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to wonder whether it is necessary for toy catalogues to enforce sexual sterotypes

(50 Posts)
babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 07:59:52

DS almost 3 and already has message loud and clear - pink ONLY for girls, babies for girls. Cars, vehicles ONLY for boys ....

I thought [hoped?] we had rather moved on from this but looking at ELC Xmas catalogue, GLTC catalogue and Harrods toys catalogue - more of the same ....

girls playing with pink toys and babies, dressed up as nurses [ELC], playing in kichens etc

boys playing with castles

bit crap really IMO

jobhuntersrus Wed 28-Oct-09 08:09:31

YANBU, it bugs me too. I have 3 boys and all have at one time or another had dolls, pushchairs and toys kitchens, hoovers etc. It has always been a real challenge to find these toys not in pink!

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 08:23:14

D recoils from pink! refused to open invitation to him in a pink envelope !! now that does not come from me [although I have not actually dressed him in pink...].

it is just ridiculous - particularly which sex of child is playing with which type of toy - no female doctors only nurses .....

CMOTdibbler Wed 28-Oct-09 08:25:02

I really was shocked by the ELC catalogue - virtually nothing comes in anything but pink and blue, and the stereotypes are so firm.

Miggsie Wed 28-Oct-09 08:41:00

I wanted to get a bag for DD to take to school and saw you could get them with names embroidered on...the colour choice was blue or pink?!

She hates pink.

I got her a red one with no embroidery in the end.

Even the wooden desk calendars in Letterbox are blue or pink. I found a plain wooden one in the end in a non children's shop.

It really annoys me, why is totally gender neutral stuff like a desk calendar then painted blue or pink?

Even Lego has a pink range. I refuse to buy it.

And please don't get me started on why John Lewis has started putting "John Lewis Boy" and "John Lewis girl" in its clothing range labels. DD is now officially a John Lewis boy because you can't get kit suitable to play football in the girl's range.
Are they helpfully labelling the clothes in case mother's are so dim they forget the gender of their child?

I wonder why Britain is slipping down the league of equality between men and women...I think this is part of it, frankly.

TwentiethCenturyHeffa Wed 28-Oct-09 08:44:24

I was annoyed by one catalogue that featured a section called "Girls' Science" - apparently girls like science if it involves making soap and perfume, not like all that proper science for boys (chemistry kits etc).

bruffin Wed 28-Oct-09 09:20:06

"Even Lego has a pink range. I refuse to buy it."

My DD is now 12 and I have been desperate for more girly lego for years, not that awful Bellville stuff they do which isn't real lego. When my nieces (now at uni) were little they catered more for girls with pastal shades and things that would appeal more to girls, but up until recently the only lego that appealed to DD was the Harry Potter. However they did bring out a few houses 2 or 3 years back which DD liked and this year she has asked for the medieval market.

bruffin Wed 28-Oct-09 09:24:03

I would point out DD is not a particularly girly girl either, she will wear only black at the moment, but lego has clearly only been marketed towards boys for years now.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 28-Oct-09 09:31:06

YABU, I was a bit [hhmm} to see that the ELC now do all their toys (which used to be blue/green/red) in pink versions. Why? I have to agree with TCHeffa though,it's the girl's science that annoys me - there are lots of female scientists and they don't all make soap!

Miggsie Wed 28-Oct-09 09:32:58

Oh God, yes the "girl science" pages.

Bleugh!

Telescopes are science but perfume making is "girl science", you'd think they were catering to a different species.

CMOTdibbler Wed 28-Oct-09 09:37:07

I'm a physicist, and I def don't make soap. Or perfume.

DS has some things marked John Lewis Girl - last year he had lovely red flannel pyjamas from JL that were labelled as girls

And don't get me started on riding clothes - DS loves riding, but soooo much is pink and girly for no apparent reason

angelene Wed 28-Oct-09 09:37:08

ELC are by far the worst IMO. Tables and chairs etc in pink and lilac - presumably if you have a DD and a DS you have to get two separate tables and chairs for them, as well as two keyboards, guitars etc. Completely ludicrous.

Catz Wed 28-Oct-09 09:39:52

YANBU - have you seen the dressing up pages of the ELC catalogue? Lots of super heros for boys and fairy princess outfits for girls, then a 'job' page featuring one girl who is, naturally, a nurse, next to all boys as doctors, firemen etc. Of course if DD is successful at becoming a fairy princess there'll be no need for her to sully herself by getting a job so I guess I shouldn't worry...

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 09:40:05

I had lego as a child and made a motorised car - I would actually consider myself quite girly in many respects [clothes make up etc ...]

surely toys are unisex?

BertieBotts Wed 28-Oct-09 09:40:17

There is a picture of a boy pushing the blue buggy in the ELC catalogue - but admittedly, only after about 3 pages full of girls doing everything else imaginable with the dolls.

The pink/blue thing does annoy me with ELC a lot. And the blue versions, being gender neutral, seem to sell out a lot quicker - so if you are looking at ELC for Christmas I'd get in there early.

It's just a con to make you buy everything twice if you have two children of opposite sex. Which obviously no sane person would be bothered about, but I bet some people do say "My son can't play with his sister's old pink things! shock"

BrokkenHarted Wed 28-Oct-09 09:48:59

I didnt know what elc was so i went on their webside and clicked the boys section. i dont think it is that bad overall but in this section even the blue kitchen was being played with by a girl...haha

I dont think there is anything wrong with the different sections. There is loads that isnt pink or blue. i think some of you are exaggerating. They are just trying to aim at a majority market anyway arent they? I wouldn't care if i was buying something for DS from the girls section. As long as my son knows he is a boy i dont see the big issue.

BertieBotts Wed 28-Oct-09 09:53:31

Actually having just looked at the ELC catalogue, it's not that bad. They have a girl and a boy playing together with most of the toys - it's just the pink overload pages which are only girls. On the 2nd doll page there is a boy holding a pink one and a girl with a blue one.

On the dressing up they could have done better though - it says underneath they have a WPC outfit which is not shown. Why not show that to even out the girl/boy models?

HouseOfHorrorMum Wed 28-Oct-09 10:38:34

Apart from anything else it irritates me at the waste of resources making toys in blue and pink versions. Just make them all any colour except pink and they are gender-neutral. Presumably the stores are hoping if you have a second child that's a boy you'll ditch the pink stuff and buy the smae toys again.

ELC used to do their pushchairs in cream and blue with teddies on - perfect for boys (not that boys can't push pink buggies, but let's be honest it will always be more socially acceptable for girls to use boyish colours/toys than vice versa)

DD1's old KNex/Lego from Argos has the barcode category of "boy's toys"

MogTheForgetfulCat Wed 28-Oct-09 12:51:47

It's not just toys - it drives me crackers that certain books (Jacqueline Wilson springs to mind) are so clearly marketed as being for girls. So good quality, emotionally literate stuff is only for girls - why? I know boys can and do read them, but it would be easier if they weren't all sparkly (although DS1, who is 3 - so none of this really an issue yet - currently loves pink and sparkly things, so maybe this will continue!)

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 15:50:59

TBH for me it is less the issue of colour that which toys are being used by which sex - try finding a girl playing with a car of any colour or a boy with a kitchen......

undercoverelephant Wed 28-Oct-09 16:47:43

Someone posted a link to ELC's pink model globe a while ago. A globe, FGS!

The catalogue showed a girl in a pink top looking at the pink globe. Next to it was a boy in brown/blue looking at a normal (non-pink) globe.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Someone told me that ELC went pink/blue when they were bought by Mothercare...not sure how true this is, but it would make sense.

Feierabend Wed 28-Oct-09 16:54:58

Well there's nothing stopping you from buying a play kitchen for your ds, and a train set for your dd. It doesn't annoy me at all, just shop in the right places!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Oct-09 16:59:32

Doesn't the one with 'girls science' say somethin gto the effect, of course they may well like the other stuff too? One of them did last year - Bright Minds mebbe. Which I thought made it sort of OK.

I don't mind things coming in pink and blue - blue is DDs favourite colour and its perfectly appropriate for either gender. Really its just the boys who get a smaller range, any girl with half a gram of sense will choose what they want from the whole lot.

DD has some girly lego (including an non-pink stable) but far more ungendered - plain building sets (not themed), insect kit, that sort of thing. Loads of K'nex - I don't think its ever occurred to her that building bridges and motorised vehicles is a gendered activity.

Fennel Wed 28-Oct-09 17:02:18

I agree with Feierabend, there are other shops, I avoid the pink/blue segregated ones and try and shop in the less gendered places. It's not that hard to find non-gendered toys.

My dds play with normal lego, not girly stuff, just standard lego and technical lego. Just as I did as a child.

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 17:07:24

I agree but DS has opened the catalogues [whihc reflect he reality around him] and listening to his views on what he considers is being marketed to him, it is quite clear that all these litle messages are working already as to what boys should like.... if I buy him a doll, would he play with it?!

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