Would anyone like to join in an effort to convince retailers to stop categorizing toys by gender?

(1000 Posts)
OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 00:06:37

Following on from this thread and similar ones, a few of us are interested in discussing ways to send a message to retailers that it is not acceptable to designate 'boys' and 'girls' toy aisles which reinforce the message that science and adventure are "boys stuff", while girls should be primarily occupied with looking 'sexy' or practicing for domestic drudgery.

The first steps might be to draft a letter and identify a few retailers to target for an email campaign. Other ideas of how to get the message across are very welcome too, though.

Would anyone like to join in?

didimisssomething Mon 19-Nov-12 15:04:43

This campaign last year targetted hamleys:

delilah-mj.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/campaign-success-hamleys-toyshop-scraps.html

was successful (although hamleys claim they planned to do it anyway!)
short of time today but would love to help/support any campaign.

Portofino Mon 19-Nov-12 15:07:03

Count me in.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 15:11:39

The Halfords' bike saga gets worse. Two identically priced 12" bikes. 'Digger' for boys - 'Cupcakes' for girls (because "Girls love cupcakes" - wtf does that have to do with cycling?).

The boys' one has a 'handlebar crash pad for added safety'. No such feature on the girls' bike. Now I have no idea whether such a thing actually improves safety or if it is mainly there for design. But assuming it does, surely girls need to be safe as much as boys? Or are we supposed to think that all the little girls ride their bikes sedately round the park while the boys tear up and down hills? I imagine we are meant to, but evidence to date suggests that DD's rear-mounted dolly is going to be in for a bit of a rough-ride, so now I am going to have to try to find a bike which combines a rear dolly carrier AND a handlebar crash pad. That should be an interesting search...

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 15:15:44

Oh Grimma - the Raleigh website - MY EYES!

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 15:30:41

Amazon do it for adults in their giftes for "him" and gifts for "her" on the fron of their page. Fuckin depressing. Women get choccies and chiclit and men like cameras apparently. How thick do you have to be to just generically choose a gift from the gender category for the person of your choice.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 15:37:30

You can get dolly carriers as accessories if the bike you want doesn't have one. I've found some here which (sit down before continuing, you may faint) aren't all pink. According to the product features 'Our most popular kids cycle accessory for both boys and girls' . Boys can take their teddies for a ride!

Viviennemary Mon 19-Nov-12 15:45:02

On the face of it I can't see the harm in it tbh. And I love pink. My Mum hated it. So the option of pink whatever should be available for those who want it. I am fed up of people thinking their ideas are the right ones. I#m out. I expect I'll be the only one. Still never mind!

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 15:47:25

Not pink Grimma? Is that even legal? Thanks for the tip though - now DD's safety need not be compromised in favour of her fondness for her dollies. Hurrah!

I'm interested!

I recently read something quite depressing in an advertising magazine for a local shopping centre which came through our door.

One of the department stores - I think it was John Lewis? - had done a sort of advertorial where two small children (around 2 I think) were invited into the toy department to see which of the things they liked to play with most.

The commentary described the two children a bit and then talked about what they liked to play with, including the fact that "<girl's name> usually prefers to play with boys' toys".

It really raised the question, why should they be "boy's" toys, if girls love to play with them? And also, as you've said above, did imply that there was something wrong with this poor 2-year-old for going for the "wrong" toys!

on a slightly different tangent but I remember going to ELC to get baby DS a set of stacking cups. The assistant explained to me that they were on the top floor, where they had the boys' set, with blue and purple and red etc, and the girls' set, in shades of pink....

Do i presume that girls don't need to recognise different colours then?

Very "girly" toys, such as bottle-feeding dolls etc I can maybe just about understnad being pink, but why is this being extended to neutral items such as stacking cups, paddling pools and slides?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 15:54:15

There's nothing inherently wrong with pink. My DD has a nice bright pink jumper from the boy's rail in Next; her friend has a fetching pale pink - boy's M&S!

There's nothing wrong with the colour per se - its the genderisation of products which is the issue. Those bikes - just read the blurbs. Its not the colour, its the messages about what boys and girls are expected to do. Do a search on Bright Minds using 'science' and 'girls' filters (which a well-meaning relative might do) - its all pink perfumy stuff. A search for 'girls science' should include everything.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 15:54:55

But are dollies girly fire? why should they be? Men feed their children?

There is a whole brand of dolls called "little mommies" baby dolls your baby can mother [vomit in hand] emoticon

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 15:57:13

girls don't do science.. that's why.

I can prove it, if you look at every picture of a "Girls room" and a "boys room" in a catalougue. Boys will have computers, models, stars and planets on the walls.

Girls will have a telly, some Cinderella shit and maybe a pink book if they are lucky.

TerrorNotSoFrightened Mon 19-Nov-12 16:01:17

I would get involved with a campaign.
Especially as it would piss my parents off, who refused to buy DD the firefighter helmet she so wanted as 'its for boys'

angry

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 16:01:44

And the sad fact is that the result of this genderisation is that a lot of girls don't do science. Its sod all to do with aptitude, or interest...my DDs 'girly' friends used to love doing kitchen chemistry or bug hunts or making planes which really flew here but didn't have the kit at home themselves. No-one had thought to buy that sort of stuff for them.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 16:07:42

But Viviennemary, I don't think anyone is saying that pink toys shouldn't be available at all. Just that toys shouldn't be divided up so that aisles are not marked 'For Girls' and then filled with all things pink (and only pink). Because some people do shop according to such divisions and children can be influenced by thinking that something is 'not for girls' or 'not for boys'. It is equally destructive whether boys are the victims or girls. But, long term, it is the boys to whom the creative, scientific and adventurous toys are being aimed (lego, meccano, science sets etc) and girls are having dolls, kitchens, vacuum cleaners, and decorative craft sets aimed at them. All of these things are valuable learning toys but for BOTH sexes not just one. That is the problem.

I'm in. I have a 3yo DD who adores the Octonauts and pirates (she went to a friend's princess and pirate party and was the only girl pirate there - she didn't care) and whose current ambition is to be a doctor.

But she's already noticing the difference in how boys and girls are portrayed in films and on tv (I started a thread about it the other day) and tbh I dread the day she realises that she's not the same as most of the other little girls we know.

DS is only 10mo but I'm already getting cross about the gender stereotypes for boys - with clothing more than toys atm though. 'Girls' tops are often pastel and/or sparkly with slogans like 'Little angel' on. 'Boys' tops seem to be sludgy shades of brown, green and grey with 'Little mischief' type slogans. Bah.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:12:14

Exactly, pink is fine. I hate when people won't buy their children pink things.. if all of the media tells your child "pink is for girls" and then you tell your daughter pink is shit..what are you telling her?

I just want to see it used like any other color not to tell kids it's "for girls". It's just a fuckin color why isn't it used in normal sets of mega bloks or legos? Because it's for girls and if its for girls boys will obviously not want to touch it.

stumpymosha Mon 19-Nov-12 16:12:49

I don't think they are being lazy, they are being helpful. If you wanted to buy a play kitchen for a boy, you would go to the relevant isle in the girls section to find it. If the boys and girls sections were combined, it would take twice as long to find what you're looking for. It took me half an hour last year to find the pirate (boy) lala loopsy doll in the girls section. If the boys and girls sections were combined it would have taken me an hour because there would have been twice as many toys to search through.
Let children be children and don't drag them into politics. They have plenty of time to learn about PC, until then can't we just let them be little girls and little boys?
*ducks for cover.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:15:55

joyful your babies are similar in age to mine and older daughter younger son too.. Do you also find that clothes in the girls section are designed differently? The girl's shirts are figure hugging for babies! The shirts in the boys section for the same age/size are twice the size and cut in a comfy square shape. It's ridiculous, boys may be slightly larger in general at that age but not enough for that kinds of difference. And my dd is huge compared to the boys her age anyway.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:17:12

um, you are being ridiculous stumpy it's not convenient. Because kitchens aren't for girls. Hence buying one for a boy in your scenario confused

Eglantyne Mon 19-Nov-12 16:17:49

Count me in.

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 16:18:01

Yes me!
I want it to go back to when we got to chose what toys were ok for boys and girls. There was a brief window back in the early 90s I remember < wistful >

I dont understand why you think this is PC Stumpy

And the whole point is that we want to allow our children to be little boys and girls without some marketing genius telling us and them what that means.

And would you not have just been able to find the LaLaloopsy in the DOLLS section? confused

MMMarmite Mon 19-Nov-12 16:21:01

Stumpy it wouldn't have to take longer, they'd just sort the toys into different categories instead. Eg. "lego kits", "science kits", "toy food and kitchen stuff" and so on.

Halloween I have noticed that, but DD is tall and skinny for her age so girls tops are still pretty loose. And of course we've always bought clothes from both sections in shops, depending what we thought was nice.

Her two favourite tops in the world are her pink 'World's best big sister' one and her black and white stripy one, because she says it makes her look like a pirate. grin

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