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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?

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

and this

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

it's already an existing campaign name

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:38:26

Let Toys be Toys

nickelbabeuntiladvent Sat 24-Nov-12 13:39:35

this is an interesting article about catalogues in Sweden ditching the genders

OneHandWavingFree Sat 24-Nov-12 13:44:57

Toys will be toys?

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