Gender and toys: the bad news

“Women today may feel they have come a long way since the inequality of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. But the shelves of many toy shops paint a very different story, says today’s Daily Mail

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“Where once toys may have been marketed in neutral colours to target both boys and girls, now they are much more likely to be gender stereotyped – blue for boys and pink for girls. The issue has been highlighted by campaign group Let Toys Be Toys, who recently shared a picture comparing the toys on sale in Argos in the Seventies to today on their Twitter feed.

“While decades ago toy pushchairs, prams and household equipment like play ovens came in whites, reds and blues – aimed at both genders – today the majority are all pink. And while the items above aimed at girls relate to being domesticated, in contrast boys today are encouraged to play with science sets, cars and action heroes. Let Toys Be Toys, set up by a group of British parents last November, are calling for this to change. They are petitioning retailers to stop segregating their products ‘for boys’ and ‘for girls’.One of the campaign’s founders, Tricia Lowther, 44, a self-employed copywriter from Durham, who has a five-year-old daughter, told the MailOnline: ‘It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped in to a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes. ‘I can’t speak for any of the others but what pushed me to make a stand was the realisation, after my daughter was born, that gender stereotyping in children’s products had become worse than when I was a child myself back in the Seventies. It’s something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children.’

 “Shelves of a typical toy shop show the girl/boy divide: For the girls, it is all pink with Disney princess and Barbie promoted while the toys for boys to the right are blue and Star Wars themed

The Let Toys Be Toys petition, which has already gained 6,000 signatures, states: ‘In 2013 it is time to take down the signs, labels and categories that tell parents, grandparents and children that construction sets, adventure g”ames, cars, science toys and superheroes are ‘toys for boys’, and that baby dolls, play kitchens, make-up sets, fashion, princesses and crafts are ‘toys for girls’.’Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should feel free to play with the toys that most interest them.’Research by Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, has backed up Tricia’s belief that gender stereotyping of toys is getting worse. Writing in the New York Times last year, she said: ‘We’ve made great strides toward gender equity over the past 50 years, but the world of toys looks a lot more like 1952 than 2012. ‘During my research into the role of gender in Sears catalogue toy advertisements over the 20th century, I found that in 1975, very few toys were explicitly marketed according to gender, and nearly 70 percent showed no markings of gender whatsoever. ‘In the 1970s, toy ads often defied gender stereotypes by showing girls building and playing airplane captain, and boys cooking in the kitchen.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2338976/Too-pink-How-toys-alarmingly-gender-stereotyped-Seventies–cost-little-girls-self-esteem.html#ixzz2Vy1Dtmpn

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