:40:49

Errol I'm saying it is not true that 'mothercare's toy display reinforces outdated gender stereotypes' which is the title of the thread.

But nice attempt to put words in my mouth smile

MutantFuckerAndProud Tue 05-Nov-13 16:42:55

Ok chaos that was badly phrased on my behalf. Must be all the pink shit I was exposed to as a child.

But the fact remains they display their toys by age and activity NOT by gender.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 16:56:42

MutantFuckerAndProud your relative is wrong. Go into the Brighton branch of Mothercare and you will see 'boys' and 'girls' on the wall in huge lettering with the toys displayed by gender suitibility under each sign. When I had some correspondence Mothercare did not deny this practice.

HeeHiles Tue 05-Nov-13 17:02:18

people who rage about gender stereotypes, be interesting to know what your kids are called

You make a good point - I don't want to reveal my children's names on here but you wouldn't know if they were male or female by their names - I am consistent!

MutantFuckerAndProud Tue 05-Nov-13 17:03:39

My relative isn't wrong. It's mothercare policy and certainly I've been on a few mc stores in my time and have never seen the toys displayed this way.

If the store is displayed like this then I suggest you contact their head office, they're normally very helpful and would be horrified to hear about this.

MutantFuckerAndProud Tue 05-Nov-13 17:05:50

I've had bad experience with using social media to contact companies to make complaints which is why I have suggested contacting head office, I know you've already contacted them by FB.

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 17:20:03

How does a child's name relate to this discussion?

gemmal88 Tue 05-Nov-13 17:26:46

I've noticed this come up time and time again recently and I really cannot see why people get on their high horse about it!

My daughter loves disney princesses, Barbie and pink.

She also loves playing with cars, handy manny and is obsessed with bob the builder.

I think it's unreasonable to be offended by displays for boys and girls toys, I really do. Kids play with what they play with if they are given the choice by their parents.

KittyLane1 Tue 05-Nov-13 17:30:27

I didn't mean it in a sarcastic way, the way these posts usually go is it starts off about a sign and becomes "MY boy only wears Hello Kitty, he LOVES his princess dresses and dolls how DARE anyone tell him he is wrong" fair enough and I believe squashing gender stereotypes begins at home so telling your own children that a toy is a toy and everything is unisex however I often wonder what these parents who positively live for the chance to explain that dd loves dinosaurs actually call their kids, if you know, everything is unisex?

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 18:03:31

I don't like gender stereotyping of toys, I would like my kids to choose things based on their interest.

I chose my kids' names based on aesthetics and they're not gender neutral.

I don't have a problem with dresses or pink or blue or any of the above. I just don't like restricting choices based on gender (and creating more marketing opportunities for clothing/toy manufacturers, as discussed above). I also don't like the fact that they relentlessly bombard kids with images and rely upon them to harangue their parents into buying stuff.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 05-Nov-13 18:08:33

I've never known a child refuse a toy based on gender that did not have a parent/ grandparent who activly reinforced that some toys and colours are just for boys or girls.

Children who don't have concerns about 'catching the gay' rammed down their throats tend to just play quite happily with anything that comes to hand.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 18:09:46

> I just don't like restricting choices based on gender

yes - or even guiding choices based on gender. If you've got a kid of infant school age who has had a party, I'll bet that many of the gifts were chosen more by gender than with much consideration of what the individual child would really like. Hence my DDs drawer of unloved Barbies (those we couldn't regift to friends who did like them)

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 18:12:29

>I've never known a child refuse a toy based on gender that did not have a parent/ grandparent who activly reinforced that some toys and colours are just for boys or girls.

And where do those parents/grandparents get their daft ideas from? Anything that reinforces them isn't helpful.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 18:18:25

I posted this and would like to say that when my daughter started school and wanted a pink and frilly bedroom she had it. I never stopped either of my children from choosing what they wanted based on gender whether I thought their choice was stereotypical or not. It is not true to say that unless the parents/grandparents reinforce it then the child will not refuse a toy based on gender. Once they go out into the world of mothers and toddlers, nursery, playgroups and school they will be exposed to other influences. I do believe that ultimately the biggest influence when they grow up will be the attitudes at home but in between they will be influenced by other adults and by peers.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 05-Nov-13 18:19:16

Well errol, some parents and grandparents are not that bright.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 18:23:06

My son still told me that boys don't cry when he got to around age 7 - something he never heard at home.

Crowler Tue 05-Nov-13 18:45:41

Right Errol, guide is a much better choice of word.

Sockreturningpixie, I tried to keep the toys gender neutral as far as was practical for as long as I could, and my kids' grandparents are all sensible. My two boys have a highly attuned "girl" radar. Admittedly it's getting slightly better now that my oldest is 11 and developing some higher-order thinking skills (one hopes) and my youngest follows his cues. But it was hard going in this department for several years.

plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 19:08:55

Yes Crowler I had a similar experience except had a girl and a boy. They were close and tended to play with the same toys and both would dress up the same until my son went to school. We then had several years of him being very conscious of anything that was for girls and believing sterotypes about behaviour too. Thankfully now that he is a young man he is once more open minded and very conscious of issues around gender and equality but I agree it can be very hard going!

wamabama Tue 05-Nov-13 19:27:39

Oh it's not like that in our local Mothercare/ELC at all. It's all just put into sections of what the toys are so the kitchens and cash registers in one section, Happyland in another, baby toys in another etc.

Went into The Entertainer toy shop and that is badly seperated into boys and girls. I was so shocked that my 3 yo DS took note of it and kept saying afterwards "pink is for girls, dolls are for girls" etc, I nearly cried. Won't be going in there again!

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

I have noticed there is a lot of discussion about this gender thing at the moment. It seems like a new fashion. I really can't see the issue. Its certain parents that are making a big thing about it when there really isn't one. biscuit anyone

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 20:00:52

>I have noticed there is a lot of discussion about this gender thing at the moment. It seems like a new fashion.

Its because of the current trends in merchandise and marketing which are acting retrogressively against progress towards gender equality.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 20:11:59

Errol -- I cant see the issue myself. There are so many more important issues in this world. If the kids are happy that's the most important thing. If girls want all pink and boys want all blue then so what. If a girl has a plastic kitchen and a boy has a truck does it really matter. Is it going to change them as adults. As long as they are healthy, happy and bought up with respect that's all that matters. Pink/Blue Girls stuff/Boys stuff. Who gives a stuff.......wink. Another thing. I work in an office with all blokes. Im the only one that makes the tea. Would never even consider that this is NOT gender equality. I think people need to lighten up on this one.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 20:24:58

You don't think it matters that the stereotyped toys have the girls doing all the housework and childcare and worrying their pretty little heads about fashion whereas the boys get to build things and drive cars and be scientists etc? hmm

>I work in an office with all blokes. Im the only one that makes the tea. Would never even consider that this is NOT gender equality confused Unless you're the only one that drinks tea, how on earth does that come to pass?

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 05-Nov-13 20:38:11

Wamabama, when all the kitchens are grouped together, is there a pink one next to a blue one? Or are they actually kitchen coloured?

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 20:41:40

> I have noticed there is a lot of discussion about this gender thing at the moment. It seems like a new fashion.

No, sexism and women fighting it are as old as the hills! grin

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 05-Nov-13 20:47:32

Because it's brilliant.

1981 Lego ad

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 21:21:07

Errol funny you should mentioned scientists. In my profession (Laboratory Sales) I deal with scientists everyday. They are men and women. And both sexes are very very clever people. Would mention, I drive a car as do many women, I do the housework, I also do my own DIY and have my own tool box. I do my own decorating, I mended my washing machine not so long ago (googled the problem), got my screwdriver out and sorted it. I get my head under the bonnet of the car when it needs oil. I do everyday stuff that men and women do. (I am a single mum so have to (and like to) I was bought up with dolls/plastic kitchens and pink. Did me no harm. Men and women can be equal if they choose to be. There are no set rules and I dont think there needs to be an issue about it. Just get on with it...........she says in her pink sparkly dress as she gets her tool box out grin

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 21:27:32

Just one quick question. What is it that some of you want to be equal in. What is it that you dont like. Im not troll hunting here but cant see what is getting your goats.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 21:30:19

Just having toys as toys. Not labelled boys / girls. Not always in pink or blue. Just show some imagination.

That's all. Toys don't need to be labelled. Toys need to just be toys. For everyone. Kids know and boys do have an issue with "girl's stuff".

halfwayupthehill Tue 05-Nov-13 21:40:20

Yanbu. I stopped shopping at mothercare once i saw an identical child's bike being marketed in two versions. One with pink all over and pom poms on the handles and a baby carrier and one blue with fire on the trim and a water carrier. I wish they would just do unisex primary colours.

DziezkoDisco Tue 05-Nov-13 21:49:01

I love that add doctrine. Mylovelyboy, I want my kids to play with toys regardless of whether they are boys or girls.

There should be no girl or boy toys, dictated by signs or colours. Just toys.

But by making them pink or blue and segregating them the shops send a very strong message to parents (and kids) that certain toys are more likely to liked by girls or boys. Hence determine what they buy and encourage them to play with.

Toys are usually about playing being grown up, so girls get pigeon holed into caring/mothering/housework/make up boys get construction/vehicles/sport/action. Very limiting.

I don't particularly want my children to think girls or boys and hence men and women have these roles.

Kids tend not too notice these things early on and will choose any old toys but vey quickly most will feel they have to act in a way that is expected of them by society/their parents/their peers.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:01:42

But men and women do have these roles. Is there anything wrong in having these roles? And so what if they do. Is that so bad. Take a step back and look at what you do at home each day. Im sure almost all of you have these roles that you say you don't want your children to have. I think its all very silly to be honest. Dont know what the issue is, been sitting here trying to 'get it' but I just don't.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:03:55

What roles do men and women have?

Kitchen / cooking stuff in the girls section.
Tractors and building stuff in the boys.

Baby care stuff in the girls section.
Science stuff in the boys.

A nice pink iron and hoover in the girls
A blue lawnmower in the boys.

Don't you see the possible reinforcement going on?

Feenie Tue 05-Nov-13 22:04:16

I went nuts in there once when I saw a doctor's dress up outfit in the emblazoned BOYS' section and a nurse's one in the GIRLS'.

I was fuming.

They couldn't have cared less, and didn't really have a clue what my point was.

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 22:07:41

> But men and women do have these roles.

No, they don't. They are not born with them. These things are to do with cultural stereotypes which we can obediently follow - or not.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:16:50

Feenie - Of course they didnt really have a clue what your point was. Because there was no point. Probably made yourself look ridiculous. And to say you were fuming about this? They must of been laughing their heads off when you fumed out of the shop. Anyone for a wine might calm us all down wink

Feenie Tue 05-Nov-13 22:19:25

I see - so it's fine for little boys to only want to be doctors, not nurses, and fine for little girls to aspire only to be nurses?

Have you travelled here from the 1950s? The world has moved on.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:20:24

I think Mylovelyboy is deliberately not trying to get it.

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 22:21:34

I think you understand very well Mylovelyboy. Why not say you disagree, and attempt to provide some valid reasons, instead of pretending not to "get it"?

Feenie Tue 05-Nov-13 22:22:17

There is a word for that kind of posting behaviour. Well, apart from twattish, that is.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:36:26

We are all entitled to our opinions. I have read your posts and just do not agree with what you are saying. Yes shops etc do have Boys/Girls sections in clothes and toys. But my point is this. Does it really matter what a boy or girl plays with. Or whether certain things are in the boys or girls section. Im a working mum. I get home and do all the so called things that you say are stereotypical. Like most mums I do the washing/ironing/cooking etc. Does it matter that your lovely dd is playing with her plastic pink kitchen (like mummy) and your lovely ds is playing with his truck or even if your lovely ds decides to play with a doll. The shops lay stuff out for customers ease. I think you are taking it all to seriously. Please ladies (and i mean this nicely) take a step back and listen to how silly you sound.

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 22:38:31

> take a step back and listen to how silly you sound.

Why don't you listen to how ignorant and patronising you sound?

Feenie Tue 05-Nov-13 22:38:52

Yes, yes, of course I see what you are saying - it's absolutely fine to reinforce career stereotyping that we are supposed to have moved past decades ago.

If everyone had your attitude, women might never have even got the vote. Jeez.

Feenie Tue 05-Nov-13 22:39:46

And there is only one poster here who sounds silly - and limiting, and archaic.

DziezkoDisco Tue 05-Nov-13 22:43:47

Mylovelyboy - maybe your house has these roles, but mine doent and I sure as hell don't want my kids to aspire to them either. My kids are quite happy to play outside the normal stereotypes because we have made a real effort to not them watch sterotyped TV, or TV with adverts. And speak to them a lot about how girls and boys can do whatever they choose. But still they are influenced by the crap they see around them.

DziezkoDisco Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:32

i wonder why you do all the housework? Because you want to or because you think it is what is expected of you? More fool you.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:49:24

"Like most mums I do the washing/ironing/cooking etc. "

You might have noticed threads on here complaining about the imbalance in housework.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:51:52

There is no such thing now days as career sterotyping. Men and women are in working positions that both sexes can do.More so now days than ever before. Men and women can be engineers, directors of companies, scientists, doctors (men can be nurses). Women work on building sites, stock brokers, bankers, van drivers etc etc the list goes on. What I object to is the constant fuss over kids toys. They are children for goodness sake. In a few years time when they become adults the toys they played with as kids will have no effect on their career choices and the way they are whatsoever. Its the parenting and the rubbish they have been fed by those parents that affects them. Not what colour isle the toys in mothercare are in and the colour of the toys. I hope that has answered why i just 'dont get it'

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:22

Mylovely, any man in your life ever push a pr or boil some pasta? Pretty sure basic survival and parenting skills are required by both sexes...

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:53:33

What did you mean by men and women do have these roles?

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:53

DziezkoDisco - I do everything at home because I am a single mother. So dont say 'more fool me', If i didnt do it then i would be living in a shite pit. Thank you very much. And I work full time as a Director of a Company (which a man or woman could do). Or is that not Gender Correct

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:57:22

You're the one who said men and women have these roles.

What did you mean?

And do you expect most mums to do the washing / cooking and ironing?

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 23:00:18

And if you're a single mum, why make the point about doing the housework? Of course you have to do it. It's what single parents do.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:00:34

What is stereotyped TV by the way. What adverts ???

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:08:09

the mums that I know that are stay at home mums that dh or dp are at work all day do the washing/ironing etc whats wrong with that. Also I know some mums that work full time and have lazy sod dp and dh that do those things as well 'more fool them' in that case. Buts lets me honest ladies, most of us (i have to im single) do the woman stuff at home. Is is such a big deal really.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:11:30

Plumrose I think you should have appointed a lawyer for this very offence that Mothercare committed. 'they would not pay attention to one message'. Says it all really.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 23:11:36

I think you should start a whole new thread to discuss that. It would be interesting.

kim147 Tue 05-Nov-13 23:12:09

And welcome to Mumsnet BTW.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:16:38

Thanks Kim thanks I think I will shut up now grin

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:18:53

Ladies thank you for the debate. Its good to get all opinions whether agreeable or not. smile

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 23:19:33

'Men and women can be engineers, directors of companies, scientists, doctors (men can be nurses). '

yes indeed (I'm a scientist). But - with I think the exception of doctors - there is a huge gender imbalance in the numbers of male nurses and women in the other careers.

'It never did me any harm' is not a good argument - the 'I'm all right, Jill' dismissal of whether it did/does other children harm.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 23:21:58

> Buts lets me honest ladies, most of us do the woman stuff at home. Is is such a big deal really.

Yes, it is a big deal that the dull menial tasks are still mostly seen as 'woman stuff'.

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:22:54

Errol - I think on this subject we are going to have to agree to disagree. I have tried to explain how I personally feel on the subject. (been a bit bashed) oh well I can take it grin.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 05-Nov-13 23:29:02

Yes, I'm sure you can! smile

cathyandclaire Wed 06-Nov-13 09:01:02

My DDs are teens now and way past pink they did play with a toy kitchen as toddlers but sadly it hasn't made them any more helpful in the home but I went into our local Mothercare recently, it's one of the new style flagship-type ones and the toys were arranged by age and type not gender...maybe it's only the old, waiting to be redone stores that still have the boy/girl thing?

LetToysbeToys Wed 06-Nov-13 09:44:23

Hi, burning ears smile

@plumrose If you're in again, or if anyone sees signs like this, please get a photo and tweet it to us @lettoysbetoys or share it on our Facebook page. We have managed to persuade a lot of retailers to take down the boys/girls signs this year, so were actually quite surprised to hear this is happening in Mothercare.

Also fill in our toy survey, we really want to find out which stores are still doing this.

Some excellent points being made on here with regard to why this matters. For anyone who thinks children aren't affected by gender stereotypes in toys, try looking at one of our blog posts. ?That?s for girls and that?s for boys? shows how some children feel about toys and gender, (and includes a few quotes from MN members from last years thread where we started up).

Crowler Wed 06-Nov-13 09:58:22

Hi LetToysbeToys, just got an email from Aspace with the same kind of gender breakdowns. FYI.

LetToysbeToys Wed 06-Nov-13 10:00:17

Thanks, could you forward it to us? lettoysbetoys@gmail.com

Crowler Wed 06-Nov-13 10:19:13

Doing it now.

Crowler Wed 06-Nov-13 10:23:02

Aspace is probably the worst I've ever seen, to be honest, it says:

For town girl, country girl, every girl -
with our range of doll houses, every girl can own their own home.


And don't forget something for the boys too! Start shopping now.

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Nov-13 11:20:51

I spend a very wporring amount of time being "angry" around doing housework, Its a mess. I would actually be less angry if I were a sahm as I would not resent it so much

AChristmassyJerseySpud Wed 06-Nov-13 11:43:54

Thank you to the poster who commented about my girls, i think they are pretty damn awesome too.

At the moment DD1 does Beavers, im an Assistant Beaver Leader (so definitely for girls!). DD2 is at home watching Disney cars and running around pretending to be a car.

Don't get me wrong, i don't have two 'tomboys'. DD1 loves skirts, dresses and being girlie, but shes not afraid of 'boys toys' or 'boys games'

DD2 loves peppa pig as well as Fireman Sam. DH just aren't overly particular about buying girlie around them.

Its the parents who are telling their kids they can't play with certain toys not the kids.

Like the men who say 'Oh no my DS can't play with that. It might make him gay'

Thats about the point i feel stabby

jellybeans Wed 06-Nov-13 11:55:58

It really annoys me too. Many a time my DS (age 4) has seen a toy but then seen only girls playing on the adverts and then says, 'no it's for girls'. Ridiculous. All toys should be for both boy and girls except princess dress up maybe etc. Thankfully the ELC catalogue this year was excellent with boys/girls pretty much playing with everything. Much much better.

jellybeans Wed 06-Nov-13 11:57:18

The toys r us leaflet/catalogue was grim. It said something like 'toys for princesses' ugh!!! I have DSs and DDs and my DDs were never encouraged to be princessy, shudder at the thought!

DullDebbie Wed 06-Nov-13 12:31:33

I think I would be very concerned if my DS started playing with girls dolls, tbh.

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Nov-13 12:34:26

Yes, Debbie. He might catch the gay or something.

Or grow up to be a less useless father than some you read about on here.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 06-Nov-13 12:41:00

>I think I would be very concerned if my DS started playing with girls dolls, tbh.

Why? How old is he?
Would you be concerned if you had a DD and she started playing with 'boys' toys?

DullDebbie Wed 06-Nov-13 12:42:12

Yes, Noble. He might also have to endure years of bullying from his play pals because of it.

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Nov-13 12:54:18

My DS apparently liked playing with the baby dolls at pre-school, which was encouraged because he had a sister on the way.

No bullying resulted.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 06-Nov-13 12:56:53

No child should 'endure years of bullying' for anything.

3bunnies Wed 06-Nov-13 12:57:29

But Dull I think that you are likely to make things worse - children enjoy different things - imagine you go to collect your ds from nursery - he wants to show you his favourite toy which turns out to be a doll - maybe because it is novel and he's never been able to play with one before. If you say 'oh that's lovely ds one day you will be a good Daddy' he goes away happy - mummy likes his toy.

If instead you say 'oh no ds that toy is only for girls' he thinks oh no - mummy says that toy is just for girls to enjoy and play with but I like playing with the doll, oh maybe I'm not a real boy, maybe if I like girl stuff then I'm less a boy and more a girl.

I'm not saying that you should dash out and buy him the pinkest sparkliest doll, bath, highchair, buggy etc when all he likes is trains, but you need to consider relaxing your views a bit otherwise you could store up issues later.

plumrose Wed 06-Nov-13 13:42:59

Hi LetToysbeToys I am rarely in Brighton but if I am I will take a picture. I have written to mothercare's head office to ask if this is company policy and will let you know what the reply is via Facebook.

jellybeans Wed 06-Nov-13 23:34:45

All 3 of my sons played with (and had their own) dolls, pushchairs etc. Had their nails painted. Didn't do any harm whatsoever. And have not been bullied! But if they were it has probably come from attitudes such as those up thread who said they would worry if their boys played with dolls!

Psychological studies have shown that often mothers encourage and praise boys for playing with typical 'girls' toys yet fathers mock or ridicule it. Yet girls could play with either. This needs to be tackled. I would have gone mad if DH mocked my DSs for playing with dolls etc. How ignorant.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now