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I think Mothercare's toy display reinforces outdated gender stereotypes

(155 Posts)
plumrose Tue 05-Nov-13 11:38:47

I went in to mothercare recently to buy a present for my friend's first grandchild. I noticed the toys were displayed as 'girls' and 'boys' toys with large signage on the wall above. I could not believe this could be acceptable. I have sent a facebook message to mothercare and the response I got makes it clear they will not pay attention to my one message. Please get out there and either contact this retailer or boycott them until they stop this retrograde and frankly offensive way of displaying their toys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No bullying resulted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thats about the point i feel stabby

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Doing it now.

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

Thanks, could you forward it to us?

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

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

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

Hi, burning ears smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I'm sure you can! smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Kim thanks I think I will shut up now grin

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