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?

5madthings Mon 19-Nov-12 00:14:38

Marking place smile

tethersend Mon 19-Nov-12 00:18:57

Marking place also- I think advertising needs to be targeted too.

Advertisers are getting away with stiff they simply wouldn't be allowed to were they advertising to adults. I saw a toy advertised the other day with the announcement 'and now, for girls..' can you imagine an advert saying 'and now, for women...' and remaining on the air?

5madthings Mon 19-Nov-12 00:21:43

Yes advertisers as well.

So many have the toy section split up into boys and girls on their websites, its unnecessary and lazy.

John lewis

Shall come and add more tomorrow.

Wetthemogwai Mon 19-Nov-12 00:25:15

Meee! My friends partner takes this to the max by not allowing their ds o even have a purple dummy because 'its for girls' the poor boy isn't even allowed a kitchen or play food! I think it's utterly pathetic and styfling and pretty damaging too!
Changing the marketing would go a long way to ease these attitudes I think though its a far from easy task

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 01:55:22

I've put some thoughts down in writing, just to get the ball rolling re: what aspects of the issue we want to focus on, and how we want to organise our points. These are just rough ideas, some of which might find their way into an eventual letter template (if anyone wants to help draft one?!), and some of which might not.


•It is not the place of retailers to determine which toys are appropriate
for which children, outside of safety warnings related to age. It is the parents’ role to decide which toys are appropriate for their children, and we are asking as parents that retailers respect that.

•It is lazy and unnecessary to categorise toys in this way. They can be
grouped by age or by interest, e.g. “fashion”, “role play,” “construction,”
“vehicles” etc.

•The idea that boys and men are drivers, explorers, builders and
adventurers, and that girls and women should be concerned mainly with
domesticity and beauty / image, is as outdated as it is offensive. By reinforcing these archaic ideas retailers are alienating a large and growing proportion of the consumer public.

•We recognise that toy manufacturers, marketers, and consumers share
responsibility for the increasing polarization of what is considered to be
“for boys” and “for girls,” and for the disturbing trend toward image-
obsessed and age-inappropriate toys for girls in particular.

However, retailers reinforce and perpetuate these damaging messages by overtly designating “Girls” and “Boys” aisles / sections. Because brick-and-
mortar shops and online stores are the actual point of contact between
the young consumer and the products on sale, we believe that the retailer
has a particular responsibility to avoid sending the message that certain
items are only appropriate for one group of children or the other.

Why it is damaging to children for retailers to group toys by gender:

•It strongly discourages children from pursuing interests outside of the narrow (particularly narrow in the case of girls) range of options in the section
designated by their gender. Some children may feel comfortable choosing
toys from the “other” aisle or website list, but many more are likely to conform with the expectation being reinforced by the adult establishment. Why should a child have to find the courage to subvert adult expectation before she can choose a rocketship from the toy shelf?

•It sends a message to the girl who likes Thomas and Friends that she is
not a “proper” girl, and to the boy who wants Sylvanian Families that he is
not a “proper” boy, because they like toys that the shop tells them are
for the other gender. Why would you want the children of your
customers to be made to feel that there is something wrong or lacking
about them, because they want to buy a product that you’re trying to sell?

•It perpetuates the mindset that girls and women are the lesser, inferior
“other” due to the fact that the “standard” version of a toy (original Duplo or Lego, multi-coloured V-Tech type toys, building blocks [others??]) inevitably ends up in the Boys section, while a pink or purple “other” version goes into the Girls section.

•The practice of categorizing toys by gender is detrimental to both
boys and girls (why should boys be discouraged from nurturing role play,
with dolls and prams?). However, the messages sent about which themes
each gender should be interested in are particularly offensive to, and
limiting for, girls.

The toys in the Girls sections tend to fall into one of the
following categories:
1. The pink, “other” versions of standard toys, as mentioned above,
2. Toys that encourage a focus on domestic roles like childcare and cleaning (which are fine for role playing fun, but damaging when accompanied by the clear message that these activities are only for girls, and are among the few things that girls are / should be interested in),
3. Toys that encourage concern, from a very early age, about beauty, fashion, image, and even “sexiness.”

In the Boys’ section, meanwhile, are toys that encourage play involving space travel, construction, planes, trains and automobiles, adventure, science projects,
and role play as ‘heroes’ (superheroes, firefighters, police officers). Nothing in the Boys section indicates that little boys should spend any time thinking about whether they’re attractive or worthy of the attention of the other sex.

That's all I can come up with at the moment! But I will come back tomorrow and will be interested to see what thoughts others might add. I think the main trick will be making all the points that need making, while composing a clear and pointed letter, rather than an interminable internet rant! smile

paperclips Mon 19-Nov-12 04:15:46

onehandwavingfree - Nice one, very well said.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 19-Nov-12 04:31:26

That's a comprehensive and well thought-out argument, OneHand, but when my DD was born the gender split between toys, in particular the dreadful colour coding, was nowhere near what it is now. Likewise with clothing. So what happened?
How will we go about changing the mindset of parents? Which came first?
It is a very worthwhile campaign, I'd love to see it have a significant effect before I'm selecting presents for grandchildren.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 19-Nov-12 06:00:22

I've facebooked a couple of big retailers here in NZ about this recently. One kindly said I could buy from either aisle hmm. The other said that some wholesalers require it, and that a survey of customers also wanted it. I find that hard to believe.

But 400 letters here in NZ was enough to get Cadbury to go palm oil free so there is hope.

There are a few facebook groups you might find interesting:

A mighty girl

Pink stinks

Meglet Mon 19-Nov-12 06:46:47

Marking my place.

alexpolismum Mon 19-Nov-12 07:10:16

wasn't there a thread recently about the dressing up costumes available for girls? Or perhaps it was mentioned on a thread about something else. Anyway, I see this as also coming under the category of "toys". Why can toys not just be for children, with the children themselves deciding which ones they are interested in?

I am not sure whether it has come about because of consumer demand or if it has come from manufacturers, I think a bit of both. The manufacturer plants the seed - so much better for them to sell 2 boxes of lego (for example) to one family, one "normal" and one with pink bricks, that's twice the sales. Excellent marketing. The consumer picks up on the idea and perpetuates it.

So I suppose what I'm saying is that the manufacturers use an already existing strain of sexism in society and exaggerate it. The advertisers make it a hundred times worse and then the customer takes it on board. It will be very hard to change, I think, as it is so profitable. (this doesn't mean we shouldn't try, just that I think it is an uphill battle)

Himalaya Mon 19-Nov-12 07:48:41

Maybe set up a Facebook page?
List all the retailers that do and don't and get people to write letters.
A petition on change.org aimed at the biggest culprits.
Start at around Xmas with the ask being for change before next Xmas?

I think it is consumer driven - if you look at catalogues sent to schools and playgroups etc they say role play, construction etc not girl/boy.

Still it is worth telling retailers that there are consumers who don't support stereotyping.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 08:17:15


Just do an image search for 'boys toys' and then for 'girls toys'.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 08:52:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5madthings Mon 19-Nov-12 08:55:44

Also TowardTheStars on fb is another page whivh talks about this and has good links etc.

GeekLove Mon 19-Nov-12 09:00:00

Count me in! Will publicise such a campaign with twitter and Facebook. I am a parent of two boys and the gender stereotyping is so depressing.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 09:01:28

Are there any good retailers out there who we could (a) recommend and (b) cite as examples to the perpetrators of sexist shite marketing for kids?

Even any which have got better - Bright Minds does still have links for 'girls toys' and 'boys toys' on the web but not too prominently and while they do still have a pinkish page in their catalog in the science section at least its no longer labelled 'girls science'. (I think DD still skips that while poring over gadgets on the other pages, pinkifying definitely loses some customers)

SamuraiCindy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:04:50

This is a great idea. Just as I was reading it an ad came on Nick Jr, (DD loves Peppa) for a Ben and Holly toy, describing Holly as 'everyone's favourite fairy princess' and Ben as 'an adventurous elf'. It's everywhere!!!!

I have got my DD a castle, a pyramid and jigsaws for Christmas. I also buy her boys' pyjamas as they are the ones with Buzz Lightyear and all the cool people on them. But I am sick of having to go into the 'boys section' to find things my daughter will like. It isn't right.

SuePurblybiltbyElves Mon 19-Nov-12 12:12:22

Marking place for when I have more time.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 14:30:05

I would wholeheartedly support this. Not toys exactly, but gender stereotyping-related - we are looking for DD's first bicycle at the moment and I went onto Halfords' website a few minutes ago. It may be different for the older children but amongst the 12" frames at least, all the girls' ones were pink or cute in some other way and all the boys' ones were builder/police/firechief-themed. As DD would be absolutely delighted with a carrier on the bike for her dolls/cuddly toys, I can't bring myself to buy her a boys' bike just on principle so she will no doubt be cupcake or panda themed (assuming we don't find something elsewhere).

However, the bit which really irritated me was the blurb on the website below the bikes. An example:


"If you're buying a first bike for your child, we have some great small bikes featuring popular characters from your children's favourite movies, cartoons and TV shows.

But if your kid enjoys exploring or doing tricks, then take a look at our top-of-the-range boys mountain bikes and BMX bikes from brands like Vibe, Apollo, Raleigh and Trax."


"From balance bikes for beginners, up to girls mountain bikes for the more adventurous, our range includes everything a young girl could need to get into cycling.

We've even got a great collection of kids bike accessories that match our girls bikes - ideal for budding fashionistas. We'll fit these free of charge if you buy them at the same time as your bike."

So, only "adventurous" (read tomboy) girls need mountain bikes - for most girls, cycling should be all about the fashionable accessories.

Give me strength. And the sad thing is, in many cases, this will end up being true.

I'm in! Just noticed that the Playskool Elefun Aero balls toy is "now available in pink" FFS, make it stop!

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 14:41:31

Oh and as for good retailers, when I looked at the ToysRus website recently, it didn't seem to be divided into Boys and Girls toys as far as I could see. Also I am fairly sure our local ToysRus divides the aisles up by type of toy rather than gender. However, as DD steadfastly refuses to leave the Doll aisle, I could be wrong.

I also read somewhere that Smyths categorise by type of toy rather than gender.

The Entertainer is a shocking offender in store - all science sets are in the Boys' section, for example (albeit that includes the 'Make Your Own Perfume/Soap' type sets). However, their website seems to have been changed recently, as it used to list toys by gender on its home page and no longer appears to. So maybe the message is filtering through...

DewDr0p Mon 19-Nov-12 14:47:15

I'm in.

I especially dislike the way manufacturers take toys that surely everyone would understand as gender-neutral (eg keyboard) and produce a pink and blue version. Grrrr.

My boys (I have 3) love all sorts of "boy" toys but also secretly like playing occasionally with dolls. But of course noone at school can know that. Cause of course they won't grow up to maybe be fathers or anything. My eldest is really good at art but thinks it's too "girly" to do often. But by far most damaging is this message that for girls it's just all about being pretty. Yuck.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 14:49:53

Oh bikes...if you are feeling like a little post-parandial apoplectic fit take a look at the children's bikes on the Raleigh website.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 14:59:17

The toysRus website search does have a gender filter but - from a cursory look - it was not filtering much out which is good. Instore the 'pink' aisle tends to be the one part DD wouldn't go into at all except if we were looking for a present for a friend when she was little. I suspect very few boys (even if they wanted the Sylvanian families which live there among the pink) would be seen dead.

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

This campaign last year targetted hamleys:


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'


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

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:24:29

Yes it would make infinitely more sense to things by category or alphabetization then trying to decide if you need to go the boys or girls section to buy a plastic paddlin pool.

DewDr0p Mon 19-Nov-12 16:24:32

Really stumpy? Couldn't the toy kitchen just be in the "playing house" section (or whatever you decide to call it)

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:26:53

being a good big sister, and being a good pirate are very important TJPD grin

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 16:27:45

Surely it would be easier Stumpy? Because instead of having to think 'Kitchen - ah ha - it relates to the house so must be a girls's toy, I will go to the girls' section', you would just have to head to the 'Play Kitchen' section or 'Household toy' section or whatever they called it and, behold, it would be there, whether you wanted one for a girl or a boy.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-Nov-12 16:28:11


HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 16:31:37

stumpy i shouldn't have called you ridiculous, I apologize. But seriously, do you really not think that by telling a child that something is "woman's work" form day one that you are doing your children a disservice? It's not about being political, it's about being aware that we are training our children to be grownups one day. It's why we teach them to read and do math and spell. So one day they will use those skills we know they are learning for the future. So if you tell them now that kitchens are for girls they will know as grown up daddies that their wife should really get dinner on the table

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 16:48:05

confused If by "don't drag children into politics", stumpy, you mean that we shouldn't try to influence what children think about the implications of their gender, and should just let them get on with being kids without worrying about it, then shouldn't you be on the other side of the argument?

Grouping toys into "Boys" and "Girls" sections is what's political (and harmful). We're asking retailers to stop doing that.

babylann Mon 19-Nov-12 16:57:02

I'll do whatever I can to contribute to this. I have been very bothered for the past few weeks when my 2 year old who I have tried eagerly to shield from gender stereotyping held up two toys and said "this one [pink princess thing] is for girls, this one [red and blue mickey mouse version of the same toy] is for boys."

She doesn't watch tv with adverts, or have any family or friends who would express those sentiments, she's purely influenced by the subliminal messages of
The world and it made me want to cry.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 17:04:33

There seemed to be a will do to something about this issue, growing out of GretaGip's thread over the weekend.

I started this new thread in the hopes that instead of it being a debate about whether the issue is important, it could be a place for those of us who do think it's important to start talking about action.

I don't claim to have any brilliant ideas myself, but I would like to make whatever effort I can to have a chance at changing things by the time dd is old enough to feel self-conscious about what section she chooses things from. It would be such a small thing for retailers to do, such a simple change, I think there really is a chance that we could influence one or two of the main offenders if we convince them that there are enough of us who are being alienated by the current practice <adjusts rose-tinted glasses>.

I am in Ireland, not the UK, so would really love if we included chains that operate in both places (Boots and Debenhams do).

So, to summarise the suggestions so far:

* Email campaign targeting main offenders (to be identified).
* Campaign via a Facebook group, either a new one with a specific action
plan, or an approach to an existing group with a similar concern, such as
PinkStinks, A Mighty Girl, and Toward the Stars.
* Online petition via Change.org
* Some kind of recognition of examples of better practice - i.e. shops and
websites that group toys by age and interest, not gender.
* See if MNHQ can use any influence to help? (I threw that one in there

Did I miss any? Thoughts on the above? Practicalities, likelihood of being effective, etc.?

Halloween, I completely agree with you about dolls - DS has a pushchair and a pink drinking cup and couldn't give a monkey's about colour. I'm just noting that the omnipresence (is that a word?) of pink is speading from more traditional girls' toys into gender neutral stuff. We can agree / argue that dolls etc shouldn't be branded pink to start with, but Why TF would parents buy a pink slide or sandpit?

there was a uni student canvassing on here a couple of months ago about children's clothes, a couple of us replied, both saying that we wanted a unisex range of purple, green, orange, brown etc not "boys" and "girls" clothes - I'm still baffled what's inherently female about the owl shirt DS has from M&S's girls' range.

specialknickers Mon 19-Nov-12 17:05:22

I'm in! I find it infuriating that kids have to deal with such sexist shit in this country. It's actually not like that in other countries, so why here? If you even want to buy a bloody duvet cover you have to choose between blue (with cars and boats) or pink (with spots and birds) on. Even in John frikkin Lewis.

Why are we so regressive?

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 19-Nov-12 17:08:36

I'm a copywriter, and trained in child psychology. If I can help, send me a PM. I don't know if I'll have time to check this often but I'd love to be involved if you need any skills I have!

RuleBritannia Mon 19-Nov-12 17:21:07

I quite agree with this proposed campaign. I also find the boys' and girls' aisles in toy shops annoying - also the aisles for their clothes.

One of my grandsons is 7 and he's been helping his mother parents for the last 3 years to prepare meals by chopping vegetables. He wanted to. I was a bit hmm about the sharp knives but it was not my place to interfere. When he was younger he loved getting out the vacuum cleaner to play with the cat. He's also allowed to stir simmering risotto for which he chopped vegetables. With evidence like this - and there must bne others - why do manufacturers and retailers think that cooking and other domestic work is just for girls?

tougholdbird Mon 19-Nov-12 17:31:55

I'm in! Sooooo pleased to see this thread, this has been a pet hate of mine since I had DD

AndIfATenTonTruck Mon 19-Nov-12 17:52:21

I'm in. My son chops veggies too. There is an online shop I like called the Happy Puzzle Co which is NOT gendered, yay! That's the only contribution I have for the moment.

stumpymosha Mon 19-Nov-12 18:25:54

Is everyone that doesn't share your opinion ridiculous? I wish I felt that important.
You knew exactly what I was getting at so there was no need for your pedantry. I will however elaborate just in case you really are lacking in intelligence.
Traditionally, a kitchen would be bought for a girl. Therefore we would know to find it in the girls section whether it was for a girl or not. I'm not saying that girls shouldn't play with boys toys and vice versa, I used to love playing with my brothers action men but I wasn't offended that they were sold specifically for boys.
Yes, I would find the lala loopsy doll in the dolls section, eventually, amongst the action men, spiderman figures, skylander figures, buzz lightyear and probably 100s of other 'boys dolls'.
It feels to me that a lot of people, and not just in this thread are deciding what is offensive to certain people without even considering their opinions, in this case boys and girls. I didn't say it's PC, I'm trying to say point out that this is the way it's going, equal rights are being taken too far here. Do you really think children care that their toys are categorized into gender specific sections? I know it didn't cross mine or my childrens minds.
We've already burned our bra's what more do you want?
I can imagine a day when we can't legally distinguish the difference between boys and girls toys which is a shame because children do realize the difference between boys and girls.
It's already happening in the adult world, it's only a matter of time before political correctness affects our children too. It's already happened to some of their nursery rhymes because of prejudice hasn't it? What next? Jack and Phil went up the hill? Holly put the kettle on, that's good because Holly isn't a gender specific name. I'm not trying to argue, I do understand how people feel but it's going to far. Most girls like looking at girls toys in the shops and most boys love looking at boys toys and don't want to have to look at the girls toys too. Shouldn't we be siding with the majority?

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 18:29:06

You would find spiderman etc in 'action figures'

And the nursery rhymes thing was a product of a dirty tricks campaign in the 70s to discredit the 'loony left'

sunshine401 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:32:51

For real??

Traditionally, a kitchen would be bought for a girl. Therefore we would know to find it in the girls section

The kitchen is traditionally associated with the female gender because in less enlightened times that is where a woman would spend a significant amount of time, doing 'women's work'. How is this a good thing to teach children?

stumpymosha Mon 19-Nov-12 18:36:00

When did I say you should tell your children that a specific job is women's work? I don't remember saying that, probably because I didn't. My son played with boys toys and he does the night feeds, cooking cleaning etc. Wanting to play with gender specific toys won't do your children any harm. Finding toy ovens in the girls section is not going to make boys think that cooking is solely a woman's job, give your children a bit more credit than that, please. Toys have always been split into gender specific sections and most children have grown up with modern, fair, healthy and realistic principles and values. If it aint broke, don't fix it. That's all I want to say now. You all have a good evening.

sunshine401 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:36:59

How do children know what about sections?
I do not get the big deal about this. It may be split into boy/girl sections in some places so what? So are clothes and women and men's gift aisle whats the big drama about really?

Zwitterion Mon 19-Nov-12 18:37:42

Count me in.

sunshine401 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:39:02

Although I hate shopping so I'm in and out in a dash so do not real stand about and look at section names smile

sunshine401 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:39:45


coocoocachoo Mon 19-Nov-12 18:45:43

I'm in <rolls up sleeves and marks place>

PiggeryJokery Mon 19-Nov-12 18:47:35

I just wanted to highlight this place - www.funlearning.co.uk/

Completely amazing shop, gender neutral as far as I can see. Their website doesn't seem to mention boys or girls at any point. I looked at a "Glittery Handbags" product and a Spy Kit one, neither bit of blurb marketed them as being for a boy or a girl. The packaging on some things does seem gender-biased, but as an example of an excellent retailer, I reckon FunLearning is pretty good.

NewRowSees Mon 19-Nov-12 18:48:25

I'd definitely support this! My son isn't quite 2 yet, but it's very clear to see that he gravitates towards all things pink! And his favourite toy is a tea set! He also loves his choo-choos and cars, but I'd hate him to ever be made to feel bad for liking 'girly' toys!

Oh dear stumpy, you misunderstood. I was explaining why the toy kitchens are traditionally seen as a girls toy, as you seemed perfectly happy that it should be so. My point was that when we live in a society where most people at least pay lip service to gender equality, why should we encourage our children to blindly go along with such assumptions?

I hope that clears things up.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 18:56:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 19:01:54

Takes my apology back.

Calls stumpy a fuckwit.

Awaits deletion.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 19:04:28

It's already happened to some of their nursery rhymes because of prejudice hasn't it?

And seriously, this old chestnut again? It's not true. We all knwo that's not true

whiiiiiiine, but you can't even say blaaaaack board anymore

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 19:16:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 19:21:56

I fucking actually heart that SGM. Hope the little girl really wrote that without too much parental interference.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 19:26:37

I love that link, SGM! And what a great mom too, writing her own letter when the kid's one got such a sorry excuse for a response. smile

LadyKinbote Mon 19-Nov-12 19:30:32

I'm in! OneHand - your posts sum up the issue perfectly.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 19:32:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

My DSs are now in their twenties and I honestly can't remember toys being so gendered in those days. I am almost certain that the main toy shops didn't have sections for boys or girls, but grouped things by genre. Also, toys tended to be in bright colours, rather than pink, so that you could easily swap them between girls and boys.

When I was little, I remember having miniature versions of a cooker and a washing machine, but they were made out of white painted metal so they looked like mini real appliances. Mind you, I also had a sheriffs hat, knights outfit as well as fairy wings! I wanted to be some kind of hero, waving my plastic sword.

LastMangoInParis Mon 19-Nov-12 19:40:08

Haven't read whole thread yet (intend to, though, it looks v interesting), but YY, most definitely I would/will support this campaign, 'gendering' of children's toys makes my heart sink.

ashesgirl Mon 19-Nov-12 19:49:26

Not read the whole thread but marking my place.

I wonder if the Everyday Sexism project would be interested in getting involved?

They are on Twitter and Facebook so already have a following.

MardyBra Mon 19-Nov-12 19:53:46

Too busy to read now but marking place to come back later. Sounds a good idea.

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 19:56:11

gurl that is what I remember from when DD and DS1 were little. Everything was primary colours because they were thought to be good for development.

Whizz forward to DCs 4 & 5 and the story is totally different. Pink and blue GLOBES FFS.


HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 20:20:44

I am surprised it took so long for toy manufactures to ralise that they could sell you the same old tat twice over by just telling you that you needed another color.

Pink globes? shock

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 20:42:48

Yes, because girl's brains cannot process geography in green and blue.
Apparently hmm

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 20:50:36

I'm in! Great idea. What a joy it would be not to tell the difference between boys and girls toys. In fact if this catches on we might not even be able to tell the difference between small children. shock

...And the world would then collapse around our ears...

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 20:52:31

I agree entirely that a big part of the issue lies with the manufacturers and the marketers for perpetuating the idea that you have to have a 'boys' and 'girls' version of everything (and there's some blame to be apportioned to the consumers for buying into it too). I do think that the issue of what's made in the first place, how it's packaged and how it's advertised on TV really needs to be addressed.

But as you say, HNC, their motive for doing it is clear. They want to sell twice as much to families (and extended families) with children of both genders.

It would be very worthwhile to take on the whole issue of gendered / pinkified toys, but I don't know how effective we'd be, at least in the short term, in making a noticeable dent in how things are done overall.

Whereas the rationale for concentrating on the toy aisle thing (actual aisles in physical shops and virtual aisles in the case of search tools on retail websites) in the short term, is that it's something that could potentially be changed pretty quickly.

I don't really see where there's a huge incentive for retailers to keep things the way they are, as there is in the case of manufacturers. They will still stock kitchens and spaceships, and both versions of Lego, and boys and girls will still enter the store wanting what they want, based largely (and unfortunately) on the messaging they've received from advertisers.

The only difference is that the pink legos and the multicoloured ones will be side by side on the 'construction' shelf, rather than aisles apart. Surely this could potentially have a positive impact on sales rather than a negative one? A girl who wasn't interested Lego when it was offered to her in five shades of pink, won't feel like she can't pick up the multicoloured box which is sitting right next to it. A boy who wants every possible kind of Lego might see the pink ones as an option to expand his range, when he would never have considered going into the girls' aisle to find them.

A girl who wants to play with dolls is not going to skip the "dolls" aisle because it no longer says "Girls" - but her brother might venture there if the "Girls" sign disappears. And the little girl might find herself browsing train sets if there's no "Boys" sign over that aisle to put her off having a look.

Surely all of this could be good for the retailer?

Given that the retailers are (perhaps) the most likely to make a change, can make a change as easily as re-stocking shelves and hanging a few new signs, and are the actual point at which children and parents finalise their decisions about which toys they want, I would argue that it makes sense to concentrate our efforts on them, at least to begin with.

I'm not at all trying to stifle discussion on manufacturing / marketing, and I will still be very much on board if the consensus is that we should try to target all aspects of gender-based sales of toys, in the way that PinkStinks does. But my own view is that we should bite off one chunk at a time, starting with the retailers. Open to feedback on that, though smile

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 20:53:04

shock sorry so long!

AllSWornOut Mon 19-Nov-12 21:33:24

I would also support such a campaign. I'm having an on going discussion about this with a friend at work who is convinced that girls should be girls and boys, boys (whatever that means).

jammic Mon 19-Nov-12 21:33:38

Count me in grin

Arkady Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:52

I'm in.
Nowt constructive to add as my brain has been addled by germridden children, but it is important to me.
One, excellent thoughts as to easily made but worthwhile changes.

LadyKinbote Mon 19-Nov-12 21:58:58

OneHand is right. We have to make it sound potentially profitable to the retailer and selling the benefits of mixed shelving is the right way to go. It's also a very focused campaign which could make it more press-worthy. Gendered toys is already covered (well) by other campaigns. Plus we would avoid the "but pink is a NICE colour" criticisms.

Excellent post OneHand. I agree wholeheartedly.

I'm in. There is no need for it at all, and it's damaging to both girls and boys.

Portofino Mon 19-Nov-12 22:36:38

Someone on another related thread linked to the 1976 Argos catalogue. There was not much there but none of it was pink.

Portofino Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:51

In the 1970s nothing was pink. We had Fisher Price - Treehouse, School, phone etc Lego - multi-coloured. We didn't WEAR pink. None of my childhood photos has me dressed in a princessy way.

stumpymosha Mon 19-Nov-12 22:44:42

Of course I don't believe that women should be chained to the kitchen sink and should have their husbands dinner on the table when he gets home from work. This is despite being brought up in a world where toys are categorized by gender. This was all made possible by my parents who had the intelligence to teach me, my brothers and my sister the difference between the fantasy of play and the reality of modern life. Just because someone doesn't share the same ideas as other people, it doesn't make them a ridiculous fuckwit. You are all spouting on about equal rights yet won't even consider the views of anyone who dares to have a different opinion. How is that demonstrating equal rights? We all have the right to an opinion, whether we are fuckwits or not. I might disagree as to whether this subject should be made into a big issue but I haven't personally attacked anyone, calling them names, that's below me. Is this what you teach your children? How to swear and pick on the minority and not to allow anyone to have an opinion unless it ties in completely with theirs?
I do agree that children should be allowed to play with whatever toys they want to as long as they're safe, I'm on board with that. Most of the time though, boys will choose boys toys and girls will choose girls toys, it's just the way they are and they have the intelligence to understand that they are just playing, it's not real life.
I'm sorry you feel the need to say the things you do to me, I'm not trying to annoy you, I'm just offering an opinion is all. I thought that was what these sites were for. Am I wrong? Are people that have the courage to swim against the current not welcome here? I'm not a bad person, I do believe in equal rights, I bought my three grandchildren football kits, which are stereotypically gifts for boys for their birthdays and I didn't buy pink ones for the 2 girls either. I do understand the issue but feel there are much more important things to worry about. Children are educated well enough to know that just because girls like dolls and boys like cars that these aren't the rolls they have to fill when they reach adulthood. Like I already said, give them some credit, they get it.

ConsiderCasey Mon 19-Nov-12 23:00:59

I'm so in. It would be great to do something collectively. The whole thing drives me crazy. What annoys me so much about the perfume/beauty science kits (and that awful misguided campaign to get girls into science -does anyone remember the name?) is the implication that girls are so shallow that they will only be interested in science if it relates to beauty.

As with the Lego friends palava, we have to make companies see that the way to get girls on board is not to market to them specifically by adding pink frills but to include them in the mainstream. Boys and girls playing with Lego together.

Aside from the fantastic ideas posted, what about targeting a particular gendered product then bombarding it with negative reviews, like those hilarious pink biro reviews on Amazon. I would enjoy writing some for sure.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 23:01:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plutocrap Mon 19-Nov-12 23:04:40

Where do I sign?! And can I add a PS to my signature that genderised toys are generally extremely ugly? It's as though they rely on pink or explosions (or that smug, rude jackass Lightning McQueen) to stand in for aestheyic and ergonomic value, not to mention workmanship (after all, after they've paid the Disney licensing fee, there's less left for other qualitative aspects).

"Children are educated well enough to know that just because girls like dolls and boys like cars that these aren't the rolls they have to fill when they reach adulthood. Like I already said, give them some credit, they get it."

So many things wrong there.

- I know plenty of boys who like dolls and plenty of girls who like cars. And I suspect there'd be a lot more if society didn't think it ok to sneer at those kids.

- There are a lot of people who would not think twice about saying, "oh you can't have that, that's for boys/girls". Where do you think they get that idea from if not from shops aiming toys at specific genders?

- There are still people out there who think there are such things as girls/boys hobbies/jobs/interests, and will not entertain any different. Again, gendered toys is a part of this problem.

RubyrooUK Mon 19-Nov-12 23:07:44

I feel very strongly about this issue. I have only a son and I think your points are excellent OP. I also hate how girls' toys are sold as being about attractiveness etc but personally I have a boy, so I notice it from the opposite side. I feel the message we are sending boys about being nurturing/creative etc not being manly is something that has a lifelong effect too.

My toddler son has two parents who both work. We both clean the house. We both wipe his bum. We both cook. He both push the buggy and snuggle him at night. His dad says how much he loves him all the time and hugs him all the time, as do I. To him, grown ups can live pretty similar lives regardless of gender and both can be nurturing and emotional.

So it depresses me that DS' three year old female cousin tells him he can't like Peppa Pig as she is for girls and he will have to like George because boys can only like George. My stepsister complains that she doesn't know what to buy him because she doesn't know what boys like. He likes reading, arty stuff, role play, throwing a ball - exactly the same as her daughter!!!

It depresses me that while all the science kits may be for boys (I had all those, not my brother, by the way) all the crafty kits are pink and purple for girls.

I disagree entirely with you stumpy. I'm not saying anything to you apart from disagreeing as you're entitled to your view obviouly, but I do not share it. I don't think that most of the time, boys choose boys' toys and girls choose girls' toys. I think kids love all kinds of toys and I just think you are limiting their imagination by categorising them by gender.

But then my brother did build a rampaging army as a child out of dinosaurs and My Little Ponies as he thought the ponies looked like they could deal with troublemakers.....grin

WineGless Mon 19-Nov-12 23:10:26

Marking place but count me in

ConsiderCasey Mon 19-Nov-12 23:14:28

"Children are educated well enough to know that just because girls like dolls and boys like cars that these aren't the rolls they have to fill when they reach adulthood. Like I already said, give them some credit, they get it."
But stumpy I don't think they do get it, no matter how intelligent they are. They're kids. And it's our job to make sure they have the freedom to develop their individual talents.

Also if, as you say, children do not take these ideas of gender roles into adulthood, then what is the point of having them in their childhood toys?

I'm glad you weren't affected by this type of thing in your childhood. You obviously have a different personality/experience combo than me. But I was affected by it and so were many of us. I wouldn't have been able to articulate that discomfort as a child, and I'm sure many children today have that same feeling. We just want them to be free to choose, to be free from the gender politics that is increasingly shoved down their throats. It's about depoliticisation really.

AnyFuleKno Mon 19-Nov-12 23:20:30

marking place too. I would like to be a part of this.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 23:22:37

As has been mentioned numerous times on this thread and elsewhere stumpy. You did not grow up with this. If you have grandchildren you really didnt grow up with this. So don't say because you who grew up in an entirely different generation know exactly how things will be for children growing up today.

ConsiderCasey Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:25

Halloween is right. Things are far more segregated than ever. It feels like a backlash somehow. Parading behind faux science for credibility.

Viviennemary Mon 19-Nov-12 23:37:30

Pink is only a colour after all!!

"I think kids love all kinds of toys and I just think you are limiting their imagination by categorising them by gender"

This abso-fucking-lutely!

I was talking to DH recently about the fact that all games consoles were (and mostly still are) aimed at boys. I never even owned a gameboy, and my brother did. Guess which one of us is the gamer now?

Now while some may use that as a good example of how it doesn't affect kids that much, as I obviously defied the stereotype. Take note of this, despite my natural aptitude for computers, and my love of all things geeky, I never got to pursue that love until I was away from childhood. While boys the same age as me were encouraged to play with computers, to learn programming, to own technology - I was encouraged not to.

Maybe if it hadn't been such a gendered interest, maybe I'd have pursued that love sooner. Maybe I'd have followed that path to a successful career. Maybe I wouldn't have done traditionally female courses.

Being allowed to play with so-called boys toys could have given me an entirely different life.

As it is, now in my twenties I am trying to catch up with boys who got that head start. Against younger boys who have had more tech education/experience than me. All because some people think that "boys will choose boys toys, and girls will choose girls toys".

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 23:53:18

What upsets me is why you would want to derail a movement to stop forced gender stereotypes on children. I mean why argue the point? Do you think it will hurt children to not be told what color their toys should be?

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 23:54:51

Posted too early,
there are many movements that I am not really interested in.. but unless they were going to do harm.. I wouldn't argue against them. It won't affect me. I can only assume you feel there would be a negative impact in not telling children what to play with.

I'm so in.
My favourite quote of the day is this:
"equal rights are being taken too far here."

Ah yes. Those rights are beginning to look far, far, far too equal. We definitely wouldn't want that, now.

KRITIQ Tue 20-Nov-12 00:28:38

(hand goes up)

Will keep an eye on this one. Well done for raising this. Lots of ideas so far!

I've just been browsing some major retailers for fancy dress for children to see how they are positioning the children. And so far, according to BHS, John Lewis and M&S, if a girl wants to be in the police, or be a firefighter, she has to be a Police"man" or a fire"man", it's even written on the back just in case she gets ideas above her station. How hard is it to write "firefighter"? And boys can be nurses, if of course they understand that nurses' outfits are always pink dresses, obviously.
Although it would probably be best if girls stuck to being princesses and fairies since that is clearly the most obvious vocation for girls.

And as for dressing up as a cat or a ladybird or whatever, you have to wear a frilly tutu. Because as you know, all cats are girls, and it certainly wouldn't be right to have a cat costume look like, you know.... a cat.

It's like grooming. Seriously Depressing.

ouryve Tue 20-Nov-12 00:32:53

Oh, mememememe.

It really bugs me that Argos classify pencils and craft supplies as girls' toys angry

zhx3 Tue 20-Nov-12 00:35:35

Count me in.

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 07:29:59

Apart from stumpy there seems to be fairly unanimous support for this campaign here. Can I resurrect Onehandwavingfree's practical list of things to do:

* Email campaign targeting main offenders (to be identified).
* Campaign via a Facebook group, either a new one with a specific action
plan, or an approach to an existing group with a similar concern, such as
PinkStinks, A Mighty Girl, and Toward the Stars.
* Online petition via Change.org
* Some kind of recognition of examples of better practice - i.e. shops and
websites that group toys by age and interest, not gender.
* See if MNHQ can use any influence to help?

- I would say don't make it part of "pink stinks" etc... (Although they could of course be supportive). It's a different campaign - aimed at retailers, and about girls and boys.

Could we start to make a list of targets:

John Lewis
The Entertainer
Tesco (?)
Argos (?)... Although they seem to do this less than they used to - have dropped "boys" and "girls" in favour of pink and blue pages hmm

Ones that don't:

Harrods (...after a campaign...)

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 20-Nov-12 07:35:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Vivienne it is not about pink, although that is symptomatic of the problem. It is about children being told what they should and shouldn't play with purely because of their genitals. It's ridiculous.

Himalaya I agree about 'Pink Stinks', I think that muddies the issue (as demonstrated by Vivienne's posts).

I"ve just had a look at the Early Learning Centre website (mobile version) and it's arranged by type of toy, no mention of boys toys and girls toys. The dressing up section is still a little depressing but at least the costumes are labelled as "Firefighter" and "Police Officer" etc.

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 20-Nov-12 09:15:42

Boots' catalogue is pretty bad . However I am not sure about their stores. Anyway they are possibly not an initial target given they are not specifically a toy shop. But maybe for later.

Kveta Tue 20-Nov-12 09:18:08

count me in too

devilinside Tue 20-Nov-12 09:43:51

This is just so depressing, I found far easier with toddlers tbh, ds and dd shared most of their toys, and with no outside influences, were happy to do so.

But now 7 year old DD is not in the least bit girly, and there is not a single toy for her, she's not into dolls, hates pink (as do most of the 'brighter' girls in her class). She likes Harry Potter and Star Wars but then questions why there are no female characters in the lego sets etc. She loves chemistry sets, but again, with no female characters on the boxes or in the adverts, she thinks they are just for boys (and I can see her point).

Please, if anyone sees a chemistry set (not about bloody perfume making, or make up) with a girl on the box, please link.

OneHandWavingFree Tue 20-Nov-12 10:10:14

Here in Ireland, Boots do have a "Boys Toys" aisle and a "Girls Toys" aisle. John Lewis seems like a good place to start, but for purely selfish reasons (my own location) I would really love if we also targeting a retailer with outlets in Ireland.

Debenhams is the one that makes my blood boil most often, because the segregation is so pronounced, and the signs are huuuuuuge.

I think that it would be good to go after a few chains at once - maybe if there's a little bit of publicity around it, there will be an incentive for one or the other to be the first to take our concerns on board? Is that wishful thinking?

devilinside Tue 20-Nov-12 10:22:08

Looking online I have found a few chemistry sets with girls on the box (seems online shopping is the way to go)

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 20-Nov-12 10:27:37
MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 20-Nov-12 10:28:08

Oh sorry, didn't read your last post first.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 12:34:09

>"equal rights are being taken too far here."
yes, that line got me too... how do you take equality too far?confused Its either equal or it ain't.

Thing is, some of us, like me and stumpy and our offspring didn't get harmed by genderisation, by some combination of age and familial attitude. But you only have to read one post like Goth's to realise that an 'I'm all right, Jill' attitude doesn't wash. Genderisation does affect children, its unecessary and in many cases would be easy to avoid. Websites could simply stop categorising by gender, remove the boy/girl search filters (or at least, if they really want them, make 'girl + science' return the whole gamut not just pink smellies)

Only4theOlympics Tue 20-Nov-12 13:10:52

I am in. Can we start with elc! Oh it drives me Barry. Esp as dd has a liking for dinosaurs and mike the knight!

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 13:47:16

In Debenhams there are 12 science toys 'for boys', and 2 'for girls'


116 construction toys 'for boys' and and 9 'for girls'.


Most depressing of all is the girl's role play vs boys role play

They seem to go out of their way to be retrograde. This Construction Worker's set is modeled by a girl and a boy, but doesn't show up if you click 'for girls'.


Saw this yesterday, it's done with good intentions. But I'm still saddened that this is seen as a legitimate way to get girls into engineering, rather than just making engineering unisex.

HalloweenNameChange Tue 20-Nov-12 13:57:13

I'm creating GoldieBlox to inspire girls the way Legos and Erector sets have inspired boys, for over 100 years, to develop an early interest and skill set in engineering. It's time to motivate our girls to help build our future.

This is just inaccurate. It's only recently lego has decided girls weren't their target audience. Lego and erector sets are just totally unisex. You don't need a bear in a business suit or a dolphin in a tutu for a girl to liek construction. The actual link has "prettypicture" in the URL address

This video about attitudes towards what different genders are "allowed" is also interesting, it focuses on costumes specifically.

It's awful isn't it? Why is it that toys that are unisex seem to be seen as "boys toys".

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 14:00:18

The prototype version with the cotton reels and bits of wood and screws looks much more fun than the plastic version, with everything all thought out for you. When I was a young girl I wouldn't have gone near the plastic version but I was always constructing things out of junk.

RubyrooUK Tue 20-Nov-12 14:00:31

I think it's important to remember when targeting retailers with a campaign like this that they generally have very few feelings on how toys are categorised; they simply want whatever sells best. If they thought a gender neutral layout would encourage people to buy more and give them more options to sell to consumers, they would do it immediately.

But it doesn't hurt retailers that if you have a boy and then a girl, this means they can sell you a whole different set of toys for the second child. Sometimes even the same ones but in different colours - blue and then pink. If you just have two boys (or two girls) the chances are that they may simply use their older siblings' toys instead. So there is a commercial advantage to gender segregation in retailing to some extent too which would need to be overcome.

Retailers do affect people's views with their marketing, so it is 100% right to get them onside with this campaign. But they also reflect society and the people who shop there. I meet various retailers mentioned on this thread through work. They tell me that there has been an enormous rise in demand for "pink and sparkly" from their customer research and they aim to meet this demand. (Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.) Given the commercial position I mentioned above, retailers are happy to provide anything that may sell to their customers.

So while changing marketing gendered toys may help stop people feeling that boys and girls need separate toys, it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. There is also pressure on retailers from parents who do like gendered toys to continue this. My niece, as mentioned before, for example, only wears pink and has pink toys. Her mother actively said before birth that she wanted a girl rather than a boy and encourages the whole thing as she thinks it is fun, not at all sexist.

Er, not sure about the point of this post. I personally hate gender marketing as I detailed in my previous post. So I like the idea of a campaign; I just think it is a complex issue to deal with when so many people also enjoy gender separate marketing......

Only4theOlympics Tue 20-Nov-12 14:21:16

Dd does have some pink sparkles on toys and clothes etc. Why can't the pink and hour stuff be mixed in with the rest. Why does there have to be a wall of pink stuff wherever you go. Why do kitchens have to be in the girls aisle when every toddler boy I have ever known loves a toy kitchen?

And elc, pray tell why can I only find pink medical, nurses boxes in the girls section and plain white doctors kits in the boys section in your damn shop? Have you never met a male nurse or female doctor?

HalloweenNameChange Tue 20-Nov-12 14:29:01


I like that they fel the need (in case the pink and purple box didn't make it obvious) to write "girls only" on the front of the box

Miggsie Tue 20-Nov-12 14:56:37

Can I add that taking a totally gender neutral item such as a perpetual calendar and painting it either blue or pink is pointless - and if you don't like pink or blue - annoying.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 17:48:35

Ruby - no problem with retailers selling pink sparkly stuff.

Huge problem with a search for 'girl +science" turning up only pinkified kits.

Just imagine a well-meaning grandparent who knows their grandchild is into science or engineering. Trying to do a good job they tailor their search...'who is it for' on the debenhams site gives the girls a stunning choice of making fridge magnets or a Hello Kitty electronic keyboard. WTF???

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 18:03:14

That GoldieBlox thing seems superfluous...if you want to get kids into engineering buy them K'nex. Apart from a pink 'little house on the prarie' they seem gloriously ungendered.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 18:12:31

Back to the OPs desire for campaigning... this seems like an area where whoever it is in government who is supposed to be encouraging kids into STEM subjects should be taking an active interest. Turning a proportion of girls off science and engineering is doing the country a great disservice.

I am very much in. Can we extend it to include clothes please? Why can't children just choose clothes they like without having girls' and boys' sections. My DD refused to let me buy some Gruffalo wellies she had initially fallen in love with once she say they said "Boys" on the label. sad

"Back to the OPs desire for campaigning... this seems like an area where whoever it is in government who is supposed to be encouraging kids into STEM subjects should be taking an active interest."

That's a good idea! I know of one group campaigning for more women in tech who might be interested in getting behind this as well.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 18:23:35

Annie - well you have to have girls and boys because you don't want the lads deciding they want ickle padded bras....oh wait....

But aside from shops, I'd like to see gender segregation taken out of schools too. Even from pre-school, children are split into a line of boys and a line of girls, lunch boxes go into a girls' tray and a boys' tray etc etc. It starts the whole "us and them" mentality so young. I'd like to see unisex school uniforms and no gender segregation beyond toilets allowed.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 18:28:02


They'll just tell you they are responding to customer demand for ease of shopping and choice, though, I bet.... hmm

OneHandWavingFree Tue 20-Nov-12 18:35:52

Rubyroo I get where you're coming from. I agree that we need to zero on in a specific, relatively easy 'ask' of retailers, and one which is unlikely to have a negative impact on their sales.

That's why the idea of eliminating "Boys" and "Girls" sections in shops and on websites is so appealing to me. It wouldn't solve the whole problem by a long shot, but it would make a real difference to one aspect of children's (and parents') experience of shopping for toys, right at the point of sale.

I would love to see a day when there are no children's toys that are about practicing how to be sexy, and where the colour pink is no more or less prevalent than any other colour. But I get what you're saying - there are deluded parents out there who think that stuff is harmless, or even that it's a good thing, and as long as that's the case, manufacturers will make it and retailers will sell it.

So I don't think it would be wise or effective at this point to ask retailers to stop stocking Bratz, or pink versions of classic toys, or My Little Cleaning Cart or whatever. They're not going to do that, not for as long as it's profitable to continue selling them.

Some of the websites like PinkStinks and Toward the Stars (love that one, by the way, 5mad - so glad you directed me to it) probably have the right approach on that issue: remind parents that there are alternatives and keep banging away at why the harmful stuff is harmful. Raise awareness and chip away at the problem from the consumer end of things.

What we can ask retailers to do, which they might actually go for, is to stock the same toys in a different way. The coded messages will still be there and the marketing on TV and everywhere else will still resonate with consumers: they will still "know" that the pink things must be for girls, the action toys must be for boys, etc.

But I think it would be a genuine, significant "win" not to have a big sign over each aisle proclaiming that kitchens and mirrors are "For Girls" and cars and soccer balls are "For Boys". It is so ridiculously overt the way it is now, that it comes across as an actual directive. "You are a girl and so you should like this, or else you are 'like a boy'", and vice-versa.

I'm repeating myself now, but I think there's very little risk of sales losses by just stocking the shelves differently, and there's a potential for an increase if children and parents / adult aren't put off considering particular toys because they're in the "wrong" aisle for the gender they're buying for.

We know that some retailers have started to categorize by toy type rather than gender; I think someone said that Smyths now has "Fashion and Dolls" and "Construction and Vehichles" aisles. I wonder if we could get some information as to how the change has impacted their sales? If there's been no change in sales figures, or even a change for the better, surely that would be useful information in trying to make the case to retailers that are still stocking shelves by presumed gender-driven interest.

So... Who is getting it right? How do we get our hands on their sales figures? Are those figures publicly available?

babylann Tue 20-Nov-12 18:52:15

Skipped ahead from page 5 so don't know how relevant this post is now but I would suggest the first two stages of action be:

1. Make a facebook page
2. Start a petition

That way we have two clear pieces of evidence to show to retailers that there's more than just a small handful of parents with these views. If we can get the number to 1000 or so, that'd be a good starting point.

Little Miss Geek Another campaign to align with.

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 19:58:20

What companies often respond to, and what newspapers love is a ranking. I.e. a top ten, from most to least sexist toy retailer.

To do this you need a set of criteria.


Boys and girls aisles in store -2 points
Boys and girls pages in catalogue -2 points
Boys and girls as major categories on website -2 points
Implicit but unlabelled boys and girls aisles -1point
Implicit but unlabelled boys and girls pages in catalogue -1 point
Boy, girl as minor search terms on web -1 point

So they get a numerical score. No one wants to come last grin

That's an idea himalaya!

I'm in - some great ideas here.
One store that does layout their kids section in a gender neutral way is (Stasi favourite) Ikea.

LeeCoakley Tue 20-Nov-12 20:32:36

I'm really disappointed to hear that ELC are among the culprits. 20 years ago when my dds were young there was no gender stereotyping and no pink stuff as far as I can remember. Everything was cheery red, yellow, blue or green.

I emailed them 2 years ago when their website detailed 'girls'' and 'boys'' dressing-up chests and to their credit they changed it immediately. It sounds like they have forgotten sad

PigeonStreet Tue 20-Nov-12 20:40:24

I agree totally with what has been said so far. It makes me so angry how limiting toy shops are for kids who think they have to prescribe to the pink or blue sections. Count me in.

I like Himalayas idea.

I suppose photo contrasts would be helpful too: what kids play with when they can play with anything versus what they play with when it is limited by labels.

ConsiderCasey Tue 20-Nov-12 21:00:24

How about this weekend (or whenever we can) we each choose a chain-store shop near us and go through Himilaya's critieria. We could also take pictures of the offending shop aisles and toys (to show the ridiculous segregation) to upload to our lovely new Facebook page?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 21:12:56

Goths - 'Little Miss Geek' is such a cringingly awful name though.

LadyKinbote Tue 20-Nov-12 21:22:46

Great idea Consider. I'm going to Bluewater this weekend so could do Boots / John Lewis / House of Fraser / Mothercare / ELC / M&S. One of them, not all! (Or security might be having a word with me...)

babamummy Tue 20-Nov-12 21:28:35

Great thread.

Was in Sainsburys this morning. Aisle with playmobil had boys sign above it.

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 21:32:48

Have we got a facebook page yet?

The ranking criteria are only draft - might need a bit of editing and work - anybody want to add any other criteria? - they need to be clear and easy to assess with a straight yes/no answer.

Maybe one about dressing up clothes - are they all/nearly all gendered or are there unisex outfits for doctors, nurses, chefs, firefighters etc...? Not sure if this is clear enough a question, though?

I would be happy to set up a surveymonkey to collect the data for this before the weekend, if we can agree on criteria - then you can all go out and do mystery shopping ! grin

LadyKinbote Tue 20-Nov-12 21:47:34

SurveyMonkey would be great. No real suggestions on criteria but I think we need to keep it focused on labelled aisles and make sure we don't get sidetracked. Maybe a couple of specific questions along the lines of "how many items in each aisle relating to science / maths?" "how many items relating to role play in a home setting?" etc

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 21:55:41

The numerical score idea doesn't quite work because different retailers have different combos of store/catalog/web.

ConsiderCasey Tue 20-Nov-12 22:10:44

I've always wanted to be a mystery shopper!

Yea to the surveymonkey idea Himilaya! I agree with LadyK, to focus also on the types of toys that are marketed to boys and girls because that's the bit that limits kids - gearing boys to science/ construction / action whilst girls to home-making / child-rearing / caring about appearances.

One question though, as we're being covert mystery shoppers do we have to wear dark glasses and fake moustaches? grin

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 20-Nov-12 22:11:44

In addition to the +2 (misogyny) points for separate girls and boys sections on a website, could we have, say, +5 for searches like the one mentioned up thread where searching on "science, boys" produced 10 hits and searching on "science, girls" came up with 2 (of the "chemistry: it's good for making perfumes" variety).

Hamnvik Tue 20-Nov-12 22:21:00

Just marking place, I'm definitely in!

OneHandWavingFree Tue 20-Nov-12 22:35:14

I like the mystery shopping / reconnaissance mission idea... WIBU wink to collect info on UK outlets in Ireland? I know the vast majority of you are in the UK so of course the focus needs to be on retailers based there, but do you think it would be okay to include pics from Debenhams, Boots, Tesco in Dublin or Galway?

Would that demonstrate a broader base of support for changing things, or would it dilute the message?

I think LadyK's suggestion has merit (how many toys of each type) but wouldn't that mean that scores weren't comparable between big stores and small ones?

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 22:37:25

OK building the survey now. Will finish it tomorrow.
Anyone who wants to beta test it (I.e. run through the questions without visiting any stores) PM me.

Grimma - I think the scores thing can work. Either by normalising the overall score (e.g out of 5, 10 or 15 depending on how many different channels they have) or by having different categories "most sexist web retailer", "most sexist store layout" etc...

I think Ireland should be included too, definitely.

LittleTyga Tue 20-Nov-12 22:39:45

Think you'll like this grin

I'm going to hide here now and pretend I didn't read another post talking about this thread as if we are all overreacting and reading too much into things. Thank god for you sane people!

I'm going into town tomorrow so will make some notes if I go into any stores with kids toys in.

Would the scores thing be easier if we looked at types of toys and which aisle they're in? Then the différence in shop sizes isn't an issue.

So for example chemistry sets, Lego, Duplo/Megablocks, kitchens, craft stuff etc. So you could have 1 point per item if there's a toy aisle with kitchens and chemistry sets, but 3 points per item if the chemistry set is in the boys aisle and the kitchen in the girls aisle.

Or something. confused

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 22:42:42

> think LadyK's suggestion has merit (how many toys of each type) but wouldn't that mean that scores weren't comparable between big stores and small ones?

could do a ratios 10 boys science:2 girls =-5 points. 30 boys 'creative' :80 girls -2.7 points

Himalaya Tue 20-Nov-12 22:51:08

One idea could be to pick ten iconic items:

Chemistry set
Doctors suit/set
Construction toys e.g. K-nex
Nobility dress up (prince/princess)
Baby buggy
Electronics kit
Craft set
Cleaning equipment (brooms, washing machine)

(... Say....)

And ask people to indicate whether they are signed/labelled for one gender, colour coded for one gender or unisex.

That way you could give each store a mark out of 10, and also be able to say 8 of the 10 biggest toy retailers are giving out the message that little girls should not role play as doctors and 6 out of 10 discourage boys to role play as fathers etc......

Alameda Tue 20-Nov-12 22:57:16

now that I have stopped laughing at 'taking equality too far' ! . . . the Lego ad in littletyga's link is exactly how I remember growing up in the 70s, especially the practical clothes that could be handed down to or from brothers or sisters

but what a decade to look back to for inspiration in the quest against sex role stereotyping, wtf

Oh yes, I like that idea!

Definitely worth aiming for toys that can be seen as encouraging/discouraging careers and aspirations.

I guess what we need is
- where the toys on the list above are placed (boys/girls aisle)?
- whether the aisles are labelled?
- are the aisles labelled as such or just implied?
- is there a neutral aisle that isn't baby stuff?
- when items are in both aisles, what are the differences?

MummyCoolski Tue 20-Nov-12 23:05:14

Sorry if it's already been pointed out, but Lego have taken a step backward with their pinkifying. Interesting article with vintage Lego ad here:


I think another factor from the old days was that clothes & toys were expected to last & be handed down amongst siblings. A girl might have pretty dresses for parties but nost of the time would wear jeans & jumpers. Now clothes (& to some extent, toys) are so cheap, it isn't necessary. My DS is only four months, but I'd put a future sister of his in most of his clothes, they are so lovely & jolly colours.

OneHandWavingFree Tue 20-Nov-12 23:41:35

I kind of like the idea of rating stores, but I'm a little worried that if there are too many criteria, and if we include assessments of whether 'boy' and 'girl' aisles are implied even if not labeled overtly, we are going to lose sight of the simple, direct ask of retailers:

Please stop labelling toys as "For Boys" and "For Girls"

If they group like with like and label by type of play rather than gender, "domestic roleplay" for example, there will be a big row of baby dolls and prams and kitchens. And most of those items will be pink, because the larger problem, of children being socialised toward particular roles, will still exist, and because the toy companies will keep churning out pink crap because it sells (or sells twice as much of the same toy). So yes, there will still be a dreaded wall of pink, and it will be implied that it's a 'girl's aisle', and that sucks. But it won't say "Girls Toys" over it, and to me, that's an important enough step to make it our focus. Equally, of course, the non-pink aisle (where all the other colours live!) will no longer say "Boys Toys."

I know that all of it is important. But can we just start with the most obvious, overt, and offensive manifestation of it in the shops / on the websites? Can we just ask them directly for one simple thing: Take down the bloody big signs that tell shoppers and children that some toys are just for boys, and others are just for girls. It's not true, it's damaging, and it's turning a lot of us off shopping in stores that do it.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 23:55:24

Yes - I think you're right. And websites - avoid 'Boys' and 'Girls' divisions
and make sure that if you must have gender filtering it doesn't leave boys without arty stuff and girls with only pink 'science'. For instance, Toys R Us ,selecting the Technology and gadgets age 8-11, there are 134 'boys' and 165 'girls' - I think that the girls is all the 'boys' plus some pink stuff. That's so much better than the debenhams science example from upthread.

Himalaya Wed 21-Nov-12 07:59:47

Onehandwavingfree -

Yes I think the headline ask is to take down the signs but ultimately I think the goal has to be to get companies to recognise and promote the idea that a child's sex should have no bearing on the opportunities for play and learning they have.

This thinking is hard wired into the way most companies work. Take a look at this list . most have seperate buyers for boys and girls toys. This means these decision makers are driven to sell more pink sparky / khaki rigid stuff along gender lines - it's not in their incentive structure to care whether this branding turns girls off science and construction toys and
boys off kitchens and art sets.

Ultimately I think we need a change in thinking so that this becomes as unacceptable as having women's jobs and men's jobs and different terms of employment.

The Argos catalogue for instance has removed the explicit page headings but still clearly group toys by gender on pink and blue pages bookended by clothing lines which make very clear section is which. They are not grouping brands together (e.g. Lego friends comes under "playsets" the rest of Lego under "construction"). Lo and behold when you pick up your toy it comes with a sticker on it that says 'Boys Toy' or 'Girls Toy'. There is a category called "role play" (dolls etc...) but nerf guns and super hero suits are somewhere else (isn't that role play?).

I think taking the signs down is important, but kids pick up the message about girls toys and boys toys long before they can read.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 21-Nov-12 09:32:04

That list is depressing, Him - I'd not even thought about it but I suppose it would be like that in many organisations. It would be interesting to see how much the gender divide in the buyers feeds into what we see on the shelves/web/catalog (and where we see it).

3bunnies Wed 21-Nov-12 09:50:37

I'm on. I don't mind boys playing with 'boy' toys and girls with 'girl' toys, but would rather they were more gender neutral so children can feel free to play with what they want. Most of our toys are gender neutral. The one which REALLY annoyed me is the ELC globe, as I was buying it for a dd, wouldn't I like to have it in pink? Ffs I do not want any child of mine, boy or girl thinking that the land is dark pink and the sea is light pink. There is no need (except maybe on Mars) for a pink globe.

AndIfATenTonTruck Wed 21-Nov-12 10:42:19

just searched John Lewis for 'girls science' then 'boys science' [grr]

dragons?? fucking dragons???

AndIfATenTonTruck Wed 21-Nov-12 10:50:40

I just had another thought, on the dragon point. I wonder what the effect on sales of pink princessy stuff would be if it was in an aisle called "myths and legends" that graduated up by age-appeal to d&d, warhammer etc. The association doesn't really hold water does it, but I would think there would be a significant sector of parents who would avoid quite a lot of the princess fantasy if they thought their child would 'grow up goth'...

CheddarOnToast Wed 21-Nov-12 11:02:53

I agree with this.

I was in the toyshop with DD(4) to choose some Playmobil furniture for her dolls house. She pounced on the set she wanted (a living room set, with a fish tank). Then she noticed that the box was blue and that some of the other boxes of furniture sets were pink. She looked regretful and said "Oh dear, I think this one is for little boys, I have to have this one", and picked up a different living room set in a pink box (without the fish tank that she had so wanted).

We talked (again) about how boys can have pink things, and girls can have blue ones, and that they just have different coloured boxes to look more colourful, but anyone can choose whichever one they want. So we got the fish tank one.

It really annoys me when my daughter thinks there are some things she can't have because they are for boys.

And on a related note, I am also annoyed by clothes stereotyping - just looked at the Tesco clothing website and it says something like "For gorgeous girls and active boys..." FFS!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 21-Nov-12 11:09:16

Oh Cheddar, that's awful...that she should ever have such a thought put into her head, and because there are parents who'd have agreed or not bothered to set her straight. Glad she got her fish tank.

Yy, cheddar, I am noticing this with my 3 year old DD. "I can't have this because its for boys." - about a car!
4 year old DS had been unaware of any limits of gender on him - until school - and now he comes out with all sorts of stuff.

Himalaya Wed 21-Nov-12 12:16:08

Andifatentontruck - re 'myths and legends' aisle. I like it.

Not so much that parents would be put off princess stuff because of growing up goth, but more girls might get into warhammer and strategy games!

AndIfATenTonTruck Wed 21-Nov-12 13:08:27

thanks himalaya - I was bring negative about that association and you have found a much better linkage. I guess the paradox for me (mum of boy) is that I don't want to disparage the things which girls presently flock towards, because that is projecting value judgements on those sorts of things. And I do judge - toys prepare our children for adulthood, and last time I looked there were not that many princess jobs going.

What I do want is to be able to have as many good female role models for my son as there are males. It should be just as appropriate for him to identify with Wendy (in her project manager role) as Bob (the tradesman.

My little bit of anarchy is to do searches on toy websites for girls toys (etc, subdivided as you like ) and then only click through on the real science ones, or the proper standard lego. they do follow what people eventually buy after searches. I may write a snottogram to JL about their mis-genre of dragon craft into girl science right now actually. That could be a mistake...

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 21-Nov-12 13:29:47

Just did the girls science/boys science search on John Lewis's website - apparently girls do not like microscopes, telescopes, space rockets, internal combustion engines, ... but we do like bath bomb kits. How the bloody hell did I end up as a theoretical physicist, I ask myself? And would I have managed it growing up now.

ashesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 14:18:09

Just popping again briefly to leave a link to this excellent video on Lego and genderisation.


She talks in Part 2 of this about how Lego's gendered approach to marketing is a very recent thing. And that when we were growing up, boys and girls played with the same Lego toys.

ashesgirl Wed 21-Nov-12 14:18:58
GrimmaTheNome Wed 21-Nov-12 16:31:33

>apparently girls do not like microscopes, telescopes, space rockets, internal combustion engines, ... but we do like bath bomb kits

My DD likes (and has!) all those things including the bath bomb kit. The retailers who only offer the pink stuff to girls instead of everything else plus the pink stuff are idiots.

ConsiderCasey Wed 21-Nov-12 17:51:13

That feminist frequency video is amazing. I don't know if anyone remember but she was the woman who received all kind of threats and abuse because she planned to do a video looking into the representation of women in video games.

Cheddar, it's so annoying isn't it re. the "gorgeous girls and active boys". It just sends subtle messages constantly that our DDs should be concerned about appearances when in reality being active will serve them so much more in life. On the face of it it sounds like a compliment but just heaps the pressure on.

stumpymosha Wed 21-Nov-12 18:48:20

When I said there are more important things to worry about, this is the type of thing I meant. Stating "girls only" on the box is bang out of order. This is actually going into the child's home and is definitely the type of thing that will influence small minds. This toy should be boycotted.

Himalaya Wed 21-Nov-12 20:08:23

ok the draft survey is ready - does anyone want to test it (dry run, not for real)?

ConsiderCasey Wed 21-Nov-12 20:33:58

I will!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 21-Nov-12 20:44:47

I can too

plutocrap Wed 21-Nov-12 20:48:38

Yes, please.

OneHandWavingFree Wed 21-Nov-12 20:53:08

I'd love to have a look, Himalaya smile

Himalaya Wed 21-Nov-12 21:09:40

Of course Onehandwavingfree! (....and all...)

Will PM you.

Write beta test somewhere in the comments to make sure your answers get excluded from the final results.

Write any little comments (typos, wording etc...) on the survey, or PM me. Put any bigger comments/suggested additional questions etc... here.

Yes please!

Arkady Wed 21-Nov-12 21:39:51

We have at least one shop near us that doesn't have any labels up at all. All the lego is together including bloody lego friends, all the playmobil is together, whether spies or fairy unicorns, etc etc.
Any chance of the campaign including a way to big up places that are getting it right?

Himalaya Wed 21-Nov-12 21:52:29

ok. have PMed all the testers. Please get all comments back to me by tomorrow morning. Then I will do a final edit.

Arkady That would be good, carrot and stick. Hopefully it would encourage retailers to attempt to move from the derided group to the praised one.

Artemis206 Wed 21-Nov-12 22:37:27

Count me in. I've had enough of the pinkification of toys. When I was a child, back in the 70's, no one batted an eyelid about my parents buying Dsis and I toy cars, marble runs, Lego etc as they were the toys we liked. My son wanted a dustpan & brush set to go with his vac & other role play toys and I could only find a pink one.

My dd hasn't even been born yet (32 wks pg) and I'm really concerned about how much worse things are now compared to my childhood.

stumpymosha Wed 21-Nov-12 23:06:16

Laugh all you like, I'm not the only person who feels that dragging children into the issue of equal rights in this way is taking it too far. I actually asked at least 30 people at work today if they thought boys and girls toys should stay segregated or be moved together, without prompting them for a particular answer. I didn't even hint to them what my answer was and they all agreed with me, every single one of them. After I explained to them why I was asking, they were all gobsmacked. A few of them ecchoed your words, "ridiculous". Their words not mine. I didn't find one person who thought that segregating girls and boys toys was a bad idea. There were people that thought that the lego issue and everything girl being pink was an issue but I do too. It must be the area I live in I guess, we're all behind the times. It's nice to know that I'm not being a fuckwit on my own.

"dragging children into the issue of equal rights"

So when should we start making children aware of boys and girls being equal?

HalloweenNameChange Thu 22-Nov-12 00:13:20

I will laugh Stumpy. And again you haven't answered my question up thread about why something (this thread) that is in no way going to harm a child and in your mind is unimportant.. why should you feel the need to actively argue against it? Why do you feel the need to keep things the way they are?

And please answer me this, I beg you..
40 years ago in America, black people and white people had separate but equal.. so you wanted a bath room you had a bathroom. Buy you had to go in to your special bathroom.. was that OK too? and if it isn't Ok why do you feel women are a lesser group than other minorities (not that women are a minority..just treated as one)? Also do you think it was inappropriate for parents in that climate to push for their children to go to interracial schools? to drag them in to the issue of equal rights?

I will very rarely call anyone a name or insult their ideas.. but you have offended me so badly. You. The idea that in your small mind you feel my daughter and my son should have to be boxed in to some fuckin ridiculous idea of what a boy or girl should be.. because you find it too difficult to find a play kitchen in the housewares aisle! Can you please bugger of the FWR section.. you seem to be incredibly lost here as well.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Thu 22-Nov-12 00:29:29

Oh yes I'm in. This thing about household and doll-type toys only being for girls is giving me the RAGE.

And if my mother buys one more stupid, passive, simpering princess thing for DD I will not be responsible for the consequences.

HalloweenNameChange Thu 22-Nov-12 00:33:29

Are you at all crafty icutmyfoot? maybe chop the dolls hair in to a buzz cut and give it some/punk/goth/army fatigues...

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 00:44:23

Haven't read the thread, but wouldn't appealing to their profit margins work well? By implying that boys should only shop from one half of the store, and girls from the other, they are kind of dissuading them from looking at and potentially wanting things from the entire store.

I am sure that you would end up with aisles that have a mix if colors, but dd walks through the pink sections and refuses to even look at it. If some of the punk stuff was closer to the science/sport stuff she might look at it and even want some of it.

So, would toy shops listen to that argument?

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 00:49:05

I am assuming that everyone knows that pink used to be the color for boys, and it's Disney that instigated pink for girls? Watch 101 dalmatians and you'll see that the boys have red collars and the girls have blue ones. Therefore boys were dressed in pink and girls in pale blue. Apparently, this was what nature dictated. Since Disney switched it, it is now nature that girls like pink, nothing to do with society.

Cinderella wore blue you know.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 22-Nov-12 00:50:59

I will join.

I have 1 DC. A boy. He likes loads of stuff Inc. baby dolls, Zoobles and other stuff he finds cute. He gets flack for liking girl's toys. IMHO, this is due to gender segregation.

All the boys in his nursery had no probs liking what he likes. Now they are in PS it has become an issue. This is in no small way die to the way toys are targeted towards gender.

Doesn't happen in my house though.grin
But now it is a secret.sad

Halloween said it well.

Why do you think it is a bad idea to sort toys by role rather than gender? What is the advantage?

Dione I worry about that for DS sad

Both DH and I get flack for the careers we want to follow. We also both felt unable to follow those interests as children. We also both felt unable to own toys that related to our interests due to being told that the toys weren't for our own sex. We were both also bullied (one of us hospitalised) for not fitting into our gender box.

Still think it's ridiculous to want to remove that stigma?

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 22-Nov-12 01:09:55

Murderofgoths (love the name BTW), this is as much an issue for boys as girls. The sooner we realize that it damages all children, not just females, the better.

HalloweenNameChange Thu 22-Nov-12 01:13:00

I can guarantee Goth, that stumpy thinks you being bullied was bad..but can't see the direct link that telling children what gender box they have to fit in to led to your being bullied sad

That's the problem.

maxmillie Thu 22-Nov-12 01:14:39

Ooooo me. This bugs the fuck out of me. Have never quite got over the ELC pink globe, complete with pink seas and unicorns and mermaids instead of, like, real animals and realistically coloured land features as on the "boys" blue one.

aufaniae Thu 22-Nov-12 01:15:54

I'm in smile saw a marble run in M&S the other day which is part of a range labled "boys toys". I would never have imagined a marble run to be only for boys. Ridiculous! (and limiting their market, surely?!)

SomersetONeil Thu 22-Nov-12 01:55:06

"...who feels that dragging children into the issue of equal rights in this way is taking it too far"

See, I just do not understand this point of view.

'Taking equal rights too far'. So you actively want to be kept back behind men? You actively want your daughter to be kept back behind your son?

What do you even mean by taking equal rights 'too far'. It just seems so ridiculous and inhibiting.

And anyway - how is encouraging all children to play with all toys taking anything too far?! confused What damage is being caused by making this switch? Why do you feel the need to so vehemently defend the status quo...?

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 02:32:56

Yeah, cos you should have a limit on equal rights. I mean, sure women have rights, just not too many of them in case they start feeling all entitled and equal. Right? wink

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 07:49:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WineGless Thu 22-Nov-12 08:03:04

I too could ask 30 people at work the same question stumpy and no doubt they would say the same as your colleagues because they have been conditioned over the last 20 years.

I would suggest that if you took the time to explain the reasoning behind it as eloquently written by more articulate posted than I, they may change their minds.

WineGless Thu 22-Nov-12 08:03:29

SGM- shit, we can vote???

LadyKinbote Thu 22-Nov-12 08:10:53

I actually did mention this at work yesterday and my (childless) colleagues were horrified to hear that some shops label aisles in this way.

WineGless Thu 22-Nov-12 08:13:11

Maybe we should all do a poll of people we see today and ask their views?

ConsiderCasey Thu 22-Nov-12 09:26:36

Stumpy, I don't really understand your opposition? We are free to air our views are we not? If you think that it's a non-issue then why are you worried about it? If toys were labelled according to function rather than gender then why would that bother you, if you think it has so little effect?

If it's so natural for girls to want hoovers rather than space kits, then that is what they will gravitate to anyway.

aufaniae Thu 22-Nov-12 09:34:38

stumpy, so where am I meant to look for a marble run? In boys or girls?

(Boys according to M&S, but I had one of these and loved it as a little girl!)

ConsiderCasey Thu 22-Nov-12 09:37:14

I know! I love marble runs! In fact one of the best things about having a DS is that you get cool stuff like that for Christmas.

maxmillie Thu 22-Nov-12 09:46:29

Sadly there are women out there who think this is fine and actively encourage it.

There is a woman at my son's school who has a boy and a girl and when I was talking about this she said, oh I think it is fine in fact I prefer it as I only buy pink things for her bedroom and blue for his so it makes it easier if it is segregated. This is a dragon of a woman, divorced, professional and is constantly down at the school ranting about her children not being the best, not being given every opportunity. And yet we clash over this all the time. She was horrified when I said my boys had a buggy and dolls house. The older boys were playing sports the other day and I commented on how nice the oppositions' strip was (Pink stripes) and she said, "oh yes I suppose it is right up your street with all your gender stuff". She berated me in the playground for giving my 7 year old ds a goodbye kiss and said it was cruel to continue to do this as boys were embarrassed by that sort of thing.

She thinks I am some kind of bonkers feminist and I just cant see how she cant see how the (over) gender-stereotyping that goes on these days is damaging, particularly to girls it seems to me. I find most people either aren't really aware of it or agree that it is A Bad Thing to be honest. But I do find a small number of mothers of girls seem to positively encourage it - particularly when they have one of each, a boy and a girl? These seem to be the most girlified girls?

grimbletart Thu 22-Nov-12 11:51:24

"oh yes I suppose it is right up your street with all your gender stuff"

That woman obviously doesn't do irony maxmillie as she is the one who has "all the gender stuff" with her rigid pink and blue themes". What a clot.

MrsDimples Thu 22-Nov-12 13:34:21

I'm in.

Not had chance to read the whole thread yet. Gender stereotyping of babies, children, toys etc is quite a passion of mine.

I can't remember which Xmas catalogue it was in now, but Connect 4 was in the boys section angry

Wow toys, that I'm generally a fan of, launched some new toys, not too long back and a couple screamed pink girl toys, when there was no need. Myself and a few other people complained on their Facebook page. They said they'd undertaken market research and it's what their customers wanted. There were other parents getting their giddy pink sexist knickers all a twist in their excitement, I assume that's who'd they'd conducted their research on.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 14:11:23

MrsDimples, you silly girl, you're meant to get this for your DDs.

(sorry, hope that didn't make anyone lose their lunch)

>"...who feels that dragging children into the issue of equal rights .."

Children should not be dragged into the issue of equal rights. They should be completely oblivious because there shouldn't be any inequalities for them at all. Don't genderise so much kids stuff and there won't be an issue to drag them into.

wow, the creativity that the marketers must have needed to produce that little gem, Grimma.

"right so, one player will have pink sparkly counters, and the other obviously must have pink sparkly cou...oh, wait"
I expect they changed the rules so that you don't really need 4 in a row to win. Just one. After all, it is for girls.

Was out shopping today, just thought I'd say, big big thumbs up to WH Smiths, big thumbs down to TK Maxx

Lancelottie Thu 22-Nov-12 14:43:48

Creeping on here in a most ungrateful way, as I just posted a plea for suggestions for toys for 11 yr old DD.

Suggestions included nail art. In whose world is that a toy? How do you play with it?

(To be fair, lovely kind MNers also came up with suggestions of cameras, microscopes, and a rather splendid, non-pink, DIY castle which DS will probably coopt for stop-motion scenery.)

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 14:51:55

Lancelottie - link to your thread here and I'm sure we can oblige with more. grin I've got a 13 year old ..two years ago her main present was an electronics set and a soldering iron. Maybe not exactly a 'toy' but more fun than nail art. (she did get some nice blue/green nail varnish in her stocking)

maillotjaune Thu 22-Nov-12 14:54:04

I'm a bit late to spot this thread but I'm in too and marking place to come back and read properly later.

LadyKinbote Thu 22-Nov-12 15:35:20

What happened to the survey? Do we have one? Shall we pick a shop each for the weekend?

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 15:44:18

This thread is a good example of what makes MN so brilliant smile

Count me in please!

It's reminded me of when I was late in my 2nd pregnancy and at <whispers> macdonalds - 2yo DD was happily playing with the Star Wars toy (spaceship) from my happy meal while I finished eating. Another little girl (3 at a guess) tried to take the same toy with her as she and her mum left. The mum said "no you can't have that, it's for boys" and the girl had to leave her toy on the table, and she left crying! sad FFS! It was a FREE bit of plastic tat. Baffling.

Lancelottie Thu 22-Nov-12 15:50:46

Thanks Grimma, but as I said I was just being an ungrateful sod. Same nail-art-bearing MNer also suggested a camera so is clearly just versatile!

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 15:55:02

fuzz...well I suppose if you might only let your child take away half the plastic tat from McD simply as a means of plastic tat limitation.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Thu 22-Nov-12 15:57:11

smyths toys is refreshing in this way.
it categorizes by age and interest, but not by gender.

i think there's somewhere that you can choose boy or girl and the stuff is the same in each one grin

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 16:00:59

Possibly, but why say it's because it's for boys? Why not just say "no, you have enough toys".

I'm sure Burger King used to actually ask 'boy or girl' when you ordered your kids meal, when I was little.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 16:10:52

nickel - good! I couldn't see a gender filter at all. If you're determined enough to type 'girl' into the search bar then you'll get pinked, but you have to do it yourself deliberately.

Himalaya Thu 22-Nov-12 16:16:28

Survey should be ready to launch tomorrow.

Apologies for the delay, it's all Onehandwavingfree's fault grin

5madthings Thu 22-Nov-12 16:37:33

i mentioned this to someone today adn they didnt get it at all sad i told them about the debenhams thing and the schience kits for girls boys, apparently we should be grateful that they do any science kits for girls, doesnt matter that they are limited and crap perfume/bath bombs its better than nothing at all....bashes head on keyboard.

TerrariaMum Thu 22-Nov-12 17:16:04

I'm in. DH was a bit shocked when he went to buy DD some new sturdy shoes. He bought her a nice comfy pair of brown shoes which she can run and jump and climb in. When I met him at the shop, the assistant was just in the process of asking him whether he was sure he wanted those ones and not the pink, delicate girly ones.

I also am in favour of a Myths and Legends section for the same reason as someone said above; to get more girls feeling they can enjoy strategy games and/or monster hunting.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 17:46:15

My DD noticed a page of pink lego I'd managed to coerce out of the smythes site so I had to explain to her what I was doing. Comments included 'I always preferred the 'boys' toys'...'didn't go into the pink section'...'girl + science search, well of course that should give everything plus the bath bombs, that's just sensible'.

Oh Terraria don't get me started on shoes! DD is a very active 3.4yo who loves running, climbing, scrambling over rocks at the beach and just generally being an energetic child. We went to the shoe shop to buy her some boots (proper sturdy hiking boot type things) and all they had were purple suede things with fluff around the top! hmm Needless to say we found a proper pair in the boys section...

SomersetONeil Thu 22-Nov-12 18:34:54

It seems we've caught something of the zeitgeist. Waking up this morning, I see that one of my UK FB friends has liked and publicised this page... I hope the link works - you may have to log in.

Next are coming in for a bit of a hard time, judging by all the comments ... wink It seems a fair number of people do 'get it'. smile

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 19:12:10

It worked, and doesn't need a login to see the photo(I don't do FB). I know which half of the display DD would have looked at.

HalloweenNameChange Thu 22-Nov-12 19:27:28

It does show a total lack of imagination doesn't it? I couldn't possibly know what to buy.... and my son/ daughter couldn't possibly know what to ask for... if it didn't come off a fucking shelf labeled boy or girl. Is anyone that stupid?

HalloweenNameChange Thu 22-Nov-12 19:28:03

(response to your instagram, which is disgusting btw somerset)

" if it didn't come off a fucking shelf labeled boy or girl. Is anyone that stupid?"

Unfortunately sad

nickelbabeuntiladvent Fri 23-Nov-12 12:42:48

Just catching up from last night:

I wonder if we need to target that list of "boys' toys buyers" and "girls' toys buyers"?
I noticed that the top two at least were a man for boys and a woman for girls.
that's taking gender stereotyping into adulthood, which is not fair.

Maybe we need to contact them and ask why it's doen that way, and how they think they can help us to change that.
If their roles were categorized into "role play" or "domestic play" or "action" or "science and crafts" or "jobs and dressing up" like that, then their roles would be easier to perform without the genderization.

maxmillie Fri 23-Nov-12 14:48:54

Nothing more to add just "Yay Mumsnet" and "go, go go!"

ConsiderCasey Fri 23-Nov-12 17:17:22

Am looking forward to doing a bit of sleuthing tomorrow. Hope I don't get chucked out of any shops for suspicious behaviour!

LadyKinbote Fri 23-Nov-12 18:26:16

Me too! Have we decided on criteria though? Anything specific I should look out for? Are we taking a shop each?

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 19:47:48

Sorry I’ve been away from the thread – I am a transplanted Yank and yesterday was Thanksgiving so I’ve been busy with that smile . Himalaya and I have exchanged a couple of PMs on the survey, but I said I’d share my thoughts here too because I think it would be great if more people were involved in feedback and in contributing to the final version.

Big thanks to Himalya for being the one to get us started with an action plan rather than just an idea to do something. The idea of using the womanpower of MN to survey lots of stores in different locations, and to track where certain iconic items are shelved, was a stroke of genius.

Have people (other than the few who requested PMs) had a chance to look at a draft of the survey before we finalise it? Is there any reason not to post a link to it on the thread so that everyone can weigh in if they want to?

I do still have the one main concern that I’ve expressed upthread, and that’s the view that by not keeping it to clearly marked “boys” and “girls” aisles / sections / web search filters, we will make the findings much less objective and therefore much less powerful.

The current draft of the survey asks:

Were there obvious sections for ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ toys in store?

Yes with signs

Yes but without signs (clue: if you are not sure ask a shop assistant, or your child)

No, toys were arranged by theme / function

See, I think that the question should simply be “Were there signs indicating which toys were for girls, and which were for boys”. I don’t think it’s useful to include a subjective assessment of a section being clearly meant for girls or boys, if it’s not labeled in that way, because we are only inviting a response of “if you think that pink is just for girls or Lego is just for boys, that’s your own hang-up, nobody’s saying they can’t go into that aisle, blah blah blah”.

I know that when I see a ‘wall of pink’ in a toy store I think “grrr…. ‘girl’s section”, and I know that other MNers interested in taking part in this will, too. But however right our judgment may be, it’s still our subjective judgment and therefore should not be part of a survey for gathering facts.

Besides, if the retailer groups toys by function and puts all the domestic roleplay items together, then there is going to be a row of dollies and prams and kitchens. And because manufacturers and advertisers are also a major part of the problem here, most of those things will be packaged in pink. So there will be a wall of pink, which we’ll assess as clearly a girls’ section even without a sign. You can already anticipate the retailer arguing that they’re doing what we want, grouping by function, and the problem isn’t them at all, it’s the fact that all the play kitchens arrive in pink boxes; take it up with the manufacturer. I really think it will weaken our argument.

Whereas if the aisle is actually labeled “Girls’ Toys” or “Boy’s Toys”, then it’s much more straightforward to say it’s the retailer’s responsibility that those signs are there, and we’re asking them to take them down because they perpetuate damaging stereotypes and assumptions.

I think we have to anticipate the argument from the other side and try to conduct a survey that isn’t going to give them that kind of ammunition.

There are enough retailers who do explicitly label sections as “Boys Toys” and “Girls Toys” that we could do a really effective piece of work without including those that don’t say it explicitly.

Besides, if we’re not sure and ask the shop assistant or child, and the shop assitant or child says ‘yes that’s the girls section over there, with all the pink stuff and the dolls and kitchens’, then are we measuring how the retailer is labeling things, or how conditioned members of society (such as the assistant or the child) already are to read those items as ‘for girls’, even with no sign present?

That said, if the consensus (and it would be great to have some discussion of the survey on thread, so that there is a sense of consensus) is that we should include gendered sections that are not explicitly marked as such, then I think another category has to be added into question 4.

Question 4 is the brilliant one about where certain iconic items are displayed. Things like chemistry sets and doll buggies. The choices are:

In the ‘boys’ section or with a label ‘for boys’
In the ‘girls’ section, or with a label ‘for girls’
In a common section with ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ version (e.g. pink / blue)
In a common section / unisex
Not in store

I think it will be a majorly missed opportunity to have people recording this information, without the final results showing clearly whether chemistry sets and kitchens were stocked in sectioned with signs explicitly stating that they are for one gender or the other. There’s just far too much subjectivity in saying that something was “in the boys section” just because all the boxes were blue. It muddies the water as to whether the “blue is for boys, pink is for girls” assumption is the retailer’s, or the surveyor’s.

I’ve probably said enough. Sorry about the length and repetitiveness of the post and for the delay in weighing in. And I really don’t want to take anything away from the work that Himalaya has done here, I think it’s fantastic.

To summarise:

Can we please have more posters' input on the survey, possibly post a link on the thread?

Can we please think again about whether it’s wise to include sections that we perceived to be gendered, but that are not explicitly marked as such?

And if we do include sections that aren’t explicitly marked, can we please separate out the “marked for boys” and “perceived to be for boys” options in Question 4?

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 20:04:06

puddlejumper if you're still around, I meant to say thanks for your response re: including Ireland.

I was in Tesco and Boots on Wednesday, and took photos of the toy aisles there. Both clearly labeled with signs for "Toys For Girls" / "Toys for Boys" in Tesco, and "Gifts for Boys" / "Gifts for Girls" in Boots sad

In Boots, all the Lego City and all of the Duplo - including the farm and zoo sets that my dd plays with constantly - were directly under the "Gifts for Boys" sign. In the Girls' section, there was a bag of pink MegaBlocks, and nothing else even remotely construction orientated. Lots and lots of makeup though.

LadyKinbote Fri 23-Nov-12 20:22:21

I'd love to have a look at the survey and I agree that we should be looking for explicit signs at this point.

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 20:31:35

ok - i've changed question 4 options to

1) In a package or on a shelf explicitly signposted for boys
2) In a package or on a shelf explicitly signposted for girls
3) Grouped with toys that appear targetted 'for boys' (but without explicit wording)
4) Grouped with toys that appear targetted 'for girls' (but without explicit wording)
5) In a common section with 'girls' and 'boys' version (e.g. pink/blue)
6) In a common section/unisex, grouped with other toys of the same type e.g. role play, playsets etc...
7) Not in store

Its a bit legalistic, but i think it covers all bases?

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 20:40:40

Hi Himalaya - would it be okay to link to the draft survey so that LadyKinbote and anyone else who wants to, could have a look?

I think the new #4 covers all the bases, as you say, but I'd still prefer if 3/4/5 were eliminated, because they rely on subjective judgments on what "appears targeted" to one gender or the other. We have a stronger case if we keep it objective.

Yep, still here, just lurking. smile I'd love to have a look at the survey too.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 23-Nov-12 20:47:35

Take your point about focussing on explicit labelling first.

Did anyone hear The Now Show on R4 - female comedian (don't know her name) dissing Lego Friends?

Astr0naut Fri 23-Nov-12 21:00:48

I'm in too. Drives me mad. I have to challenge gender stereotypes all the time in work (16 year olds are very entrenched), so would love to see some attempts at change for when my 2 grow up..

Incidentally, ds loves playin with his sister's pram; she loves his trucks. Reckon I can guess which one'll get things with wheels on for xmas.

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 21:03:32

Didn't hear that but would have liked to, Grimma - Lego Friends are a particular peeve of mine. I ranted and raved on a fair few 'Friends' threads on here, when they were introduced!

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 21:17:36

I'd be up for having a peek at the draft survey too, if that's useful. (Have designed a few surveys in the past).

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 21:23:28

Here is the draft survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6TWFRPK


I will do a new link when we launch the survey for real (and start a new thread).

I think we should launch it tonight for people shopping tomorrow.

I have adjusted the survey questions so they are a bit tighter, but still cover all the bases. I think in the data collection part is worth asking everything that might be useful. Then we look at the results, and can choose to focus only on the signage issue if we want.

What you don't want is to say 'I wish we had asked more questions' later on- its better to ask a few more at the beginning, even if you don't use alll the data in the end.

If you want to do a top ten/ name and shame ranking with % points you do need to have a bit of gradiation between have signs/ have no signs.

Only problem with focussing solely on the aisles being explicitly labelled is that the retailers solution will be to just remove the signs, and still the toys will be segregated.

Much as I get that they may suggest the idea of aisles being aimed at boys/girls is subjective and in our minds, there is no way on earth the big retailers don't psychoanalyse exactly what the layout suggests to the average consumer. I know when I worked in large chain stores you were given very specific instructions on what to put where. Barely any items were placed without careful consideration.

I like the survey, I think that it covers all the bases without getting bogged down in too much information. I especially like question 4, as I think that will be the best way to make people think. We need to make people who wouldn't normally notice these things actually become more aware of them, the retailers aren't going to take note unless enough people do become aware.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 21:50:15

Looks good at first glance smile I'll have closer look at the detail later.

The thing that jumps out at me at first glance is that I think this will do better as two surveys: one for in-store and another for on-line. We'll get a lot more respondents that way.

I imagine there will be plenty of people who will be happy to help to from their sofa, but who are unable to get to the shops. Similarly there will be lots of people who are going to the shops anyway, but who will find it hard to get a spare minute at home to fill in the online bit.

And even those who are able to do both will benefit from being able to submit whichever one they find time to do first, without having to hold on to the piece of paper with their results on it until they get round to doing the other one.

We'll get significantly more data that way, I promise! smile

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 21:54:11

Onehandwavingfreewavingfree - thanks for your comments by the way. Really helpful.(and for starting the campaign!)

I do agree that aisles without labels is kind of a grey area but not so much that its not worth looking at (particularly when we know that retailers have buyers specifically for girls and boys toys, so it's not like its a coincidence that all these toys end up grouped like this - they may have taken the sign down, but I bet it still says boys and girls on the merchandising store plan)

I think we can answer this criticism:

"Besides, if the retailer groups toys by function and puts all the domestic roleplay items together, then there is going to be a row of dollies and prams and kitchens. " .... Because if they were really grouping them by function then right next to these domestic role play toys would be work benches and tool belts. But if those domestic items are somewhere else then it's not arranged functionally.

Functionally would mean princesses in the same zone as knights, kitchen sets in the same zone as toolboxes.

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 21:55:15

That's a good thought aufanie

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 21:57:06

Fair enough re: better to ask too much than too little to start with, Himalaya. I think if that's the case though, we have to separate things out to make sure we can export the specific information we want.

For example in the new #4 it asks whether a toy is "in a package or on a shelf explicitly signposted" by gender. Those are two different things; if it's on the package, then the retailer has some responsibility with regard to buying and selling toys that are packaged in a sexist fashion, but the retailer isn't actually responsible for the packaging.

If the sign is over the shelf, that is the retailer's responsibility and it is a much, much more reasonable grounds by which to make an assessment of whether the retailer itself is promoting sexism against children.

Is there a particular reason that the survey has to launch this weekend, from your perspective? I know it's a big shopping weekend, and we don't want to drag things out unneccesarily and lose momentum on this. But we don't have a particular deadline and I think it's more important to give people a chance to buy into the survey / make suggestions to improve it, than it is to get it done and dusted immediately.

"What you don't want is to say 'I wish we had asked more questions' later on- its better to ask a few more at the beginning, even if you don't use alll the data in the end. "

That's a good point.

Oh, btw, I've noticed that surveymonkey will only let you view the first 100 responses to a survey unless you pay.

I've had a quick google and it looks like there are alternatives, you just have to put up with adverts.

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 22:03:34

I'm doing another one for a client, so I'll pay for one month before it gets to 100 grin

LadyKinbote Fri 23-Nov-12 22:04:30

I like the survey and you're probably right Himalaya that it's better to get too much information than not enough. How we then present that information is up to us. Just two small comments - the intro says that we're not looking at preschool toys although there are quite a few items (eg buggy, toy broom, etc) which probably are aimed at little ones. Not a big deal but could confuse people. Also, I wonder if some items could be more specific eg "racing cars" instead of cars as I bet there are some hideous pink cars with cutesy figures out there. I like it though - I'll try to do some research tomorrow.

LadyKinbote Fri 23-Nov-12 22:06:20

Just saw OneHand's post. Happy to wait if that's the consensus.

Is it possible to add something like games consoles to that list btw? Just thinking that if it shows a bias towards them being aimed at boys, there are a few tech organisations/blogs/magazines that are hot on equality in the industry and would give our aim a bit more clout and more attention.

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 22:13:12

I only want to wait long enough to allow for a consensus to form - the first draft survey was only done on Wednesday evening, and only a few people PM'd to look at it (as far as I know).

I just think it's a bit of a rush to go with what we have now, when there are good ideas still being posted and lots of people who posted earlier on the thread who have not yet weighed in on what they think the focus should be, whether they think the right questions are being asked, whether the list of iconic toys should include additional or different items, etc.

Could we not work on the survey through the weekend at least, so it's not just three or four of us involved in deciding what information to collect? As Himalaya said, we don't want to wish later we had asked something else.

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 22:14:35

YY Goths definitely games consoles. Good idea.

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 22:19:21

Am also happy to start a Facebook page if people are still up for that - maybe somewhere to post the pics that people take during their 'research'? I got some good (bad) ones of Tesco and Boots this week.

I have been meaning to set up a page but can't think of a name that explains what we're doing without being too long and wordy... suggestions?

I think we want to look at what will get the most people to see the consequences of genderising(yes, I know that's not a real word grin) toys.

Focussing on it discouraging children from certain careers/hobbies might be one of the best methods, and garner more attention. It's harder for people to argue against that, obviously they still will, but no companies want to be seen as condoning when retailers actively discourage 50% of the population.

We want to be able to go to medical bodies (eg. NHS) and say, "Are you happy that little girls are told by retailers that they can only be nurses and little boys are told they can only be doctors?". The answer there can only be no.

It'll also be good to be able to go to celebrities, eg. top male chefs and say, "Are you happy that retailers are discouraging little boys from being interested in cooking?"

Maybe add sports equipment to the list too. I'm sure after the Olympics there are a fair few female athletes that would get behind this.

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 22:25:40

Two surveys now

Store: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6TWFRPK
Online/catalogue: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DF6NN2M (with a new question!)


Kinbote - you are right, it should be not baby toys, but can include preschool. i will change

Love question 5 on the online one smile Is it worth adding a note taking space to it? So we can comment on whether the girls and boys are at least being sold comparable products?

OneHandWavingFree Fri 23-Nov-12 22:34:54

Himalaya are you okay with holding off for more input before we launch?

Campaign name ideas, probably crap as this isn't my strong point, but someone might spark off one of them?

Don't Gender My Play
All Children Are Equal
Equal Play

Also DH has suggested maybe adding performance/music items to that list?

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 22:39:32

Ok - bit don't want to hold on to long - if you want this to get any press coverage it needs to be before Xmas I think - that's when newspapers are interested in toys.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 22:46:38

If you're finding surveymonkey limiting, I have a Survey Gizmo account we can use if you like.

It can have up to 500 responses a month as standard, but if it gets really popular I believe it can be extended (for free - well that's what the website says anyway!)

It's a student account so I'd have to use the data somehow for something uni-related, but that's not a problem! It would however have this badge at the bottom - do you think that matters?

Just let me know if you want to use it smile

Himalaya Fri 23-Nov-12 22:46:48

Equal play - I like that :-)

I can't take credit for Equal Play, that was DH grin

ConsiderCasey Fri 23-Nov-12 23:38:40

I think the new survey is great and i like how you can tick more than one box for the layout question.
Was thinking about Hobbycraft (my mothership!) and how the craft toys are in both explicitly signed boys' and girls' sections but are very different in their content. The craft toys for boys are building vehicles whilst the girls kits are for making beauty products and jewellery. Stuff like that can be put in the comments so I think all bases are covered.

I'm happy to start tomorrow or wait a bit if people want. I'm just really excited that we're actually going to do something and big thanks to Himalaya and OneHand for getting us into gear. If we decide to wait I think I'll just take some photos of blatant offenders to upload to the Facebook page.

Oh and Equal Play sounds fab btw, although I do like the message behind "don't gender my play" ie that were not trying to force our gender politics on our DC (as people will accuse us of) rather we are trying to free them from the current gender politics that is foisted onto them IYSWIM.

Just wanted to say, I'm fairly good with web design/graphic design, so if we need anything done in that direction I'm happy to help out. Possibly might be an idea, once we get the results of the survey, to put together an infographic summarising it all? It's a good way of getting the information out there, seems to be a slightly more effective way to get people sharing the information with others.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 00:25:20

OK, I'm going to point out things I think might be difficult to understand or need changing. I hope I don't sound like I'm nitpicking, just trying to help!

In the Sofa surfer's edition (great name btw smile ) the following isn't clear: are all questions meant to apply to both the website and the catalogue, or are some specifically for the catalogue and others just for the website? So, if question 2 is just for the catalogue, that needs to be stated in the question, for example.

I also wonder whether you really mean toys for 5 and up? DS is 3.10 and has been playing with toys for a while which are often in the "gendered" sections (craft sets, dress up clothes, a buggy from your list).

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 00:27:52

I think we could do with asking for a bit more detail about the websites. The store one is quite thorough: reading the results you would get a good idea of what the store was like.

How about Fair Play? If it hasn't already been used for anything else. That also gives the message that it's about fairness (allowing all children the same opportunity to choose what they want to play with) rather than some sort of "forced" equality which some of the status-quo-supporters seem to think we are pushing for. Nobody is saying girls shouldn't be allowed to play with pink kitchens, just that they should be choosing them (if they want to) based on their OWN preferences rather than being pushed towards them!

I wrote a reply earlier when you were asking for input on the survey but it's a bit out of date now as the thread moved on before I got to post it. But it was along the lines that as someone mentioned naming/shaming the worst offenders and praising the best places, maybe the survey should focus most heavily on the places with labelled aisles (the worst) and those with everything totally organized by function/type (the best) so that you can target those. Plus, in between is such a huge grey area that it would be hard to make distinctions between the different gradations. Not had a chance to look at the updated survey yet though, so I may have some different comments later.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 00:49:38

I like Fair Play smile

The double meaning works well.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 01:01:19

aufaniae please don't apologise for nitpicking! I think this needs to be as much a collaborative effort as possible - the more input and improvement before launching, the better.

Himalaya I hadn't even been thinking about press coverage / Christmas when I posted the OP, but I suppose that's just because I didn't expect so much enthusiastic interest straight away! smile

You're right though, since we have the momentum, if we could do something in the lead-up to Christmas, that might be a good opportunity. I still think we should take the time we need to get broad input from MNers, though - the constructive feedback this evening has been really useful, and I'm sure others might also have good ideas we'll want to include.

I like "Equal Play" because it sounds like "Equal Pay", which underscores the link to career paths, fostering aspirations, etc. But I also like "Fair Play" a lot, and I think it might be catchier.

Re: the updated survey, I think it's getting better and better. Three outstanding issues for me:

1) Where did the 5 and up focus come about? I missed it on the thread if it was discussed / debated, but I don't think there's any reason to be prescriptive about the age range. Something interesting might come out about how early this stuff starts, if we just leave it open to all toys.

2) Question 5, Points 1 & 2 really need to be separated out to ask whether the gender is indicated on the package or on the shelf, rather than treating those two things as the same. One (the shelf) is in the power of the retailer to change, the other (the packaging) is not (at least not directly).

3) I think there should be a comment box under Question 3 on the sofa surfer's edition.

I'm so, so delighted that this is taking off smile smile

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 01:09:47

Speaking of nitpicking...

In Question 4, can we delete "Large" from the "Large display signs saying boys/girls"? I think if there's a sign, there's a sign, and we don't want people not recording it because the sign is small!

Also, in the list of iconic toys, can we please, please, please include "Image/Beauty items marketed as toys (e.g. makeup, mirrors, hairbrushes". I know it will be 100% in the girls' section, but that point needs to be made.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 01:12:56

Unless anyone objects, I will set up a Facebook page around this time tomorrow, so people can upload photos even before the survey launches.

I'm just giving it a day so people can have a say or make further suggestions re: the name.

Equal Play and Fair Play seem to be the early frontrunners.... all views welcome!

Brilliant idea.

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 08:20:39

OK edits made

- took out preschool, left in exclusion of baby toys, as these are usually not gender segregated.

- took out packaging altogether from Q5 to keep it simple.

- took out 'large' from sign.

Edits i don't think should be made:

- add sports gear and games consoles - in all but the smallest stores these are merchandised seperately in the sports and electronic equipment depts.

- add 'racing' to cars - not necessary i think. We should choose the most generic categories.

- add image/beauty toys - no. I have tried to pick items which are associated with boys/girls for no good reason. i.e. where we can say "isn't it ridiculous that science toys are packaged, marketed, merchandised as if they are only for boys". i don't think that works for image/beauty toys.

There will always be some toys that are for girls (or at least not likely to be interesting to boys) - princess dress up, make up stuff, barbie and some that are all pink e.g. 'hello kitty'. I think the thing we are trying to get at is not that it is wrong to sell this stuff, but that there is no good reason to cluster it all together with crafts and domestic role play and segregate it from things with wheels, construction, science and bloody connect 4!

I hope the surveys will capture that.

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 08:22:18

aufaniae - i did add in one more Q for the websites. I couldn't think of another one that would apply to all sites - websites are designed in more diverse ways than shops.

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 08:33:24

Morning all! Aaagh I am now also caught between Fair Play and Equal Pay. Am kind of coming down on the side of Fair Play for reasons OneHand said- it's catchier and it's a phrase people use a lot. But maybe we could have a section called something along the lines of "equal play to equal pay" showing the link between the two because that is one of the main thrusts of our argument.

Also the word "equal" when it comes to women's rights often produces negative eye-rolling as "anti" poster up thread demonstrated with the wise nugget that you "can take equal rights too far"!!! Big fat lol at that one!

Well that's my early morning musings. Off to charge phone in prep for zapping photos on our shopping trip. DS is very excited about our project as he too gets annoyed about the things that he is not "allowed" to play with. The signs, the colour, the peer pressure. FFS!!

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 08:36:59

thanks thanks thanks Himalaya

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 08:37:25

I do think the survey is ready to go folks!

We could tinker for ever, but remember, the point of the survey is not to uncover something deeply mysterious and hidden from sight. It is obvious to 4 year olds that most toy shops/departments are organised into boys and girls sections.

The point of the survey is just to get some comparable data on the extent of toy segregation in different shops, to have a clear scale by which we can identify who the worst offenders are, and who are the best.

Then - as Murder of Goths says we need to come up with some communications around it to get people thinking about it.

I like the idea of linking with discrimination in careers. Not necessarily saying there is a causal link (which would be hard to prove), but just getting people to think "if it is wrong for an employer to say - this job is just for men - why is it ok for a toy retailer to give out the same message"

I could imagine a series of pairs of images saying 'if this is wrong, why isn't this?'

e.g. a teacher in front of a black board that says 'a woman's place is in the home' vs if you want to buy a toy stove, Tesco says go to the girls section

A job advert for a scientist that says only men need apply vs If you want a chemistry set 8 out of 10 retailers say look in the boys department

A sad baby and a sad dad not playing - vs The Entertainer says only girls want to play with baby dolls

A picture of picasso's dad telling him to stop messing around vs If you want arts and crafts materials at Hamleys go to the girls department


Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 08:38:20

Fair play makes me think of sports (just saying...)

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 08:42:23

I do like equal play... but i see your point about 'equal' getting people's hackles up <sigh>

duchesse Sat 24-Nov-12 08:48:28

Sorry, haven't time to read the entire thread but count me in! This is one subject guaranteed to make me grind my teeth into tiny stumps.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 08:55:41

Himalaya thanks for making those edits. Sorry but I feel really strongly that there needs to be some reference to items marketed as toys that are focused on image / beauty. It is a big part of the problem and one if the main points that people responded to early in the thread.

In the same spirit that we've agreed to collect more info rather than less, let's add it in and decide later whether what we collect is useful. If every store we survey sells beauty to girls but not science, that is a pint that we should be making.

Can we have other people's views on that?

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 08:56:25

A point, not a pint smile

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 08:59:40

That sounds good re. the pictures. I always remember the look on my DNs face when he had spent ages making a beaded bracelet and then DB came along and laughed at him.

Also we could gather some quotes from our own kids about the things they would like to play with and what they think about the whole thing, to show retailers that children would like more choice IYSWIM.

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 09:05:28

OneHand I tend to agree with you as there is so much gearing girls to appearances. It's not that liking fashion and beauty is inherently bad, but just that there is so much of it, it's only available to girls and its not offset by other things.

Even the science kits for girls are beauty-related FFS, as if girls wouldn't be interested in science for its own sake. Grrrr...

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 09:07:46

Onehandwavingfree -

But what is the ask? That they shouldn't sell 'beauty' toys, or that they should market them to boys? I'm not sure it fits into the "don't categorise" campaign IYSWIM?

Where I do think we can make the point is where girls science = make perfume, bath bombs etc...

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 09:08:07

I get what you're saying re makeup being universally accepted as a female thing, but the fact is that men use grooming items too, and male grooming items do not tend to be marketed to little boys as toys. I have never seen a toy shaving kit or set of combs in a 'boys' aisle, bit I have seen hairdryers, nail polish, and soap in the toy section taking up shelf space for 'girls toys'.

The question doesn't need to specify items that are clearly gender specific; "image focused / personal grooming items" would do the trick.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 09:14:31

The ask is that if there's a big section of child's beauty products, it doesn't have a sign saying 'girls toys' over it!

The signage problem isn't just that it excludes one gender by saying "boys should not like beauty products", but that it presumes and instructs that little girls should like to play with beauty products.

A finding that the majority of big retailers market image focused items as 'girls toys' would be a very important point to make.

stopandgo Sat 24-Nov-12 09:18:27

Fantastic! I've just come across this thread and want to say well done to you all for doing something about this issue which has been annoying me since dd was little. (She's nearly twelve now!)
I've been following PinkStinks for a while and will keep up with this thread now, I'm off to go and read from the start....

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 10:24:48

Himalaya I meant to say that I think the "if this is wrong... Why isn't this?" pictures idea is a good one.

Is everyone for a Facebook page? Would it be useful at this stage? I'll start one tonight if so - please keep weighing in on a name for the campaign smile

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 11:14:10

Hmmm... Still not sure. I don't think we want to be saying to retailers they should sell different stuff I.e. if you sell kids makeup you should also sell kids shaving kits. All we are asking for (in this case) is a change in how it is arranged/sign posted.

I think whenever you have a big section of make up in a toy store that mini section will clearly be "for girls" .... But the point is whether it is part of a bigger section which includes princesses, crafts, sylvanian families and Lego friends, or is it part of a section called "grown up role play" which includes prams, dolls, toolsets, doctors bags and astronauts suits?

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 11:14:38

(I may be overthinking) grin

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 11:34:35

I think we're all overthinking at this stage :D But as someone said upthread, better to overthink than underthink!

I still think this is - and has been from the start, for me - as much about what is presented as being 'what girls should play at' by virtue of being in the aisle labeled 'girls', as it is about the implication that girls should not play with the construction toys etc in the other aisle.

It is really important to me that image stuff is included. And at least one other person has posted to say they think so too.

I'm willing to admit that the control freak in me is twitching at the fact that you Himalaya are the only one with access to edit the survey and therefore have a kind of veto power over what's on it.

Please add the image stuff - I'm not too proud to beg. smile

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 11:51:15

Sorry, yes will add it, and yes am aware I am unfairly "holding the pen" by virtue of having set up the survey.

Just wanted to talk through what this data point means in relation to our "ask" to retailers. But as you said, better to collect the data than not.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 11:55:09

Thank you smile

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 12:30:42

Changes made (says the attention deficient one to the control freak)....your call on when it is ready to launch. Will so final spell check.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 12:32:38

I think the point about the beauty stuff is not that it should be used in relation to the boys stuff (like not having equivalent shaving stuff), I think the point is that it can be used in comparison to the rest of a shop's range for girls. If a shop stocks loads of beauty products for girls, but no stuff like construction / mentally stimulating toys for girls (while they do stock them for boys) then this may be useful info.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 12:59:49

yy aufaniae, thank you for putting that across in one post more effectively than I managed to in five smile

I never meant to imply that toy shops should stock shaving toys for boys! The ridiculousness of that notion does beg questions about why toy versions of personal grooming products are accepted as good options for girls to play with, though.

I'm not SO much a control freak that it needs to be up to me when the survey launches. I just didn't want to lose the image stuff, which was central to the reason I wanted to do a campaign, because I'd failed to convince the person who happened to be holding the pen (as you aptly put it, H).

I think the survey keeps improving with people's input, but i know we'll have to call time on the endless redrafting! I'm happy to go with the majority view. If people think it's ready, so be it. Calling all lurkers! Please come weigh in!

H I agree with you that baby toys don't tend to be segregated, but I wonder if it would be better to include "toys for babies / 18 mo and younger" or whatever on the list anyway? That way the results should show that the heavy gender messages start around toddlerhood, rather than us going into it assuming that's the case?

If the surveys come back with lots of ticks in "unisex section" for baby toys, we can say to retailers, "you're getting it right at the baby stage; what happens at age two or so that children are suddenly directed toward different toys depending on their gender?"

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:02:20

Himalaya I hope you don't mind that I've decided we're now on a first-letter basis smile

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:19:34

I do think we need to set up a facebook page asap.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:21:11

I think baby toys are segregated too, btw.
DD isn't even 1 yet and there are already pink and purple baby toys (because girls don't need to develop colour differentiation as said above - they can't do science, so they don't need to know!)

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:22:16

this page proves it there's a baby walker thing in pink and the same one in blue.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:23:28
5madthings Sat 24-Nov-12 13:27:38

yes baby toys are genderfied as well!! even play gyms and bouncy chairs! look in the argos catalogue!!

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:29:25

Facebook page tonight, nickelbabe - what name do you like for it?

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:31:38

I think I like Fair Play better, but it has been used before.

what about Let's Play Together! or (i don't know, sorry blush)

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:32:35
nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:38:26

Let Toys be Toys

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:39:35
OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:44:57

Toys will be toys?

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:47:58

"Let Toys Be Toys, For Girls and Boys" Too much?


nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:48:42
OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:56:49

That's such an encouraging article re Sweden, nickel.
I think I love EqualiToy!!

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 13:58:55

I think that's a great strap-line:

Fair Play
Let Toys Be Toys, For Girls and Boys

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 14:10:11

i also foudn this articel

might it be a good idea to get MmeLindt in this debate, too?
she has an online magazine aimed at pre-teen girls (real ones, not fluffy pink princesses)

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 14:19:32
MrsMeeple Sat 24-Nov-12 14:29:23

I was also about to link to the current news in Sweden NickelBabe.


There's also : www.thelocal.se/39988/20120330/ and www.thelocal.se/22504/20091006/.

Getting kids involved is great. Has anyone got DC doing social studies or media studies who could make a project of getting this into the media?

Facebook campaigns can be really effective. www.thelocal.se/36844/20111019/ If people are collecting data for the survey, snap pictures and post them with why they so displease you on the retailers and/or manufacturers facebook pages. Let's see if we can't get some of them to go viral!

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 15:31:16

Or how about just "Let toys be toys" for the title, with "for girls and boys" as the strap line:

Let Toys be Toys
for girls and boys

So the campaign would be the "Let toys be toys" campaign, but when we have the luxury of more space the strapline could be used too.

Although, on second thoughts, it's not as does-what-it-says-on-the-tin as "Fair Play" (although I appreciate that's a campaign already!)

Hmm, I sense I'm going round in circles here!
<chases tail>

LadyKinbote Sat 24-Nov-12 15:33:21

Just back from M&S (which actually wasn't too bad). DD really excited to get a (green) recorder. Then, to my dismay, put it back saying "oh no, this is a boys' one! HERE'S the girls' one!" She is now the owner of a pink and sparkly recorder. (I bought her a dinosaur as well to balance it out!)

LadyKinbote Sat 24-Nov-12 15:38:05

I like "Let toys be toys" as it reinforces the idea that we just want children to play freely without gender issues coming into it. (We're not the political ones, they are! grin )

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Nov-12 15:42:29

I was in M&S briefly a few weeks back and I thought they were pretty awful lady. There was only a small toy section though. Very segregated.

Maybe in the bigger stores they have different system?

I think we need some printed cards to carry in our girly handbags so we can hand them in at the till point.

Something like 'We consider the labeling of toys as 'Boy's' and 'Girl's' unnecessary and potentially harmful. Please consider changing your marketing and store layout and we will consider continuing to shop with you'

Or something.

I think they would take notice if they got several of them handed in a day. It would be a visual illustration of their lost custom i.e. each card = one lost sale.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 16:00:05

oh Lady sad

how awful.

Green has always been my favourite colour. I would hate to think that it has to be a boy's colour.
PS: maybe you could tell your daughter that actually, green is a girls' colour - it was used along with purple and white for the WSPU (later the suffragettes)
here info
and here
and another one

LadyKinbote Sat 24-Nov-12 16:01:05

It's an interesting point that maybe individual store managers lay out their shop floors differently (although I doubt it!). This one had no signs but there was a distinctly pink display! Most toys were mixed though.

I like the card idea too! We'd need to make sure they made their way to Head Office though.

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 16:01:07

I like "let toys be toys"

I see Barbie and Action Man together on the picket line, Toy Story style grin

LadyKinbote Sat 24-Nov-12 16:09:19

Nickel - I tried my best with the green! Including feigning ignorance ( "why on earth can't boys have pink?") but it didn't work sad

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 16:14:54

M&S weren't too bad on first glance in my local one - they didn't have sections actually labelled "boys" and "girls" for example.

But take a closer look, and their own-brand stuff is actually labelled "Boy Stuff" on the packaging. Like a marble run for example (sorry to keep going on about it, but I was really "wtf" at that one! In what world are marble runs only for boys?!)

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 16:39:44


I've already planned that if DD tries to pull a stunt like that it'll be "either you get the one you wanted before you were brainwashed into thinking boys and girls can't have the same colour or you'll be blowing on the hoover pipe for the next 5 years"

I'm well aware this might not work (and doesn't help you in the slightest blush)

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 16:40:14

my recorder is brownyblack.

can you return the crappy one?

kickassangel Sat 24-Nov-12 16:45:05

Thanks to this thread I now have a youtube clip to go with my media teaching unit that's going to be a month long anti-cinderella rant.

"It's an interesting point that maybe individual store managers lay out their shop floors differently "

I know when I worked for Woolworths in the toy department we were given very specific floor planners, which I'm pretty certain came from head office. I'd be surprised if Woolies is the only major chain to have done that.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 17:36:53

yep, all major chains have very very specific floor plans.

when ottakar's was taken over by waterstone's, it was one of the massive bones of contention that suddenly we were perceived as completely incapable of merchandising.

plutocrap Sat 24-Nov-12 18:24:16

grin at blowing on the hoover pipe.

Lady, tell your DD that I got married in green, with flowers in my hair!

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 18:35:51

I got married in green as well grin

no flowers, but stars in my hair grin

maybe we were separated at birth wink

plutocrap Sat 24-Nov-12 18:59:56

Just laughing to myself at the idea of anyone's getting married in pink: there are some things that colour cannot do!

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:31

Pluto, I got married in pink! A lovely deep dusky pink, with a rose in my hair and a baby on my hip!! grin

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 20:12:58

I was out all day and the mobile died, so just catching up now. MrsDevere I love the idea about the cards.

I want to try and get a Facebook page up and running tonight. I am happy to have other admins on the account so that this campaign keeps its grassroots, collaborative feel and doesn't become about one person's view (mine or anyone else's) of how we should move forward. I'm aware that I have strong opinions on the issue and have found the back-and-forth of agreement and disagreement and having to justify my views so far on this thread to be really good for refining the arguments also I don't want all the responsibility .

Now, while I spend the next hour or so going through my MN posting history with a fine-tooth comb before outing myself via Facebook, would the rest of you like to agree on a name for our campaign?

The contenders so far are:

Equal Play (optional tagline: Let Toys Be Toys for Girls and Boys)
Fair Play (optional tagline as above)
Let Toys Be Toys ... for girls and boys [tagline]

Apologies if I've missed any - rushing to go and do bedtime now. Please add other suggestions and / or vote on your favourite. Majority rules! That goes for you too, lurkers !! smile

nailak Sat 24-Nov-12 20:16:05

smyths toy shop? cant remember is that is divided by gender?

plutocrap Sat 24-Nov-12 20:19:21

ConsiderCasey shock It is a killer colour which can do anything!!! Starting to get scaredof pink...

LadyKinbote Sat 24-Nov-12 20:27:55

aufaniae - I got a clandestine photo of some 'boy stuff' bits - the one thing (other than the recorder debacle) that made me feel slightly ill!
DD spent the rest of the day attacking people with her toy dinosaur so I think there's hope for her yet! grin

I'm torn between Equal Play and Let Toys Be Toys. Both work really well.

Would love to be a FB admin if no one minds smile

WomanlyWoman Sat 24-Nov-12 21:17:16

COUNT ME IN. I haven't read the whole thread yet, but am working my way through it. Of the names I think I prefer Let Toys be Toys. Maybe there could be a poll to see which is most popular?

Couple of points, hope am not repeating anyone, I know Pink Stinks has been mentioned, they've done some excellent campaigning re shops and I think they're the only big UK group. An affiliation or similar with them sounds a good idea. I think it's the manufacturers that need to be tackled too. Regardless of how the toys are displayed in the shops, the pictures on the boxes, (or in catalogues), show who the toys are aimed at.

On a personal note, amongst many things, the appropriation of outer space for boys really pisses me off, particularly as it's something my DD and her friends are really into - toys, greetings cards, clothes all reflect it, girls get cute kittens, cupcakes and so on. I have bought my daughter blue shoes, labelled 'Boys' because they were the only practical style in the shop but that was before she could read and I think she might object if I try it again now that she is more aware. Sorry, I'm a bit Baileyed, will read through properly and return.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 21:24:32

I think I prefer Let Toys be Toys, as it sounds like it'll have wider appeal.

Equal Play is snappier though I suppose ...

I'll ask DP for his opinion in a bit (I'll be neutral, I'll promise!) ...

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 21:31:58

Me too on the FB admin - please!

Forced myself to go into Toys R Us on account of our mission and boy was that a depressing experience! On so many levels!

After walking through the pink aisles of Barbie and Girlz, under huge posters of girls dressed as princesses, through the aisles of construction toys, under equally huge posters of boys jumping and being active, I thought things couldn't get any worse.............until I saw this -the ultimate in "let's take a mainstream product, colour it pink, wack in something about shopping and jewelry - and sell it to girls - cher ching!!".

I wanted to vomit right there in the aisle!!

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 21:36:40

OK I have done a final edit of the surveys

(drafts here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6TWFRPK and http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DF6NN2M)


Should I launch it? I will start a new thread, so this one can continue with general campaign discussion.

ConsiderCasey Sat 24-Nov-12 21:38:14

"I think it's the manufacturers that need to be tackled too. Regardless of how the toys are displayed in the shops, the pictures on the boxes, (or in catalogues), show who the toys are aimed at."

Absolutely Trish - I thought that too today. The box covers spoke for themselves.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 21:48:52

Himalaya - I know you said final edit, but...

Can it be 'personal grooming / beauty items' rather than 'personal grooming sets'? They're not necessarily sold in sets and I think things will be missed with that wording..

Also, where you have 'nobility dress up' could there also be 'hero dress up (e.g. firefighters, police, superheroes)'? I think that's the most comparable contrast.

Sorry for not suggesting these earlier, was on phone all day until it died and had trouble trying to open survey.

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 21:54:06

Also, I was going to start a new thread when we had agreed on a name and had a FB page up and running; Himalaya did you want to do a new thread just for the survey, or would it make more sense to introduce the survey as our first action, on the thread introducing the whole campaign?

I think that if we can sustain the interest here and garner more interest via Facebook, we will be able to move on to action plans around manufacturers, packaging, and marketing beyond the aisles and search functions that retailers use. Hopefully this is just the start.

It seems like "Let Toys be Toys" is the frontrunner for a campaign name - do people like the "... for girls and boys" tagline too?

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 22:53:22

OHWF - ok will make those changes tomorrow.

Anymore for anymore?

Was just going to start it on a new thread as an administrative thing - similar to the official MN survey threads - not for ongoing discussion on the campaign but just to manage the survey - e.g I can report back which stores have been well covered and where there are still gaps. Then when there has been enough responses close the survey and report back on the data to the ongoing discussion thread.

Re: FB - I think we will need to decide whether to keep the back room discussion here and make FB more of a public outreach site, or vice versa.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 22:53:27

DP says he likes "Let Toys be Toys" too, and he likes the tagline too (I did ask as neutrally as I could!)

Kewcumber Sat 24-Nov-12 22:56:53

Oh yes count me in - was in M&S today and they had a week planner in the toy section - wipe clean chart with headings Monday - Friday and a marker pen and eraser. Perfect for DS to practice his wobbly writing I thought.

But no, only in pink. hmm

I guess boys don't do writing stuff - they barely had a single writing based toy activity there which was aimed at boys.

Himalaya Sat 24-Nov-12 23:00:29

In ' Heros' (and this is really overthinking) need to be specific firefighter/police (can be male or female) are different from superheros, which are more character driven. We don't need to cover absolutely everything...

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 23:22:37

can't firet fighters/police be classed as adult jobs' roleplay ?

i was in saubsbury's today and took a picture if gruffalo slippers labelled "boys ".
the dress up costume was just labelled completely neutrally. there was gruffalo princess, sheep, knight, shepherd star angel and a few more, none of which said bit/girl and all mixed up then they ruined it with the gruffalo slippers .

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 23:27:45

OK, it's possibly a little late in the day, but question 5 of the store survey: "Looking around the store, how are the following toys presented?" is quite hard to follow.

I think it would be much easier if it was structured the other way round, so you have the list of toys at the top, and the choices listed in the left in rows with the tick boxes.

This is because it's much easier to remember one toy and then tick the correct option, than to have to work out which option goes with each number, every time you answer this question.

I hope I've explained that properly! Have a go at doing it both ways in your head, and you'll see it's much easier if you have a toy in your head for number 1 (or whatever), then having to look back and forward to see which number goes with which statement, 7 times over.

It's a good idea to make surveys as easy as possible as if they're complex you'll lose some people who can't be bothered or don't understand it.

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 23:32:33

Also, for both surveys, please can we add a box at the bottom inviting "any more comments". We may well learn some useful stuff here, and I think it's good survey etiquette

Personally, it always annoys me when surveys haven't left a box for comments when I have something relevant to say (sometimes about how their survey has been designed so I've been to tick a box which is not true, for example! It really annoys me that not only have they made me give them false data, they've not given me the chance to tell them! But I digress ... grin)

aufaniae Sat 24-Nov-12 23:33:57

Gah! Sorry, that should have said

"about how their survey has been designed so I've been forced to tick a box which is not true"

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 00:22:23

Well, I've made a start on the Facebook page - I agree with Himalaya that before it goes 'live' we need to decide what purpose we want it to serve.

Goths and Casey - please pm me your email addresses so I can add you as admins smile

The page is there in draft form, it's called "Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys" at the moment, as that seems to be the most popular option. Anything can be changed though!

It needs a profile picture - the timeline 'cover photo' is an aisle of pink with a prominent "Toys for Girls" sign (it's from Tesco, and I chose it mainly because it was the only one I took that was the right landscape shape for the cover shot - if anyone has a better one I'm happy to change it).

I'd love to have the profile picture be a girl having fun with an item you'd never find there in the pink aisle. I have a great picture of dd playing with a dump truck in a sandbox, but DH is an anti-Facebook sort so I'd want to run it by him first and he isn't home tonight. Anyone have a good picture of a kid defying the prescribed roles? Who wants to be the poster child of our campaign? smile

Below is what I've written for the 'About' page. Please feel free to pick it over and give your input; it's important that the description of the group captures the essence of what we're about. Will hope to have things up and running by tomorrow - sorry, it's bedtime now!

Let Toys Be Toys has a simple mission: to send a message to toy makers, marketers, and retailers that it is not acceptable to categorise toys by gender, rather than by theme or function. Our first project is to convince retailers to remove the signposts in their shops, catalogues, and websites that label some toys for "Girls" and others for "Boys".

It is not the place of retailers to determine which children should play with which toys, outside of safety warnings related to age. A child should not have to find the courage to subvert adult expectation before she can choose a rocketship from a toystore shelf labeled "Boys". A child should not be made to feel that he is not a 'proper' boy because he wants a doll that's in a section labeled "Girls".

We will be conducting a survey of toy retailers across the UK and Ireland, in order to determine which are the most (and least) child-friendly with regard to respecting the right of all children to play freely with the toys that most interest them as individual human beings, without being subject to the oppressive expectation that their interests are predetermined by their gender.

Toys should be for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. They should not be tools by which to limit children's interests and aspirations, and indoctrinate them into archaic gender roles based on false and damaging stereotypes.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys.

kickassangel Sun 25-Nov-12 00:49:22

I acn't really do much as I'm in the Us but please post the fb page link when it's ready as I would love to keep in touch on that. My nieces are friends with me on fb so I'd like to be able to link to it. Although neither of them need much encouragement to be individual outspoken free thinkers.

LadyKinbote Sun 25-Nov-12 04:45:36

OneHand - I like the blurb but would start with the "toys should be fun" paragraph. Our biggest criticism will be that we're taking ourselves too seriously and introducing a feminist agenda where there isn't one so the more we emphasise fun and the fact that we just want kids to play with more toys, the better IMO.

And I can dig out some photos of DD we can use. As long as she's not named (or overtly linked to this username) that should be fine.

LadyKinbote Sun 25-Nov-12 05:00:28

Just had a proper look but (depressingly) the best photos of her with cars are from when she's very young and possibly we want an older 'poster-child'. Let's see what other people come up with.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 09:02:44


I would go much less wordy on the FB page.

(I would make it a page for likes rather than a group for joining - I think the group/informal organising committee is here, FB more for outreach?)

"Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play.

Isn't it time that toy stores and supermarkets stopped putting telling children, parents and grandparents that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys."

I wouldn't mention the survey or the campaign until the data is done, or we have a petition to sign etc... I would make it more a page for people to like if they agree with the basic idea.

And then a place to post egregious examples. Something akin to this

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 10:17:07

I totally agree that fewer words are better (in general, but especially when people reading them on the screen). I also agree with avoiding phrases which sound too feminist / lefty as it'll put some off (sadly!).

The only thing I would put back in is our demands! It's important that people know what the alternative is, what positive things could be done instead - i.e. what we want - we're not just complaining, we have a solution!

Someone may be able to improve on the wording, but how about something along the lines of:

"Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play.

Isn't it time that toy stores and supermarkets stopped putting telling children, parents and grandparents that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

We'd like to see toys sorted by by theme or function instead rather than gender.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys."

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 10:23:49

Although reading it back, my words are the least snappiest of that bit!

Can anyone improve on it?

I guess that the message doesn't have to go in the about bit necessarily, but it should go somewhere I think, as it is important to show what the shops can do to get it right.

It might be nice, as well as adding pictures of the worst offenders, to occasionally add a picture of a shop that's doing it right.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 10:30:45

Also agree a page is more suitable than a group as our updates will appear in people's timelines, people can "like" and no need to join.

Groups have one advantage of being able to message members, but then group updates don't appear in the time-line IIRC. And timeline updates suit us better anyway than private emails as easier to share.

The only thing I would say is that if we're on a page, we need to make we remember to share any good pictures that others submit, otherwise they'll be a bit hidden in the little box of other people's updates ont he page (can't remember what it's called)

ConsiderCasey Sun 25-Nov-12 10:52:01

What about:
""Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play.

But many toy stores and supermarkets are limiting our children's imagination and choice by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys.

This is quite frankly ridiculous and needs to stop. We're calling upon retailers to label their toys by theme or function rather than by gender.

Quite simply, we're calling upon retailers to let the kids decide!

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys."

Does it sound a bit forthright?! It's just I got a bit eye-rolly whilst I was typing it!

WomanlyWoman Sun 25-Nov-12 11:16:50

I'm a bit fuzzy headed this morning or I'd try to get to grips with the blurb, have had a go but without success. Agree that more emphasis on fun, less 'shoulds' and words like indoctrinate, etc, It's hard to get that balance between serious message and not coming across as too lefty feminist. One line suggestion - 'No Limits on our children's imaginations.' ?

I know it's been agreed that we are primarily targetting retailers, but I do think toy designers/manufacturers should be in there as well, if we are going with a statement about who we are targetting, even if it's only because a successful campaign should at least make manufacturers/designers aware of the strength of feeling about the genderization of toys.

Re the cover photo, been having a search but not found anything that seems good enough – I think it would be a good idea to have a picture of a girl and boy playing happily together with a mix of toys – we want to make it clear that this is a campaign for all children. I have one of DD and a boy playing in a sandpit, and another of her and a boy in a car on a merry-go-round, but I don't think they're quite what we want. Surely one of us has a pic of a boy and girl playing with a mix of toys?

Also, happy to help out with admin or be a mod if needed. I already mod another group so check fb every day anyway.

ConsiderCasey Sun 25-Nov-12 11:24:46

Also, was looking over the thread to summarise the ideas people have been putting forward to flesh out our page and make it awesome...

- pictures of grown up occupations (eg. nurses) with "women only" over it and the tagline "if this isn't allowed, then why is this?" next to a picture of the girls' nurses outfit.

- of a boy and a girl playing with the same toy in a gender neutral way.

- a humorous one of Barbie and Ken (or Action Man better?) united together with a picket saying "let toys be toys!" (you know - just to subvert the accusations of fems not having a sense of humour!!

-everyone's uploads of the toys / labelling that piss them off the most.


- Name and shame - results of the survey and which retailers are the best (probs Ikea) and worst (probs all the rest of them!)

- linking to Scandinavian countries to show that it is indeed possible and that society hasn't broken down over there! An idea of how things could be...

- "Equal Play to Equal Pay" article linking the segregation of children's toys to the pay gap and limited opportunities for both men and women, not forgetting to emphasise that it's not just about expanding girls' opportunities but also that men lose out in the nurturing stakes (that was inarticulate but someone knows what I mean, right?!)

- What the kids say - some quotes from our kids as to what they think, what they would like to play with, to show that this really is damaging them and that there are many that cross the rigid gender toy divide.

- pinkification - maybe looking at the spate of manufacturers' current very imaginative policy of taking mainstream projects, painting them pink and banging on about makeup and patronising our DDs with such shite (ok not put that way!)

- and the petition for people to sign.

I think that was about it. Did I leave anything out? I know it goes from the realms of just retailers labelling and onto manufacturers and advertising but it's part of the same picture, IYSWIM.

Right, I'm off to enjoy the sunny day before my fingers become welded to the keyboard!

ConsiderCasey Sun 25-Nov-12 11:30:24

Trisha - yeah, a piccy of a blue "for boys" aisle and a pink "for girls' aisle" with the stamp "No limits on our children's imagination" next to a simple picture of a boy and girl happily playing together?

Right I really am off!

WomanlyWoman Sun 25-Nov-12 11:42:09

Good post CC, (the long one, not the one agreeing with me wink)I like the idea of recommending toys or shops that we like too, rather than just focussing on what p's us off.

ConsiderCasey Sun 25-Nov-12 11:48:54

Looking at the Swedish article that Nickel linked I liked the line "It's not a boy or a girl thing, it's a toy for children."

We could have something like "It's not a boy thing. It's not a girl thing. It's a toy thing!"

MardyBra Sun 25-Nov-12 12:09:01

You asked for lurkers' comments earlier. Just to say I really like EqualPlay and EqualiToy.

Let toys be toys doesn't really get across the gender bias IMO. FairPlay is good but I think someone mentioned it had been used in other contexts.

Am enjoying reading the thread and links. Haven't posted much as my kids are beyond the toy stage.

Another thought wrt the FB page, we need to make it interactive. People are more likely to share it that way.

Easy way would be asking people to share pictures of their kids playing with gender neutral toys, or toys normally aimed at the opposite sex.

Or asking them to provide information on situations where their kids have changed their mind on a toy they liked due to it being labelled for the opposite sex.

Possibly also worth having a changing poster child every month or so from people's photo submissions. Gives people an additional reason to interact and to share the page. Also makes it fun.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 13:17:54

MoG - I agree it should be interactive, but I thought more focused on the stores e.g. People posting snaps of dumb signs, products merchandised as for boys/for girls, and words on packaging etc....rather than making the case that "toys should be toys"

5madthings Sun 25-Nov-12 13:43:54

got the letterbix catalogue in post today. there is a girl in a green drs outfit but pages of fairy stuff with comments like 'girls will love...' plus the borders on the pages are pink or blue so the more 'girly' stuff has a pink border and the sciencey stuff has a blue border etc.

kickassangel Sun 25-Nov-12 13:44:55

Is there anyone who is any good with graphics?

Loads of people like/share pictures, memes, those postcard things. If we could get some visuals that people can just click on it is far more likely to be passed on. I rarely click on articles that other people share or like, but almost always look at pictures.

This could be an ongoing thing.

I'm thinking about stuff like the 'dream' and 'reality' pictures.

We could do 'retail' and 'real' with the retail being a super pink thing and real being how kids play with stuff.

"Is there anyone who is any good with graphics? "

I'm pretty good at it

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 14:23:09

Only just got online - day unexpectedly busy, sorry! Thanks for all very useful feedback - catching up on replies on threads, changing the wordy wording on Facebook now and setting up admins, then will be back. Just letting you know I haven't forgotten.

Will post again soon with a link!

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 14:48:15

I had assumed the FB page would be a page for 'likes', not a group to belong to. It seems people will be most happy with that? I've taken bits from all the feedback on the blurb. Is this better?

Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play with the toys that interest them most.

But many retailers are limiting our children's imaginations and interests by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys.

Isn't it time that toy stores, department stores and supermarkets stopped putting signs up telling children and those who buy for them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

We’re calling on retailers to sort their toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, in their shop aisles and catalogues, and on their websites.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys.

ConsiderCasey (I got your message btw smile ) I love your post above. Thanks for sorting through the thread for the ideas for the Facebook page - it looks promising when you list it all out like that!

I also like "It's not a boy thing. It's not a girl thing. It's a toy thing!"

And I am second-guessing 'Let Toys Be Toys' as the name now (still happy to keep it if it remains the most popular option among the group though). Partly because I wonder if we might be approaching MNHQ at some stage to look for some kind of support from them, and the name might be too close to the 'Let Girls Be Girls' campaign at that stage? I know the similarity works in our favour on one hand.

I wonder if Fair Play, Equal Play, or EqualiToy, with the "It's not a boy thing...." strapline might be a better option?

"It's not a boy thing. It's not a girl thing. It's a toy thing!"

I love that!

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 15:07:24

Goths I got your message too, and just pm'd you back!

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 15:12:49

Slightly reworded the blurb as I noticed a repetitive phrase. Sorry. New blurb:

Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play with the toys that interest them most.

But many toy stores, department stores and supermarkets are limiting our children's imaginations and interests by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys.

Isn't it time that toy stores, department stores and supermarkets stopped putting up “Girls Toys” and “Boys Toys” signs, telling children and those who buy for them which items they should want to buy? Why not let the kids choose?

We’re calling on retailers to sort their toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, in their shop aisles and catalogues, and on their websites.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys.

WomanlyWoman Sun 25-Nov-12 15:22:07

OHWF I do think that's better, only the line some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys gets repeated, how about something like;

^Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play with the toys that interest them most.

But many retailers are limiting our children's imaginations and interests by putting signs up telling children and those who buy for them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys.

Isn't it time that toy stores, department stores and supermarkets stopped stopped telling us how we should think?

We’re calling on retailers to sort their toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, in their shop aisles and catalogues, and on their websites.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys.^

I would also change 'toy stores, department stores and supermarkets' to 'retailers and manufacturers' (I'll stop going on about it now).

I still prefer Let Toys be Toys as a name - Fair Play gets used in football and I think Equalitoy and Equal Playsound a tad militant.

kickassangel Sun 25-Nov-12 15:28:34

Murder - is that you volunteering to do visuals? grin

I'm thinking of this kind of thing reality

One question - are we aiming the fb page at adults only?

Again, with visuals we could use pictures which would appeal to children. There's nothing like pester power to hook in the adults. dd frequently looks at whatever I'm doing online (she thinks mn is part of my work now!) So pictures of toys that kids want, being shown as both boy/girl thing could have a lot of draw.

I like 'let toys be toys' for various reasons - it echos 'boys will be boys' and challenges the idea that there are set patterns of behaviour for each gender. It also resonates with the 'let girls be girls' campaign and reminds people that we are hooked up about teaching kids to conform to certain roles. It also puts the emphasis on the toys. We're not trying to drag children into a certain view point, more that we're trying to ensure their toys don't do that. ie, we're focussing on something that should be neutral - their toys - and trying to keep that neutral, rather than trying to tell children how they should behave.

Not sure I expressed that well, but I hope it makes sense.

I can absolutely do that kickass

If people suggest ideas, I'll give it a go smile

LadyKinbote Sun 25-Nov-12 15:49:37

BTW I was in a different M&S today where there was a very obvious girls' toys sign which was definitely NOT in the one I visited on Saturday. So the more branches of shops we survey, the better. (We'd have to be a bit clever when it comes to interpreting the results though)

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 15:52:09

I think the text is getting much too wordy (sorry!) It will be displayed on a screen, and so should be much snappier than text for print.

Here's another go. I'm on my phone, may have another go when at home, but FWIW:

Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play with the toys that interest them most.

Isn't it time that shops stopped limiting our children's imagination by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

We’re calling on retailers and manufacturers to sort their toys by theme or function, rather than by gender.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 16:05:31

OK Folks. I have made the final round of changes to the survey. I am going to launch it unless I hear any shouts of 'no' before 9pm!

Draft links:


aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 16:44:12

"One question - are we aiming the fb page at adults only?"

Facebook is meant to be for 13+ only so not really the right place for something aimed at children. But good question IMO - to do something aimed at children would be a really nice idea. How would we do that I wonder?

If Once it takes off, a blog aimed at kids, maybe? Or a website? Or something else ... ? Somewhere they could upload their own pics and there are some resources for them to use to get involved.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 16:58:01

OK, I'm home now and not looking at it on a phone! I will try to stop rewording now I promise! But here's another go at putting our message into as few words as possible:

"Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play.

Isn't it time that shops stopped limiting our children's imagination by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

The answer is simple – we’re asking retailers and manufacturers to sort toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, and let the children decide which toys interest them most.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys."

That sounds good to me.

We have to remember that we can elaborate on the aims of our campaign in notes/wall posts

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 17:06:59

I like it.

One thing: I don't think you can say "we are asking" until we are actually asking I.e there is petition.

Until then I would keep it as "Why can't retailers and manifacturers etc..."

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:07:33

Last comments on the survey.

Are we accepting international entries (I don't see why not?! It's not our focus, but doesn't hurt to see what's going on abroad. Might be particularly interesting to see any differences in approach specific multinationals take in different regions).

If so, I think the open ended question "2. Where was it?" is a bit wooly. Some people might just write the town, but if there are several of them, we'll have no idea which on it is! If someone writes "Newscastle" how can we know for sure they mean Newcastle-on-Tyne, and not Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle-Emlyn, Newcastle Washington or Newcastle California for example?

Suggest we change it to something like:

2. Where was it? (Please state location, and also county (if UK) and country).

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 17:11:58

That's good, aunfaniae smile I know I tend toward wordiness - thanks for helping me out.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 17:13:31

Ok. Yes I think accepting international survey examples, but probably only including UK answers in the statistical analysis - I.e cover the biggest UK toy retailers so we can say 70% do XYZ.

Will make clarifying changed as suggested.

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 17:13:46

I actually like "we are asking" better. We are asking right now, by setting up the campaign - they're just going to become more aware of the ask once we get organised after the survey is done.

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 17:14:08

UK and Ireland please!

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:18:53

"UK and Ireland please!" Sorry blush

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:29:22

Ooh I like what you've done with question 5 smile

I know it's a bit late in the day for another name suggestion but DH has suggested 'Just Play'.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:38:38

For most of the toys in question 5, there's an obvious gender bias (for those who are that way inclined!)

However the question "Nobility dress up (prince/princess)" covers both supposed "girls' and "boys' toys". So if the shop has a princess outfit in the girl's section and a prince outfit in the boys section, then there's no way to answer that question.

The same is true for the other questions too actually.

I think this could be solved be adding an answer along the following lines:

"Girls' version of toy in girls' section and boy's version of the toy in boys' section".

What do you think?

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 17:39:45

The only bit of the blurb I'm still not sure about is "Children should be free to play" now that we've (rightly) eliminated from the blurb a lot of the explanation about why we think they're not free at the moment.

I'm afraid it will sound too strong and invite comparisons that will lead to "what a first world problem" type responses. The fact is, we're not talking about kids who aren't free to play because they're working in the mines, or kids who are going to be persecuted (overtly) by the church or government if they're seen with a toy that's not aimed at their gender.

So I think that line needs a little bit of qualifying - like "Children should feel free to play with the toys they enjoy most" or something like that.

Does that make sense? Or am I just adding extra words grin ?

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 17:41:33

Ok - it looks like th British Toy Retailers Association covers UK and Ireland.

But it doesn't give a list of the biggest ones. Are there any biggies to add for Ireland, or is it basically the same list as the UK?

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:42:19

Still on question 5, please can we add an option "Other - please state in comments below" and make the comments box below Qu.5 a bit bigger?

This is because at the moment we're forcing people to select an answer - but if the respondent doesn't feel any of the answers apply to the shop they went to, we're not giving them a get-out, and they'll be forced to pick an answer they don't actually agree with.

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 17:45:13

I think it's about the same, Himalaya - Smyths, Debenhams, Boots, Tesco. There are some in the UK that aren't here (at least where I am) like John Lewis and a couple of others that have been mentioned.

That's great that the Association covers both - lends some rationale to sticking Ireland in there too smile

Once the 'launch' thread is up and running I will post somewhere higher traffic (chat, I guess?) and call for Irish MNers to come take part.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:55:39

OneHandWavingFree I thing you're right. How about ...

"Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should be free to play with the toys that interest them most.

Isn't it time that shops stopped limiting our children's imagination by telling them that some toys are only suitable for girls and some for boys?

The answer is simple – we’re asking retailers and manufacturers to sort toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, and let children decide which toys they enjoy best.

Let toys be toys - for girls and boys."

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 17:55:58

*think not thing!

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 18:02:42

Will the Facebook page exist by the time the survey goes out?

If so please can I suggest that at the end of the survey we say thank you and give a link to the FB page.

LadyKinbote Sun 25-Nov-12 18:11:16

"Girls' version of toy in girls' section and boy's version of the toy in boys' section".

I agree that this would make sense as an additional option.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 18:51:48

Draft project plan

(In the spirit of mutual iteration)

1) Nov 26 launch survey on MN - aim to collect data on all major retailers over 2 weeks

2) Week of Nov 26 set up FB page as public face of campaign - place to post photos, updates, calls to action etc...(soft launch)

3) Early- mid December - analyse survey data, identify key targets, set up Change.org petition with the campaign ask.

4) Before Xmas - send out press release to launch campaign inc. survey data and the ask - try to get attention of Caitlin Moran, Lucy Mangan and other journalists who allegedly lurk.

5) 2013 - social media campaign to promote petition and put direct pressure on retailers - Design a series of FB meme visuals etc...

....at some point, work out if this is "An MN campaign" or just a campaign that started on MN.

I'll get started on visuals/memes if people want to post suggestions.

feelathome Sun 25-Nov-12 19:30:36

Hello, I've been lurking since this thread began. I don't have any specialist skills to help, just wanted to say well done, it seems like it is going to be a great campaign. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know

jammic Sun 25-Nov-12 19:54:28

Brilliant. Roll on 26 nov and getting started grin

vladimirimp Sun 25-Nov-12 21:51:17

Just want to say I'm 100% behind this - great work!

One thing I'd considered doing was a blog comparing pictures of apparent boys and girls versions of toys. Sometimes it could be stark, like the ELC guitar (red for boys, pink for girls), other times entirely baffling - Girls Car or Boys Car.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 22:16:18

Survey launched http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/1621696-Help-us-find-out-which-toy-stores-are-best-and-worst-about-pink-blue-segregation

Hope that is ok!

kickassangel Sun 25-Nov-12 22:37:49

So, if toy retailers in Sweden weren't allowed to sell using the boy/girl thing - does that mean that laws about sex equality (British or European) could also apply here? ...

Just a thought.

Murder I was wondering about 2 pics (they could be cartoons or photos) that show 'retail' and 'reality'

e.g. the retail half would be an aisle of pink. Reality would be a boy making a pretend cup of tea.

retail - an aisle of blue. Reality - 2 girls playing with light sabres. (Love a good light sabre fight meself)

That kind of thing. The concept being that retailers push these messages at us, but left to themselves, boys and girls will adopt a number of roles which aren't just defined by gender, but reflects their current development.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 22:40:36

Interesting! It would seem Hamleys need congratulating already for getting rid of boys' and girls' sections in favour of themes, about a year ago. Well done Hamleys! smile
Story here (Sorry for torygraph link!)

And, it may have been in response to a complaint from a mumsnetter! See this blog post by Dr Laura Nelson, who's got a "Mumsnet blogger network" badge on her blog. (Is she here on this thread already, I wonder?).

That got me thinking, Himalaya for your point 3 of the plan "identify key targets" do you mean targets as in retailers and manufacturers, or as in influential types we'd like to get involved? (e.g. famous types, journos and bloggers who are likely to support the campaign).

If you meant only the first, can we add "identify PR targets" to the plan? (Actually, is there a nicer way to put that? I'm not sure if I'd be happy to be called a "PR target"!)

Then, what should we do in the meantime if we come across people we think should be on the list? Is someone going to collect names offline, or should we post to this thread? Would it be sensible to post the list openly on this thread or not? (I'm not sure either way!) I'm asking as I have a mental list of people already from some articles I've just read, but my memory is pants!

A campaign twitter account would be good too, particularly to get people involved who tweet a lot - like Caitlin Moran for example.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 22:59:58

Anyone object if I post it to chat too?

(I might cut the words down a little too. Sorry, can't help it! I write for the web as part of my job grin)

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 23:00:17

Sorry, "it" being the survey!!

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 23:03:28

No, feel free - and happy for you to cut down the words!

CanonFodder Sun 25-Nov-12 23:03:57

I'm in, utterly hate the bullshit that is aisle upon aisle of gender segregation!

Peanutbutterfingers Sun 25-Nov-12 23:07:29

Great great great idea.

Have you seen the 'shelve it' campaign that is trying to get porn and lads mags moved away from children's view? I mention only because they do twitter quite well. They ask people to photo newsstands, rate on their scores and upload. This looks like a similar campaign model.

Himalaya Sun 25-Nov-12 23:10:57

Aufaniae -

I had meant Targets as the companies - I.e. of the big ones who are the 3 worst and target them in particular.

But you are right we need another category - Multipliers, or some such - potential allies and communicators.

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 23:45:14

OK, it's posted in chat too.

I'm not sure I did manage to cut down the actual wordcount in the end! But I had a play with the words and laid it out in a way that's a bit more webby. (I just can't help it, sorry!)

A tip for writing for the web, just in case you're interested! It's good practice to use descriptive phrases as links, so:

An Escher picture made of lego

... for example, rather than:

An Escher picture made of lego here

This is for two reasons: firstly people very often scan web pages rather than reading them, and it's easier to quickly see the meaning of descriptive links rather than "here" links. Also, for SEO purposes, Google will pay much more attention to a descriptive link. (It does look at words next to the link, but the actual words of the link are more important).

Right I'll stop before I digress too far into the world of web. Hope it's useful smile

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 23:47:47

We have our first comment against the idea - just posted on the chat thread.

(I suspect we'll get a few of these).

Anyone care to help me have a go at explaining why it matters?

OneHandWavingFree Sun 25-Nov-12 23:51:50

Okay, if anyone wants to get an early 'like' in to the Facebook page, please search for "Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys". I was going to link but was afraid people who clicked would end up logged in as me blush. That's stupid, right? Reassure me please so I can link on the launch thread without fear!

Will post a thread officially launching our Campaign tomorrow (at a time when there's more traffic and it has a better chance of staying in 'Active'), with links to the Facebook page and survey threads.

It would be great to have some posts up on the Facebook page before we put it out there, though! So far it's only got its profile pics (which can be changed once there are more pics up - as someone said upthread it could be a good vehicle for interactive interest) and the hard-won blurb smile

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 00:03:00

Just realised that the survey threads direct people here to join the campaign. I had been thinking that now that we have a name, a FB page, and a plan (the survey), we would introduce all three together on a new thread.

Do you think there's any point in launching a new thread with "Let Toys Be Toys" in the title? Or should I just ask MNHQ to change the name of this thread (and maybe let me add a link to the FB page into the OP) so the name of the campaign gets out there, and let this remain the campaign discussion thread, as the survey threads say?

I'm leaning toward the latter option, as 3 active threads already seems like enough.

Hmmm. Thoughts?

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:08:33

Totally blowing my "write less for the web" plan out of the window there grin

Have as yet not perfected the art of the concise rant!

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:15:16

OneHandWavingFree I promise you linking to a Facebook page will not mean people are logged as you smile

Here's the link to the facebook page

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:17:30

Love the picture of the little girl and her digger against the background of the barbie stuff btw smile

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 00:20:14

phew thanks aufaniae. I thought your reply on the other thread was spot on. But then, I like words! wink

The most wonderful little girl in the world is my dd smile The pic is just a place holder until someone volunteers another pic like it (maybe of an older child, or of both genders, or whatever) to use as the profile pic.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 00:20:51

(the phew was for the reassurance re: facebook log-in)

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:33:10

I think a new thread isn't too much. Probably. grin

I'm leaning towards thinking it's a good idea anyway, as if it's a launch, then it's easier if people see a fresh thread, rather than this one with nearly 500 messages to trawl through!

Don't forget the two survey threads will disappear in a few weeks / once we have the data.

Also, this is the campaign thread, so we're all in agreement here.

But once we launch the idea, people will want to debate the toss (this is mumsnet after all!) This thread is working brilliantly IMO. It'd be a shame to have this thread full of people arguing about whether it's a good idea or not!

We could use the other thread to announce stuff (kind of like the public face of the campign on MN) and for getting involved with debates with critics about whether marketing affects children. And save this thread for planning.

And anyway, if we're promoting this, the more threads the better, surely?!

What do you think?

Btw, can I ask which talk section it'll be launched it in? Reckon we need one with good traffic (but not AIBU of course, that would be just asking for trouble!) Is chat the best for traffic? Or somewhere else?

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 00:50:19

Your reasoning for a new thread makes sense. I was thinking Chat, but I'd forgotten about the threads disappearing thing. Open to suggestion!

I don't mean to be presumptuous re: being the one to launch the campaign on a new thread, I realise that this thing has taken on a life of its own (yippee!) and lots of people have put effort into it, so if you or someone else wants to be OP, that's okay too.

Just let me know so I don't miss it and then look stupid trying to re-launch a campaign that already lives on an existing thread grin

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:51:00

Think I just found our campaign spokeperson wink

This girl is great!

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 00:53:04

Oh, good point! I'd forgotten about the disappearing thing too. (Doh!)

Which other areas get good traffic?

Chat gets a huge amount of traffic, however In The News might also be worthwhile? Or Campaigns?

Feminism will only attract certain posters, many others have it hidden.

ps. Had a thought wrt the name, Equal Play might be more practical from a hashtag point of view? Useful on twitter (obviously) and on sites like Instagram, where we could encourage people to upload photos that are relevant.

Also had an idea wrt some graphics. Definitely liking the Retail/Reality one, also thought of a series of cartoon strips. Thinking 3 panels something like this;
panel 1 - girl looking sadly at a microscope in an aisle headed "boys"
panel 2 - same girl looking at a bath bomb making set in the "girls" aisle
panel 3 - shelf of bath stuff all labelled "Marie Curie Beauty"

The other idea is illustrations of Barbie doing traditionally boys things, and Action Man doing traditionally girls things. Tomorrow I'll look into whether that last one is feasible or whether it'll land us in hot water.

Himalaya Mon 26-Nov-12 07:25:03

I think the graphics/memes need to "remind" people to notice the way that toys are targetted by gender and feel angry about -- which is why I think parallels with education and employment are worth making.

Like if nurser school teachers said "OK Jane is going to sit on the pink table and make biscuits and learn to knit, and Jack is going to sit on the blue table with the Lego and the cars" ..... I think 100% of parents would recognise how inappropriate that is and be angry. The graphics need to get them to have the same feeling.

Equal play is brilliant

SomersetONeil Mon 26-Nov-12 07:33:04

I think Equal Play is really good.

It encapsulates the crux of the issue perfectly - no ambiguity at all.

RikersBeard Mon 26-Nov-12 08:03:23

Hi, have been lurking and just wanted to say brilliant job. DS1 roleplays a huge amount and loves his cleaning/cooking toys and dolls. I am dreading the day someone tells him it's for girls. Likewise I was so sad for my friends DD at a recent pirates/princesses party. She was sobbing as her party bag had hairclips in it and she wanted the pirate sword DS had. It was a 3rd birthday FFS. I am a scientist and grew up with microscopes, chemistry sets, wormeries etc. if I hadn't got into it through play I wouldn't be doing what I am now. I do fear for the next generation of girls.

WomanlyWoman Mon 26-Nov-12 11:17:05

^ THIS sums up why this campaign is needed. That makes me so sad, I just don't understand people who can't see how damaging this is to kids.

Rikers she sounds like my 3yo DD. She was invited to a pirates and princesses party for her friend's birthday and was the only girl there dressed as a pirate. She had a great time but really wasn't impressed with the sparkly fairy wand in the gift bag!

She brought it home and turned it into an aerial on her toy Octopod. grin

GrimmaTheNome Mon 26-Nov-12 11:59:22

Mine is a have-it-all - she was the one who happily went as a pirate princess. Pretty dress accessorised with cutlass etc. Gifts of faux jewellery added to the hoard in her pirate's chest.

AndIfATenTonTruck Mon 26-Nov-12 12:28:47

I have found the fb page and will add pics when on a proper computer (can only add pics to my own gallery from mobile, it seems)...

I have a great one (actually a few) of DS helping in the kitchen. He's just over three and is a pretty reliable carrot-peeler and egg-whisker.

sorry not been around much to do the beta testing etc. one important point though for Himalaya is surveymonkey good at rendering in a usable way on mobile devices? - you want people to be able to tick the boxes as they go round a store rather than have to remember it all in the car park / once they get home.

about staging a pic of barbie and action man on a picket line - be careful using branded toys like that. last thing we want is ththe campaign to be undermined by companies threatening action.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 12:56:03

The Facebook page is there and awaiting 'likes' and updates... two questions (for all) before 'launching' it on a new thread:

1. There have been a few late votes for "Equal Play" as the name. Are we sticking with "Let Toys Be Toys" or is there a concensus to reconsider the name?

2. The new thread needs a home! Feminism is (sadly) hidden by some posters and still seems to have a reputation for being intimidating, which might be off-putting to people who would otherwise get involved, Chat is too temporary, AIBU would be inviting a debate that will come naturally enough, but we don't need to go looking for. Campaigns? I don't think it gets a whole lot of traffic but we'd just have to keep the thread bumped and in 'Active'.

I don't want to dither over these details and delay the introduction of the campaign, but I'd love opinions over the next couple of hours before moving things forward.

Himalaya I am on board with your draft plan. I'm sure it will be amended a bit as we go, depending on how things go (and how quickly) but I think it's great to have an action plan / outline to go by.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 26-Nov-12 12:56:51

*consensus (sorry)

I would put it in chat, especially if it's to publicise the page. 90 days is a fairly long time and hopefully by then it will be well-known enough that we can put it in campaigns or even just start a new Chat thread. But I think traffic is key in the early days.

As for the name I don't have a preference, sorry!

Equal play is genius I think.
Chat is good.
Some of the bloggers have lots of readers - would it be worth posting in there, asking if anyone fancies joining/highlighting the campaign?

Himalaya Mon 26-Nov-12 14:54:33

I think in some ways we need the "organising committee" thread here and then other ones to get more people involved in "chat" and "campaigns" (do we need official permission).

I'm worried no one will help with the survey now - can you all sign in either on the thread on FWR or the one on chat, to push it up in active convos - I should have called it "mystery shoppers wanted!"

You could always report it and ask MNHQ to change the name?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 26-Nov-12 15:14:48

Him - I've lost the plot here a bit, could you put links to the threads you want us to boost please.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 26-Nov-12 15:16:54

I like 'Equal Play' too (Fair Play better but if its been used elsewhere better not). I don't do FB at all ...if I want my DD to take a look and 'like' it how does she find it please?<dim dinosaur>

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 15:19:31

IIRC, for campaigns, I think it would need to be an official mumsnet campaign.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Mon 26-Nov-12 15:20:38

OneHand - i would like your original facebook blurb to be on there somewhere.
It doesn't have to be on the "about us" section, maybe a post of the normal timeline?
and we all need to post the page on our own timeline- i've done it on my shop page an don my personal page - just click the little wheel button next to "message" at the top under the picture, then choose "share..." and follow the prompts.