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To be disappointed with Mumsnet for campaign for gender neutral books.

(204 Posts)
raltheraffe Fri 21-Nov-14 11:33:54

Apparently this all started with a MN campaign. What is so bad about books and toys for that matter that are biased towards one gender? I do not understand it at all.

I am donning my hard hat for this one, since it was people on here who came up with this daft campaign.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 21-Nov-14 11:35:16

OK, what do you think is so good about books and toys that are biased towards one gender?

ouryve Fri 21-Nov-14 11:38:39

I must be hard of thinking, this morning, but why on earth is it a daft campaign? I honestly need that spelling out to me in very simple terms because, quite frankly, I'm struggling.

Also, could you find a credible source that isn't the Daily Mail, which is not a paper known for its sense of proportion in such matters.

ChairOfTheBored Fri 21-Nov-14 11:39:10

Yes, as Lonny says, to me the question is more "why SHOULD toys or books be gender specific?" Until someone can demonstrate a clear be edit which outweighs the potentially negative effects of early programming and restricting our children's choices (both boys and girls suffer this effect) then really why not campaign in this way?

EatShitDezza Fri 21-Nov-14 11:39:26

I don't care either way. My sister likes princesses. Apparently that's means she will be a dumb wan who can't do a thing for her self when she grows up as will get a princess complex.

If my brother liked th though it would be applauded hmm

ChairOfTheBored Fri 21-Nov-14 11:50:40

The point is to avoid limiting choices though, which otherwise can happen at an early age without it even being something youre conscious of.

If your sister had a full choice of all toys and still chose princesses as her thing, great. But what about the girl who really wanted to play with the pirates/tool bench/train set who didn't because "that's a boy's toy". Or the boy who had a hankering for dolls and cooking toys but was never allowed because it's "girly" or soft to like such things?

All campaigns such as this so is remove the subtle as not so subtle societal pressures on children and allow them to live their full potential. Can't see the problem with that meself.

ChutesTooNarrow Fri 21-Nov-14 11:51:21

Well the point of campaigns like this dezza is that it should be normal and fine for all children to like princesses without passing comment or pigeon holing them. It shouldn't be a cause to sneer if a girl likes princesses, and equally it shouldn't be unusual if a boy does.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 21-Nov-14 11:51:26

The books' characters aren't going to be gender neutral. They are simply going to stop packaging and marketing them as 'books for girls/books for boys' - which is a good thing.

It affects SIX books FFS.

On the other hand, Children's media is dominated by both gender divisions and by male characters. The Times yesterday had a top ten best children's voiceovers - all males. The Royal Mail issued stamps celebrating children's TV characters - only ONE female out of 10.

EatShitDezza Fri 21-Nov-14 11:53:25

It's all over MN. Pink stuff is tat and ruins girls but it's totally fine for boys.

How is that been gender neutral?! It's not.

I don't see the big deal. My sister likes diggers and gets stuff related to that as well. The fact it's in the boys department doesn't mean anything, just it's easier to find.

It's parents who need to change, not toys

Only1scoop Fri 21-Nov-14 11:55:03


I think it all gets a little extreme at times.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 21-Nov-14 12:00:02

A publishing company rebranding six of its story collections to remove the words 'for boys' and 'for girls' is 'extreme'?


FridayJones Fri 21-Nov-14 12:00:31

When your dd who loves robots/dinos/trains/not pink comes home and tells you they can't play with that any more cos it's for boys, and you let it go, where do you stand when they say engineering/science/maths is for boys?

ChutesTooNarrow Fri 21-Nov-14 12:02:37

Pink is just a colour. Campaigns like this will help reinforce that and drop the gender stereotyping for girls. You can just as easily find a digger in a section marked as construction toys.

TheKitchenWitch Fri 21-Nov-14 12:02:40

Best bit of that article is the caption to the picture of Rupunzel:

Popular: Although Rapunzel, seen here in Disney's Tangled, has long hair, boys enjoy her exploits too

I have just sorted tea out of my nose laughing at that.

edamsavestheday Fri 21-Nov-14 12:03:45

Eatshit, pink is totally fine for any child who likes pink. Dinosaurs are great for any child who likes dinosaurs. Little girls and little boys shouldn't be let to believe that they are not allowed to like pink or dinosaurs or blue or play kitchens because they are the 'wrong' gender.

That's the point - not to limit any child, boy or girl, by making it seem as if some toys and interests are Not For Them.

edamsavestheday Fri 21-Nov-14 12:04:05

led of course

TinyTear Fri 21-Nov-14 12:07:44

I am ok if my DD chooses pink out of pink, red, yellow, blue, purple, green, black, orange, etc, etc (her favourite colour is purple btw)

I am not ok if she chooses pink out of pink, rose, salmon, coral, fuschia...

Sabrinnnnnnnna Fri 21-Nov-14 12:09:12

I think it's a great campaign.

ChimesAndCarols Fri 21-Nov-14 12:09:32

Also, could you find a credible source that isn't the Daily Mail, which is not a paper known for its sense of proportion in such matters.

Oh stop being so precious and just read the bloody article shock

workhouse Fri 21-Nov-14 12:09:50

Grrrrr why don't people get it!!!, have you read the comments under the Mail article ?

They aren't going to change the books FFS they are going to stop labelling them FOR BOYS or FOR GIRLS so that children can chose what they like to read and not have it chosen for them. Is it really so hard to understand.

U2TheEdge Fri 21-Nov-14 12:10:05


I don't see the big deal. My sister likes diggers and gets stuff related to that as well. The fact it's in the boys department doesn't mean anything, just it's easier to find.

It's parents who need to change, not toys

Yep. I have a princess loving girl and apparently I should be concerned according to some. My children have always happily picked any toys from any gendered aisle. Of course I have always told my children that there are boys and girls aisles because some stupid people only think boys and girls like certain toys, but we know that is not the case.

ChimesAndCarols Fri 21-Nov-14 12:11:53

My son had a Barbie doll, and a pushchair, and a doll with blonde hair.

Funnily enough he's grown up to be a MAN shock

SavoyCabbage Fri 21-Nov-14 12:12:53

The thing that bothers me about some toys is that whilst some people don't mind girls playing with so-called boys toys, they do mind their boys playing with so-called girls toys. Like girls are a lesser being.

My neighbour wouldn't let his two year old ds on my dd's scooter the other day as it has pink wheels. Like some of her feminine genes were going to weaken his ds.

EatShitDezza Fri 21-Nov-14 12:13:38

U2 if you had a princess loving boy though you would be applauded. Which to makes no sense to me.

It's no big deal. What you play with as a child doesn't affect you as an adult.

My brother likes only trains and blue stuff. So that's what he gets, Mum isn't going to force him into a princess dress and throw pink glitter at him just to make a point about gender.

Some girls like stereotypical girls things and some boys like stereotypical boys things. And some children just like what the fuck they want.

canweseethebunnies Fri 21-Nov-14 12:14:19

Slightly of topic, but consider this:
Would Harry Potter have been so universally popular if Harry had been a girl? I'm guessing not, and I'm sure JK Rowling, as a woman, considered this.

This is because whilst it's ok for a girl to identify with a male character, it's less acceptable fora boy to identify with a girl. Making all stories with girls in for girls exacerbates this problem. This is one area where Disney are doing good things, by making female characters that boys like too, as in Tangled and Frozen. But then everyone gets up in arms when little boys want to where an Elsa dress!

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