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to find the gender bias on this website depressing?

(77 Posts)
starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 17:39:38

I'm just SO sick of gender stereotyping beginning so early. I know it's something people have talked about a lot on MN and I'm really only posting this because I know a lot of you will agree with me.

But's SO boring to see kitchen toys always in pink, described as being for "the young domestic goddess" or "able to satisfy even the fussiest housewife". And it's just so depressing to think how many children are forced into gender biased roles when they're still so little. My DS loves playing cooking and it never even occurred to me that this should be seen as a "girls' game". I'm expecting another baby this year - a girl - and am equally depressed to think about her being expected to play with ironing boards rather than toy cars. Ughhh...

Anyway, see here and here and tell me you're with me! You can write to them at if you agree...

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 17:47:11

Well don't buy her ironing boards then. Is it really that difficult to source some other non-gender specific toys for your children? Who is stipulating that your daughters can't play with cars or your son with pots and pans? When they're older, who is going to force them into domestic drudgery? They're completely free to choose for themselves and in the meantime, you can give them a balance.

Life for children is far less gender-based now than it was when I was at secondary school. I had to ask to do technical drawing instead of needlework and cookery - it's a better skill for me but I was the only girl in the class. It's standard now.

Pink is just a colour, in my opinion, men look better in pink shirts than women do. It doesn't mean anything to normal people, only to stupid ones.

I get irritated with people who don't think for themselves... male or female and I really hate this kind of narrow mindedness that people inflict on themselves and their children. It smacks of bandwagon-jumping to me. hmm

StealthPolarBear Sat 02-Jul-11 17:50:52

"When they're older, who is going to force them into domestic drudgery?"

A lifetime of cultural norms and expectations maybe?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 17:53:13

Nothing is a 'norm' now, Stealth, sensible mothers and fathers are teaching their children the whole array of life skills; cooking, cleaning, washing - and not before time.

starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 17:53:28

I'm not objecting to people letting their daughters play with toy ironing boards. I'm objecting to the fact that this catalogue positions these toys as ONLY for girls. And describes girls as "housewives" and "domestic goddesses". Doesn't that irritate you? At all?

Not sure if you mean it's me who's "bandwagon-jumping?" What bandwagon?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 02-Jul-11 17:54:58

Catalogues that annoy people won't sell much, will they? I always think the best way to register displeasure with a business is to boycott rather than protest. When they go to the wall, they'll get the message....

starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 17:55:35

Yeah..I emailed them politely pointing out that they were attempting to sell to only half their potential market.

AgentZigzag Sat 02-Jul-11 17:57:42

I was the one of only two girls in woodwork and metalwork at secondary Lying, I didn't give it a second thought at the time tbh, but I did feel sorry for the ribbing the one lad who did cooking/sewing.

Pink stuff and toys that go along with the traditional divisions of labour don't bother me at all, if the DDs don't like them they won't get played with.

And there's no way I'm going to discourage 18 MO DD2 brushing up for me with the rainbow coloured dustpan and brush i got her! The only reason I had DC was so I could sit back and let them get on with the housework grin

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 17:58:58

The catalogues can describe their toys any way they wish, starkadder, I'd buy an oven for my son as happily as I would for my daughter. 'Housewives' and 'domestic goddesses' are just outdated terms, I really can't get that het up about them. It doesn't mean that I buy into them, I don't. Can some people really not see that an item/toy/whatever is just an item/toy/whatever? It doesn't have to have connotations that are negative or stereotyping.

My reference to 'bandwagon-jumping' is related to lumping everything as if it's a feminist issue and I really don't see it that way at all.

AgentZigzag Sat 02-Jul-11 18:01:05

Mmmmm I can see what you're saying with the line 'Satisfy even the fussiest little housewife' starkadder.

I would describe myself as a housewife, but even I find that a bit disturbing.

zukiecat Sat 02-Jul-11 18:02:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zukiecat Sat 02-Jul-11 18:06:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 18:11:03

zukiecat... You were lucky then, I was at secondary school in 1980-85 and girls did needlework/cookery - boys did metalwork/woodwork and technical drawing. It was a catholic school, don't know if that makes any difference, but it took a while and the intervention of my parents to get into the TD class.

I never did knitting at primary school but I do remember that we (boys and girls) did embroidery, those blue, green and orange aida count cloths with different coloured wool and different stitches on every row. I loved that. smile

zukiecat Sat 02-Jul-11 18:21:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 18:47:41

Wow, I'm surprised that many of you seem unfazed by the descriptions. Thanks for seeing where I'm coming from though, ZigZag!

Witch - Actually, I think it is a feminist issue to describe children aged 3 as budding housewives and domestic goddesses. Obviously it doesn't mean you have to describe your OWN children as that, and I'm not saying you wouldn't happily buy an oven for your son (I'd assume that most people would). I'm just saying that I think a catalogue printed in 2011 which has such outdated ideas is depressing.

starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 18:48:27

PS I have nothing against housewives, to make it clear. But I do have a lot against children being guided into gender stereotyped behaviour from the age of 3.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 18:55:35

starkadder... I'm unfazed because it's my job as a parent to guide my children, not a catalogue company's. These are more enlightened times and there's far greater equality now than there has ever been. As a feminist point on womens' equality, girls can do anything, they can grow up to be anything they want to, there are options available to them that just weren't there previously.

I personally think there are more 'depressing' things going on in the world than what toys are in a catalogue.... and actually, if I suffered from depression, I'd probably take issue with your glib reference to it.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 18:57:44

zukiecat... Aah, an Academy. Pretty rare when I was at secondary school but yours sounds very rounded in terms of subjects.

Your primary teacher sounds quite a lot like my swimming teacher, she had a wooden ruler as well... shock... I can swim jolly well though... grin

Longtalljosie Sat 02-Jul-11 19:01:11

Having come back from Boots in much irritation on a failed potty-buying mission, I think this is nothing to do with gender and everything to do with cold, hard cash.

This pink and blue malarkey is intended to make you feel as though if you have a child of each sex, you have to buy everything twice. Potties in boots are blue or bubblegum pink. The woman looked at me like I was mad when I asked if there were any neutral colours.

Similarly for toys - it's not so much that they want to underline gender roles for the sake of it - they want you to buy more toys and feel uncomfortable handing things down, so you spend more, and to hell with what it does to society on the way.

GingerWrath Sat 02-Jul-11 19:02:07

I wear black and a lot of it, and band t-shirts, my DD had a Metallica t-shirt at 11 months, now at nearly 5 she loves everything pink and girly. She had the opposite of gender conditioning and has just fallen into it by herself, I won't stop her because it is just her.

AgentZigzag Sat 02-Jul-11 19:05:47

I've just remembered my mum telling me when I was 7/8 that she was disappointed I always hated dresses and girlie clothes because she'd looked forward to having a girl that she could dress up.

I loathed dolls as well, evil satans spawn that they are.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 02-Jul-11 19:06:59

GingerWrath... Nothing you can do about it. My Mum has always been a tomboy, I was into pink and frilly and that was that. I did have a toy gun in my little pink handbag though, with my 'Pretty Peach' handcream. grin

GingerWrath Sat 02-Jul-11 19:13:48

Witch I am letting her get on with it, she is who she is even if I am surrounded by vomit inducing pink. I have, however, told her if she likes boy bands I will disown her! grin

zukiecat Sat 02-Jul-11 19:26:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

starkadder Sat 02-Jul-11 19:57:07

Well, I have to say I'm even more depressed now. Witch - I think you're deliberately missing the point. Obviously it's a parent's job to guide their children, but still, really - the descriptions in that catalogue are awful. And of course there are worse things to worry about - I think that's a pretty pointless comment.

Anyway, as you were...

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